Nuts and seeds are good for your health. But aside from filling a hunger gap with good fats, fiber and protein, they can help make skin supple, smooth and younger looking. With the help of holistic nutritionist Julie Mancuso of JMNutrition.info, we uncover the health and beauty secrets behind these yummy, crunchy power foods.
Beauty and health benefits of almonds
Almonds are packed full of fiber (something most of us lack), protein and essential fatty acids — all of which help promote a healthy heart and help reduce blood pressure, says Mancuso. But an
added bonus is that this nut’s essential fatty acids are known to help reduce swelling and inflammation. “Nuts and seeds, particularly almonds, are a natural anti-inflammatory, so they also
can help treat skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis and eczema,” Mancuso explains. So if you want to keep your breakouts to a minimum, munching on some almonds may help.
Beauty and health benefits of pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, are the unsung beauty hero in the world of nuts and seeds. Packed full of vitamin E, zinc and magnesium, these seeds will keep your skin glowing, promote regeneration of
skin cells and fight off bacteria that may lead to acne. “Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant,” says Mancuso. “It helps skin repair itself quickly.” And zinc has long been a remedy for acne
sufferers. Pumpkin seeds are also a protein powerhouse (about 5 grams in 1 ounce), which also can help with cell regeneration. Who could ask for more from such a tasty little seed?
Beauty and health benefits of walnuts
The slightly bitter walnut can give your mood a boost with its abundance of fatty acids, which have shown to be critical to the brain’s nerve cells. “A lack in fatty acids may lead to depression
and mood disorders,” explains Mancuso. Choosing 1/4 cup of walnuts for a snack can give you nearly 95 percent of your daily omega-3 requirements. These brain-friendly nuts are also full of B
vitamins, which are particularly great for your skin. “B vitamins help with stress management and mood, and and prevent skin disorders,” says Mancuso. Because a handful of walnuts can reduce
stress, they can, in turn, keep those wrinkles and fine lines at bay.
Beauty and health benefits of pecans
A handful of pecans can help you meet your daily recommended fiber requirements, with about 2.7 grams of fiber in 1 ounce. And fiber can do wonders for your health. Fiber essentially takes out the
garbage. “It helps with the elimination of toxins and waste,” explains Mancuso. It’s essential for a good digestive system and your beauty routine. Just think: All those toxins inside reflect your
outside appearance. Your skin can suffer, causing breakouts, dullness and excess oil. So why wouldn’t you eat more fiber to look better, especially when it comes in the form of flavorful pecans?
Beauty and health benefits of sunflower seeds
These tiny seeds boast some big benefits, despite their diminutive size. A handful of sunflower seeds can curb your hunger pangs for a couple of hours because they are loaded with protein.
They also can prevent your mid-afternoon work meltdown. These seeds are a great source of magnesium, as well — a mineral shown to calm your nerves, muscles and blood vessels, which in turn means
better blood flow to your skin. That’s a key element to youthful skin. Plus, with calm nerves, those frown lines won’t be appearing quite so quickly.
Guidelines for eating nuts and seeds
Here are Mancuso’s tips for incorporating nuts and seeds into your diet.
- Nuts and seeds are best eaten raw and unsalted.
- Store nuts and seeds in the refrigerator or freezer to preserve freshness.
- If you enjoy nuts and seeds roasted, roast them yourself in the oven.
- If you can’t eat nuts and seeds without salt, buy them raw, roast them and sprinkle on a pinch of sea salt.
- Nuts and seeds make a great addition to salads (instead of croutons), stir-fries and oatmeal.
- Nut butters are easier to digest.
- Although nuts and seeds offer many benefits, too much of this good thing can wreak havoc on your waistline and digestion. Stick to 1 to 2 ounces per day.