They say that good things are available in small packages which is actually true for nuts. Fully packed with protein, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals, nuts are powerhouses of healthy nutrition and delicious to boot. Though nuts are technically considered a fruit, they’re not sweet like apples or tender and juicy like oranges. Rather, they’re small and crunchy, often with an edible outer shell that has to be cracked open to reveal the tasty morsel within.
Like most foods, nuts contain a mixture of fat, protein, carbohydrate, and fiber. Nuts contain many different types of fat as well as monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids. Other nutrients you’ll find in nuts include Vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, selenium, and manganese.
Nuts are rich in energy and nutrients. The monounsaturated fatty acids in nuts help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.
They are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids with anti-inflammatory properties. They help in controlling high BP, fight against breast, colon and prostate cancers.
They are a rich source of potassium, manganese, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, fluoride, selenium. Manganese is a powerful free radical scavenger. Potassium controls heart rate, blood pressure. Copper helps in producing red blood cells. Fluoride prevents dental problems.
They help in preventing coronary artery diseases, and strokes.
They also benefit in rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, depression.
Poly-phenolic flavonoids in nuts protect from cancers, heart diseases, degenerative nerve diseases, Alzheimer’s disease.
They contain B complex which is very essential for health.
Vitamin E offers antioxidant benefits and also helps prevent the formation of plaque in the arteries while magnesium supports increased energy, digestive regularity, pain relief, and protection against osteoporosis.
Beneficial for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
The dietary fiber content of nuts is also beneficial for digestion, healthy weight maintenance, and cardiovascular health.
Nutrients do nuts provide:
Each nut variety contains its own unique combination of nutrients and is generally rich in a few nutrients such as:
Almonds: protein, calcium and vitamin E
Brazil nuts: fibre and selenium: just two brazil nuts a day provides 100% RDI for selenium for an adult
Cashews: non haem (plant based) iron and a low GI rating
Chestnuts: low GI, fibre and vitamin C (although much vitamin C is lost during cooking)
Hazelnuts: fibre, potassium, folate, vitamin E
Macadamias: highest in monounsaturated fats, thiamin and manganese
Pecans: fibre and antioxidants
Pine nuts: vitamin E and the arginine amino acid
Pistachios: protein, potassium, plant sterols and the antioxidant resveratrol
Walnuts: alpha linoleic acid: plant omega 3 and antioxidants
How much nuts should I have?
A healthy daily intake of nuts is 30g (a small handful) or approximately:
2 tablespoons of pine nuts
30 pistachio kernels
9 walnut kernels
a small handful of mixed nuts or about two of each of the ten nut varieties (except chestnut which isn’t eaten raw)