- Diet & Weight Loss
Nuts For Health and Nutrition
Nuts For Health
Nuts are a very important addition to diet, as they are full of vitamins and nutrients. Lots of people overlook nuts for health and nutrition, as they believe them to be 'fattening'
While nuts do contain a lot of fats, most of them are the healthy kind.(monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats)
You would be amazed at how healthy they can be.
Nuts For Health and Nutrition
While nuts are indeed high in calories, this is no more, and often less, than the calories in meat, eggs and cheese. The protein and nutritional content of nuts, however, is usually much higher.
So if you substitute nuts where you would have eaten meat or cheese, you are gaining in health and nutrition.
Using nuts in place of other, fattier foods is a plus; rather than just adding nuts to your diet.
Adding nuts in place of chocolate chips in cakes and cookies, is another example.
You will be surprised to know that a peanut butter sandwich is healthier than one made with processed meats, especially if you use organic peanut butter, or home-made.
You will become less susceptible to heart attack or cardiac disease with nuts in your diet: They have been shown to reduce heart attack by up to 35%.
Nuts are rich in fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients, as well as omega-3. All of which are known to help reduce 'bad' cholesterol, or LDL, while increasing HDL, or 'good' cholesterol.
The highest ranking nuts in the health tables are Walnuts, followed by peanuts (not strictly a nut, but a pulse, or legume)
Also good are almonds, hazelnuts, brazils, cashews, macadamia, pecans, pistachios, and some pine nuts.
Seeds are beneficial too, especially flaxseed, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Used wisely, 1-2 ounces of natural or roasted nuts (not salted or sweetened) will add a variety of health and nutrition to your diet.
What are the reasons for eating nuts for health and nutrition?
First, they are so rich in omega-3, just like fresh fish, which makes them helpful to the heart, by keeping heart rhythms regular.
The unsaturated fats help the cholesterol levels, also helping the heart.
L-arginine in nuts boost immunity, help erectile disfunction, and lower blood pressure. This also helps keep artery walls supple and improve blood flow; thus preventing blood clots, which can cause heart attacks or strokes.
The high fibre content helps lower cholesterol, as well as helping the function of the digestive system.
Nuts' vitamin E content helps also to keep arteries clear.
Walnuts are Excellent
Health in Nuts
Plant sterols occur naturally in nuts. This being a substance which also lowers cholesterol, it is often added during processing, to products like margarines and orange juice.
Walnuts, Pecans and Almonds also contain tryptophan, which stimulates production of serotonin in the brain, a hormone which helps relaxation, and can help with depression. Walnuts in particular are recommended for healthy blood; to keep cholesterol levels healthy and are therefore very good for the heart.
Nut oils, while containing a lot of the good stuff, do not have the fibre content. They also contain more saturated fat, so do not overuse. Nut oil, particularly walnut oil, is great as a salad dressing, giving the benefits without too much fat.
Actually sprinkling some chopped walnuts over your salad is better still; a great substitute for croutons and just as crunchy.
Nut Butters are good for health too; peanut butter in particular. Most commercial brands however, have added saturated fats to prevent oil separation, so it is better to check labels, and choose one made from just nuts and salt..
Be careful if you have blood pressure problems, (or peanut allergies, of course!) in all other cases peanut butter can only do you good.
Make your own by roasting, then grinding and blending the nuts, with minimum salt, better still.
This way, you can make nut butter from any nut you choose, hazelnut, cashew or almond being great choices.
See the video below for tips on a very simple method.
Low Carb and Nutrient Rich
Nuts are a good inclusion in a low carb diet too.
Almonds are calcium-rich. A cup of almonds has almost the same calcium content as a cup of milk. Almonds also are very good for the colon, keeping it functioning and clear, and helping prevent cancer.
Cashews are surprisingly lower in fats than most nuts, with 65% unsaturated fatty acids, 90% of which is oleic acid, the fat found in olive oil, exceptionally good for the heart. Cashews also provide copper, magnesium, iron, biotin and zinc.
Brazils are stuffed with so many nutrients, and the high levels of selenium, an antioxidant that eliminates free radicals, have proved an asset in preventing breast cancer.
Include nuts for health and nutrition in your diet every day, but use them to replace less healthy foods. Used in moderation, they can only do good. Eat a different nut each day, or mix them, to make sure you get the most you can from the nutrition each nut carries.