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 Almonds - Almonds are actually seeds rather than a true nut. Full of unsaturated fats, almonds may improve blood cholesterol status by boosting HDL, or “good” cholesterol and increase vitamin E levels. A 2015 study looked at nut consumption and cancer risk and found that “consuming higher quantities of peanuts, walnuts, and almonds appear to have a protective factor for development of breast cancer” and found a 2-3x lower risk of developing breast cancer. These seeds also helped improve lipid (fat) levels in blood, increased antioxidants, reduced blood pressure, and improved blood flow in 2014 study of healthy males aged 20-70 years old. Almonds can also improve magnesium levels, which may be linked to improved blood sugar levels and fat levels (one ounce of almonds contains between 18-24% of an adults daily magnesium requirement). Low in carbohydrates, almonds can help manage weight, as they leaves you feeling full. They may also boost bone health due to the levels of calcium, magnesium, manganese, protein, zinc, and vitamin K in them.
Amaranth - A naturally gluten-free ancient grain rich in protein, fiber, micronutrients, and antioxidants, amaranth is not technically a cereal grain like wheat or oats, but shares a comparable set of nutrients. High in antioxidants and phenolic acids (plant compounds that act as antioxidants, may help protect against heart disease and cancer), these ancient grains have been shown to be an anti-inflammatory. Amaranth may improve cholesterol levels and aid in weight loss due to its high protein and fiber levels. Amaranth is also a great source of manganese (important for brain function), magnesium (involved in over 300 reactions in the body), phosphorus (important for bone health), and iron (important in blood production and health).
Brown Rice Protein - The amino acids found in brown rice protein can help nourish blood vessels, and improve kidney and liver function. Cysteine, a building block for protein, can enhance lung function and promote the body’s detox process. Brown rice protein has been shown to aid in improving cholesterol levels and blood sugar regulation. Brown rice is proven to be anti-diabetic and anti-cholesterol, as well as cardio-protective and an antioxidant. It can even help build lean muscle mass, comparable to the same levels of whey protein use. It has a thermic effect, creating heat in the body through the process of digestion; this can help with weight loss because the body continues to burn calories long after the protein is consumed. It also has a high fiber content, further helping heart and digestive health.
Cranberries - a good source of various vitamins and minerals and can help manage risk factors of cardiovascular disease, including systolic blood pressure. They can also help reduce body mass index and improve levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. They may also benefit oral health and prevent gum disease by preventing bacteria from binding to the surface of teeth. These deliciously tart berries are a good source of vitamin C, a range of vital B vitamins, and fiber, which can aid in heart health and certain gastrointestinal conditions.
Flax Seeds - With a good amount of protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, these seeds are a rich source of the fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a heart healthy substance not produced in the body. They are also a rich source of lignans, which may reduce cancer risk. Full of dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble, flax seeds are a combatant against diabetes and can aid in weight management and may lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels. Flax is a great source of plant based protein, and rich in amino acids. Flax seed protein has been shown to improve immune function, lower cholesterol, prevent tumors, and to have anti-fungal properties.
Nuts - highly nutritious seed kernels high in fat and calories. While carb content varies by nut, they are all generally an excellent food to eat on a low-carb diet. Loaded with antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals and reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, they are heart healthy and may fight against cancer. Several studies have shown that the body does not absorb all of the calories in nuts and can actually help promote weight loss, even though they are high in calories. May lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Many types of fiber function as prebiotics.