Nuts are a brilliant addition to any diet. They’re a plant source of fatty acids, are energy dense and packed full of protein and a variety of minerals. Nuts add texture to otherwise boring dishes and offer a protein source for vegans. I love them as a quick snack for a satisfying, tasty and crunchy in-between meal food.
So what’s so good about them?
Nuts are a plant source so they are cholesterol free, and mainly consist of unsaturated fatty acids. Being full on mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids (MUFA’s & PUFA’s) means you will get benefits such as
– lowering coronary heart disease risk
– anti- inflammatory effects (great for joint health)
– assists in controlling blood triacylglyeride levels
– helps maintain steady blood sugar levels (usually containing less than 10% carbohydrates) – great for diabetics
Nuts’ high protein and mineral content will benefit men who have health and fitness goals by
– high energy content helps keep your brain working with steady energy
– high protein (highest values rival that of meat, fish and cheese) content will help with muscle repair and recovery
– assists in weight loss by helping you feel satisfied for longer
This table should assist you in choosing the right selection of nuts for your health goals (click to expand)
But wait there’s more! As with all nutritionally dense food there is ALWAYS MORE!!!
Apart from providing energy and body building properties nuts offer anti-oxidants and minerals.
– contains paclitaxel, an active chemical in anti cancer drugs
– may help decrease depression
– short chain omega-3 fatty acids that help balance PUFA levels
– naturally provide the richest source of copper and managese
– rich source of plant sterols that help stop cholesterol absorption
– carotenoids that contribute to eye health & prevent eye disease
– high in fiber for regular bowel movements
– high in PUFA’s to help balance omega-3/6/9 ratios in the body
Peanut (which is not really a nut as they grow underground (a legume) but hey “nut” is in the name so I’ll include them here)
– niacin (vitamin B-3) for energy production and a good digestive system
– folate for proper red blood cell synthesis
– resveratrol for anti-oxidant properties
– managanese helps produce insulin – the blood glucose lowering hormone
– thiamine (or vitamin B-1) important for energy production
– high in oleic acid (a MUFA), great for heart health
– manganese to maintain blood sugar levels
– Naturally provide the richest source of selenium. May prevent prostate cancer and heart disease
– rich source of vitamin E. Eating the skin of the nut provides flavonoids that assist vitamin E in keeping skin and heart cells healthy.
– Manganese for healthy bones
– Copper for healthy blood vessels
– Rich fluoride content beneficial for healthy teeth
– high in manganese and copper
With all these health benefits please don’t go out and JUST eat nuts. – even worse eating salted, sugared or coated nuts!
As with everything consume them in moderation and in quantities that won’t burst your belt. Enjoy a variety of them too! A handful of raw or roasted nuts a day shall give you that lovely savory sensation, can help thicken food and add interesting textures and tastes to otherwise bland meals. Go nuts for nuts!!!
1 – H. Stephen Stoker, 2013 ‘General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry’.
2 – Byrd-Bredbenner C., Berning, J., Beshgetoor, D., and Moe, G, Wardlaw’s Perspectives in Nutrition, McGraw Hill, New York
3 – Susan Herrmann Loomis, International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions, 2010, “Nuts in the Kitchen”
4 – Food Standards Australia New Zealand, 2006, NUTTAB 2006 AUSTRALIAN FOOD COMPOSITION TABLES