Nuts are nature’s way of showing us that good things come in small packages. These bite-size nutritional powerhouses are packed with heart-healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. But be aware that although nuts are a healthy choice by themselves, they’ll quickly become detrimental to any diet when paired with sugary or salty toppings or mixes.
Nuts are must in our diet because:
- Nuts and seeds are rich in energy and nutrients. Nuts nutrition loaded with excellent source of monounsaturated-fatty acids which help to lower “bad cholesterol” and increase “good cholesterol.”
- They are rich source of all important omega-3 essential fatty acids. It can help you to lower the risk of blood pressure, coronary artery disease, strokes and breast, colon and prostate cancers. Omega-3 fatty acids also offer some benefits in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and in cases of Schizophrenia, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Nuts and seeds are rich in antioxidants such as carotenes, resveratrol, lutein, cryptoxanthin, etc. These compounds have been found to offer protection against cancers, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and viral/fungal infections.
- Nuts nutrition is complete in the sense that in addition to calories, and vitamins, they are rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, fluoride and selenium. Manganese is a co-factor for the enzyme superoxide dismutase, which is a very powerful free radical scavenger. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Copper is required for the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation. Fluoride is a component of bones and teeth and plays important role in prevention of dental caries.
- They contain very good levels of vitamin-E, a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E is required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin; thus, protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
- Nuts nutrition provides many vital B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates. These vitamins are essential for optimum health and well-being.
This is just a small piece of benefits why must include nuts in our diet.
The next question is how often and how many nuts should you you eat nuts? I would recommend eating nuts every day as much as what fits in the palm of your hand. And they can be a mixture of nuts or a handful of one kind, like almonds. Variety is better than one kind. It is about 120 to 200 calories, depending on what kinds are in your hand. NOTE, I am talking about nuts that are not salted or chocolate-covered or candied either. Should be pure nuts, washed and if wanted slightly roasted.
So which nut is your favourite? Is it:
- Almonds: protein, calcium; contain the most fibre compared to other nuts, and are richest in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Almonds are especially healthy for people worried about their blood sugar.
- Brazil nuts: fibre and selenium. Just two Brazil nuts pack more than 100 percent of the daily value for the mineral selenium, which may help prevent certain cancers, including bone, prostate, and breast cancer.
- Cashews: rich in iron and zinc. Iron helps deliver oxygen to all of your cells, which can prevent anemia, and zinc is critical to immune health and healthy vision.
- Chestnuts: fibre and exceptionally rich in vitamin-C (although much vitamin C is lost during cooking)
- Hazelnuts: fibre, potassium, folate, vitamin E that may prevent cataracts and macular degeneration, maintain healthy skin, and reduce risk of dementia.
- Macadamias: highest in monounsaturated fats, thiamin and manganese. But be careful because they’re one of the most calorie-dense nuts.
- Pecans: fibre and antioxidants. They may help prevent plaque formation in your arteries.
- Pine nuts: vitamin E and contain healthy amounts of essential minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
- Pistachios: protein, rich in the antioxidant gamma-tocopherol, a form of cancer-fighting vitamin E. Pistachios are also packed with potassium, a mineral essential for a healthy nervous system and muscles, and are a good source of vitamin B6, which can lift your mood, fortify your immune system, and more.
- Walnuts:plant omega 3 and antioxidants which fight inflammation. They’re an especially great way to get these healthy unsaturated fats if you’re not a fan of fish, where these types of fats are predominantly found.
My favourite nuts are brazil nuts, almonds and cashews. I take them every morning to give me a good source of fibre and vitamins for the day. I also love drinking nuts milk which is so easy to make. Here is the recipe:
- 40 g – cashew nuts (or any other nuts, preferably soaked for few hours)
- 250 ml – water
- 1 tea spoon vanilla sugar
- 1 table spoon honey
- Himalayan salt
Washed and soaked nuts to be placed in the blender. Put water only that covers the nuts. Start blending until the nuts become mashy and start adding more water. Finally add vanilla, honey and a bit of salt. The best and tastiest is when you use cooled water. Nuts milk you can drink on it’s own, add extra fruits and berries and prepare a smoothie. Also you can bake pancakes, boil porridge or put it in your tea, hot chocolate.
Enjoy your favourite nuts!