Many people tend to avoid nuts because of the amount of calories and fats present in them, but in fact nuts are extremely nourishing . A handful of nuts provide you with fibre, proteins, mono-unsaturated fatty acids and essential vitamins and minerals.
A healthy daily intake of nuts is 30g (a small handful) or approximately: 20 almonds. 15 cashews or 20 peanuts.
Importance of nuts in diet
It is essential to add nuts in your daily diet program because of the following reasons;
Nuts and seeds are rich in energy and nutrients. Nuts nutrition broadly comprises of heart friendly monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). These MUFA help lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increase HDL or “good cholesterol” in the blood.
All the nuts are good source of omega 3 fatty acids . The inflammatory action of omega 3 help to lower the risk of blood pressure, coronary artery disease, strokes and cancers. Omega-3 fatty acids also offer benefits in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and Schizophrenia, depression and Alzheimer’s disease
Nuts provide you with ample amount of vitamin E and B-complex vitamins. Vitamin-E is essential for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucosa and skin; thus, protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals. B-6 vitamins are essential for optimum health and well-being.
in addition to calories, and vitamins, they are a rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, fluoride and selenium.
Nutritional comparison of different nuts
1 portion or 1 oz of almonds provide 163 kcal. They are rich source of calcium almost 75 mg in 1 oz which is an important bone building mineral. Almonds contain riboflavin and L-carnitine, the two nutrients which positively affect neurological activity and prevent cognitive decline and help increase memory. Packed with essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, zinc, calcium, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids, almonds can do a world of good when it comes to your health. But in order to absorb all those nutrients, the almonds you eat, should be soaked in water overnight. This is because their brown, rough skin contains a certain enzyme inhibitor that is meant to protect the seed until it has the perfect conditions for germination. Our body cannot breakdown this enzyme-inhabiting compound thus making the digestion of almonds difficult and also restricting your body from absorbing its nutrients. Apart from that, soaking almonds also softens the seed, making it easy to chew and digest.
A portion of walnuts provide 185 calories . They are rich source of omega 3 and mono unsaturated fatty acid which help to lower the ldl cholesterol levels in blood . Among the many minerals found in walnuts one is zinc, which is a co-factor in many enzymatic functions particularly for the regulation of growth and development of many body cells.
Cashew nuts or kaju are high calorie nuts also rich in oleic, and palmitoleic acids , a heart friendly mono-unsaturated fatty acid.Cashew nuts contain a type of flavonols which is able to stop development of cancer by preventing and fighting against the division of cancerous cells. Like many other nuts cashew nuts are rich in vitamins and minerals and may help prevent deficiency diseases.
Pistachio are rich in vitamin A and E. help your body fight against inflammation and at the same time protect your blood vessels and prevent hear diseases. They are rich in vitamin b6 which makes pistachios good for the nervous system and for the stimulation of brain activity.
Peanuts are one of the best sources of folic acid which reduces the risk of the development of neural tube defects in newly born babies. Folic acid helps form genetic materials in your body cells thus enabling the proper formation of red blood cells. Peanuts are believed to lower the risk of type II diabetes that keep the blood sugar levels stable because of the mineral magnesium found in them. This helps in the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates and in calcium absorption.
How to incorporate nuts in your daily diet
Only 30 grams of nuts are recommended to add in your daily diet. More nuts may create digestive problems , obesity or other allergic reaction.
Nuts can be taken as a snack but it is not advisable as nuts are extremely addictive and it can lead to overeating.
Add nuts to to your breakfast cereals.
Almonds and walnuts can give extra flavour to your savoury and desserts.
Add nuts in your baking .
Nut butter is a healthy substitute and can be used as a spread.
Nuts are extremely nutritious and must be included in your diet in order to gain maximum health benefits.