Monthly Archives: May 2021

5 Health Benefits of Nuts

Previously, we’ve written about the health benefits of red wine and dark chocolate. Continuing with this theme, we’re going to talk about nuts. I know, this food isn’t as stirring as wine and chocolate, but were you really expecting that our next blog post would reveal that cotton candy treats gout? 

Nuts are pretty exciting because they come in different varieties, and they happen to taste good, too. Let’s get nuts already and take a look at what makes them healthy. 

Good for Your Heart

Not to get dark, but heart disease is a leading cause of death in America, which is why we must take care of our tickers. 

Enter nuts. 

The Mayo Clinic has examined all the ways that nuts increase heart health. For starters , they contain unsaturated fatty acids, protein, and other nutrients, which hearts like. They also reduce the risk of heart attacks by:

  • Lowering your bad cholesterol
  • Fortifying the lining of your arteries
  • Reducing levels of inflammation
  • Lessing the risk of developing blood clots

Packed with Antioxidants

Forgive us for sounding like a broken record, but we jump at the opportunity to write the word “antioxidants” because it sounds cool, and antioxidants are really really good for you. They’re important because they fight off oxidation (ergo, ANTIoxidants), a bad chemical reaction that creates free radicals that assault your cells. If this sounds like a body chemistry uprising, it sort of is. 

Studies show that walnuts, almonds, pecans, and cashews contain the polyphenol antioxidant, which reduces oxidative damage and bad cholesterol. 

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

First, let’s say something nice about inflammation: it’s the body’s natural defense against injuries, bacteria, and pathogens. But, when it wears out its welcome, it has the potential to harm your organs and make you vulnerable to life-threatening conditions like diabetes and kidney disease. Our friends at Healthline did some research and found that pistachios, Brazil nuts, walnuts, and almonds reduce inflammation in people with these and other serious health conditions. 

Lots of Fiber

Addressing your colon and gut bacteria may not be appropriate table-talk, but ingesting fiber during meals is very important. 

You’ve heard of probiotics. There are also prebiotics, compounds that encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut and gastrointestinal tract. Fiber functions as a prebiotic. Nuts that are high in fiber–almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans, peanuts, macadamias, and Brazil nuts–may improve gut health, decrease calorie absorption (because fiber makes you feel full), and reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity. 

It’s important to note that while indulgent ingredients like salt and sugary coatings might make nuts taste even more fantastic, they may also cancel out the health benefits Nuts are also high in calories, so you need to be mindful of the optimal serving size of a handful or quarter cup, and The American Heart Association recommends eating about four servings of unsalted nuts per week. 

Now go forth, and go nuts, but do so in moderation.

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

May Is Mental Health Awareness Month

There are two things I’m quite familiar with: gift baskets and the mental health rollercoaster. In fact, these worlds intersect because many of our baskets have items aimed to pamper and reduce stress. 

I’m an open book when it comes to my experience with clinical depression, so mental health awareness and advocacy is near and dear to my heart. Since I like to indulge my readers with statistics, it’s important to note that millions of people are affected by mental illness each year: one in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness, and 17 percent of youth ages 6 – 17 experience a mental health disorder. 

This is serious stuff, and given the last excruciating 14 months, this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month, may be the most significant one yet. 

Oh, What a Year

Not that I want to give 2020 any more attention, since I was happy to let the door hit it on the way out, but bear with me. 

According to the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans experienced symptoms of depression from April through June of 2020 at a rate four times that of the same time period in 2019. Symptoms of anxiety saw a threefold increase. The American Psychological Association (APA) surveyed providers and found 74% reported that more patients are presenting with anxiety disorders than before COVID.

It sounds dire, I know, but there’s a silver lining here: people are proactively seeking help. That same APA survey revealed that psychologists are receiving more referrals, treating more patients, and experiencing fewer cancellations. Yes, people are hurting, but they’re also taking action to address their struggles like never before.

Helpful Resources

There are so many resources available to educate you on mental illness and point you in the right direction for treatment. Let’s start here:

If you want to read about my experience with clinical depression (and if you like ape metaphors), check out my blog article that was picked up by HuffPost called Gorilla on Your Back. I also gave a TED Talk-like presentation on the subject at my synagogue that you can view here

Mental illness is a pandemic that predates COVID-19, and the more we normalize the conversation, the better off we’ll all be. If you ever feel like talking about it, give me a call. I’m not a doctor, but I’m a good listener, and sometimes being heard can get you through the day.

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.