Nut-Milk for Heart Health and Diabetes
Did you know that nuts and seeds can protect your heart? They contain arginine, an amino acid that helps improve blood flow. (Which could also prove useful on date night, wink wink.)
Studies have shown that when nuts (or nut milk) were substituted for an equal amount of carbohydrate in participants’ diets, heart disease risk dropped by 30%.
Another study on cholesterol found that compared to a low-fat diet recommended by the American Heart Association, the addition of a handful of pecans a day greatly improved cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels, while low-fat dieters continued to suffer.
The risk of type 2 diabetes is also lowered by a diet that includes nuts. This is likely because monounsaturated fats in nuts can improve cell membranes.
Pecans played a a major role in the diets of prehistoric American Indians, who would gather the fallen nuts in river valleys each autumn. In the winter they ground and soaked them to make a rich milky drink, which they would sometimes ferment. In addition to being high in monounsaturated fat, pecans are also full of plant sterols, which have been shown to control cholesterol levels.
Pine nuts are also good sources of monounsaturated fat, as well as magnesium and potassium—two heart-friendly minerals. The combination of heart-healthy fats and minerals make for a powerful blend of cardio-protective nutrients. Hopi and Navajo Native Americans stored pine nuts to be used as a mainstay during poor hunting conditions. They would grind the nuts into flour for baking, or make a paste which they boiled into soups, or roasted and ate like porridge. In Korea too, they utilize pine nuts as a nourishing breakfast porridge.
Somehow our ancestors intuitively knew the power of these foods. Now we are proving them right through scientific facts. Pass the pecans please!
Check out this delicious heart healthy nut milk recipe for Walnut-Pecan Milk with Maple and Vanilla
To read more about the benefits of drinking homemade nut milk, see Lisa’s book, Drink Nut Milk and Kefir: Nutrition and Recipe Guide to the Most Nourishing Nut-Milks.