Healthy Snacks by Nature's Garden
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Nuts and Endocrine Health

Nuts are a multipurpose snack that is even sometimes referred to as a superfood because of the numerous positives that they can provide to our diets.  One positive is their impact on the endocrine system and the endocrine hormones that help control mood, growth and development, the function of our organs, and our metabolism to name a few.  The National Cancer Institute says, the endocrine system is made up of the glands and organs that make hormones and release them directly into the blood so they can travel to tissues and organs all over the body.  This definition stresses the importance of having a healthy and high functioning endocrine system.  We can create and sustain a healthy endocrine system by doing things like exercising regularly, eating a nutritious diet, and going for regular medical checkups. 

Positive Effects of Nuts on Endocrine Health

Nuts can have several positive effects on our endocrine health because of their dense nutritional content.  These health benefits are:

  • Healthy Fats: Nuts are rich in monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids.  These fats are critical in the process of hormone production and regulation in the body.  Hormones like estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol rely on adequate fat intake for their hormone synthesis processes. 
  • Protein: Nuts are a very good source of plant-based protein, and this protein intake works to repair and build new tissue within the body.  This includes hormone-producing glands like the thyroid and adrenal glands. Sufficient protein intake supports overall endocrine function. 
  • Minerals: Nuts contain a wide variety of minerals that contribute to our endocrine health like magnesium, manganese, and zinc to name a few.  These minerals work to aid in things like thyroid function, insulin sensitivity, and the overall hormone balance in our bodies.
  • Fiber: A variety of nuts are very high in fiber, which can help to regulate our blood sugar levels and improve our sensitivity to insulin. Stable blood sugar levels are critical for optimal endocrine function, particularly for hormones involved in our metabolism and our energy regulation. 
  • Antioxidants: Nuts are rich in antioxidants like vitamins E and B.  They are also a good source of phytochemicals. These can work to help combat things like oxidative stress and inflammation. Chronic inflammation can often disrupt endocrine function and contribute to conditions like thyroid disorders.
  • Weight management: Regularly incorporating nuts into a balanced diet may help with weight management, which ultimately supports endocrine health.  Obesity and excess body fat can disrupt hormone levels and increase the risk of conditions like insulin resistance. 

It is always worth noting to be mindful of portion sizes and to consult with a doctor if you plan on making any significant dietary changes for you or a member of your family. 

Nuts and Endocrine Function

Our endocrine system is crucial to creating an overall healthy body, there are some foods to avoid that can disrupt a healthy endocrine system like canned and processed foods.  Replacing these with a choice from a variety of nut options will show their effectiveness.  Some options to consider are:

  • Brazil nuts: They are an excellent source of selenium, a mineral essential in thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism.  Selenium works as an antioxidant, which protects the thyroid gland from oxidative damage.  
  • Almonds: These are rich in monosaturated fats, protein, fiber, and vitamin E.  They contain magnesium and manganese, which also aid in thyroid function and insulin sensitivity.
  • Walnuts: They are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties and support brain function.  They’re a source of protein, fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, and polyphenols.  Walnuts help in regulating blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. 
  • Pecans: These are rich in monosaturated fats, especially oleic acid which helps to lower LDL cholesterol level and the risk of heart disease.  Pecans are rich in fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants like vitamin E.
  • Cashews: They are high in monosaturated fats and protein, making them a satisfying snack that can help stabilize blood sugar levels.  They also provide magnesium, which aids in glucose metabolism as well as other things.
  • Pistachios: These are rich in things like fiber, protein, monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats.  Pistachios also contain potassium which helps regulate blood pressure.

Healthy Trail Mix for Share

These options for us and our families are a healthy alternative to some of the snacks that line grocery store shelves, in addition to a variety of trail mixes, artisanal nuts, and more that can be found here!

Can nuts affect hormones?

They positively affect your endocrine system as well as helping lower cholesterol and insulin levels while maintaining blood sugar.

Which is the most estrogenic nut?

Pistachios are the richest source of phytoestrogens among nuts.

What foods restore your hormonal balance?

Dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, etc.
Michael Padovani
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