It is not all bad news when it comes to debunking the benefits of nuts. Go nuts but remember that moderation is the key! Nuts have various nutritive values and several are the health benefits. Nuts are very popular and despite being high in fat, they also have a number of impressive benefits for your health (and weight).
Almonds: are the desk snack du jour. If you avoid dairy, calcium-filled almonds provide you with sufficient quantity of the bone-strengthening material. A 50 g serve of almonds contains as much calcium as half a glass of milk and supplies about 130 per cent of daily vitamin E requirements, a nutrient which helps to improve the condition and appearance of your skin. Whole nut almonds with the skin are full of heart-protecting compounds called flavonoids.
Brazil nuts: are ideal for people whose the thyroid function is low. These nuts are rich in selenium, a mineral which we need, to produce the active thyroid hormone. Selenium is also a good source for building of immunity and aids in fast healing of wounds. All you require is just about three to four nuts a day to get all the selenium you require. These nuts also contain magnesium and calcium.
Cashews: Rich in proteins, cashews are a good source of iron and zinc. This nut is also a good source of magnesium, which improves recall and slows down memory loss due to ageing. Add a handful to a vegetarian stir-fry or use as nut butter on crackers or bread. Cashew amongst all plant sources provides a good amount of iron and zinc and is a great source of folate.
Chestnuts: with the lowest fat and calories, chestnuts are rich in fibres and carbs and also form a good source of vitamin C in their raw form. They are lower in protein than other nuts but contain Vitamin B that includes B6 as well. Chestnut flour is gluten-free and can be used in the preparation of cakes and bakes, or can be bought fresh and roasted for a tasty snack.
Hazelnuts: Opt for hazelnuts if you are concerned about high levels of homocysteine, an amino acid which has been linked with heart ailments and Parkinson’s disease. Hazelnuts are a good source of folate, which plays a key role in keeping homocysteine within normal levels. High levels of it are linked to early development of heart disease. The anchors of Nutella (hazel nut spread) also ferry vitamins E and B6, thiamine, niacin, folic acid and calcium.
Macadamias: With one of the highest fat contents, these nuts are for addition of flavour and texture to dishes, both sweet and savoury. They may be 70 per cent fat, but 80 per cent of it is monounsaturated (good), and they have zero cholesterol. They are a rich source of fibre and make a useful contribution of minerals including magnesium, calcium and potassium.
Peanuts: are rich in energy and are rich in healthy nutrients, antioxidants and minerals which are all beneficial for good health. Fibre in peanuts is an important type of complex carbohydrate; the fat here is unsaturated and protein is derived from plants. With these healthy components it is considered beneficial to consume them when one has to deal with weight management and certain chronic disorders. They are legumes but possess several qualities of other popular edible kernels such as pistachio, almonds, etc.
Pecans: Heart-friendly pecans are full of plant sterols, a valuable compound, which aids in the lowering of cholesterol levels. Rich in antioxidant, pecans help prevent plaque formation which is a major cause for the thickening of the arteries.As a good source of vitamin B3 pecans are the perfect option if you’re fighting fatigue.
Pistachios: provide plant sterols that can block cholesterol absorption. They are also among the best nuts for potassium, protein, fibre and vitamin A.Being especially rich in vitamin B6, which is important for keeping hormones balanced and healthy, pistachios are a good option for those with period problems. Pistachios are the only nuts that form the source of two rare antioxidants, zeaxanthin and lutein that aid in eye protection.
Walnuts: contain alpha linolenic acid, which keeps the blood flowing freely and assist in maintaining a healthy heart and also facilitate the good functioning of the brain. The antioxidant content in walnuts is useful in keeping cancer at bay. Walnuts also contain mono-unsaturated fats, that help in lowering cholesterol and are rich in omega-3.
The quantity of saturated fat and the type of fat we should keep away from varies between nuts. Also the content of carb is a variable. So, choose your nuts wisely and eat them judiciously!