The one specific food most tied to longevity was nuts.  There is a lot of controversy around whether we should be eating nuts or not. The results of a large study conducted through Loma Linda University clearly show that nuts, such as walnuts, are of major benefit to our hearts and overall health.  Recent research done on the different kinds of nuts shows the amazing effect on the brainwave frequencies associated with cognition, healing, learning, memory, and other key brain functions, including sleep.

“Pistachios, for instance, produced the greatest gamma wave response, which is critical for enhancing cognitive processing, information retention, learning, perception and rapid eye movement during sleep. Peanuts which are actually legumes, but were still part of the study, produced the highest delta response, which is associated with healthy immunity, natural healing, and deep sleep.”  The FASEB Journal

According to the research it is apparent that the biggest benefit of nuts comes from eating them whole or chopped, unsalted and oil-free.

Dr Greger advises that “Since nut consumption has been associated with lower rates of heart disease and living a longer life, we should include them in our regular diet without worrying that they’re going to make us fat.”

“Nuts boost fat burning within the body.”  “In the short run, nuts don’t lead to weight gain as much as other foods, but what about after years of eating nuts? “Well,” he says, “that’s been examined six different ways in studies lasting up to eight years. One found no significant change and the other five out of six measures found significantly less weight gain and risk of abdominal obesity in those eating more nuts. . . For example, in 2012 there was a study in which people added over a hundred pistachios to their daily diets for three months and didn’t gain a pound.”

(Part of the science behind this has to do with the fiber content and how fiber takes calories with it through the excretion process.  They also boost fat burning through arginine and flavonoids).

Nuts without added oils enhance plant-based eating by their texture, flavor and variety.  Many fun and delicious dressings, sauces, un-cheeses, and dips can be made with cashews whose neutral flavor and starchiness add a special texture that most other nuts can’t replicate.   However, we suggest limiting these spreads to a condiment portion or a minimal percentage of the entire dish being served.  The best of all worlds would be that most of our eating comes from just the plants themselves:  vegetables, legumes, fruits, grains, and some whole nuts. –Heather Leno