All you need to know about nuts

If it’s a healthy heart you want, don’t forget to include nuts in your daily diet.

Read any article about healthy food or losing weight or gaining strength or improving cholesterol or good health in general and you’re bound to come across a reference to nuts. It’s as if nuts have suddenly become the flavour of the season and no one can claim to be a health nut without partaking in a healthy helping of nuts everyday (pardon all the nutty puns)!

Good nut, bad nut

So why this hoopla behind nuts and how do you know which nuts are good for you and which ones aren’t?

Generally speaking, nuts are considered very good for cardiovascular health, as they are a rich source of good fats. Also, they are completely devoid of cholesterol and sodium, making the case for including them in your diet even stronger.

Of course, each nut has it’s own special qualities and it’s good to know what benefits you’re deriving from what nut.

(For the calorie conscious, we’ve also put down the calorie count per 30 grams of nuts.)

Peanuts

Calories per serving – 166

Let’s start with the humble peanut. Although it’s technically a legume, the peanut is included in nut category by many a nutritionist.

Benefits of peanuts include:

  • Highly nutritious and free of tans-fats
  • Especially rich in proteins
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Vitamin E – Excellent for the skin
  • Niacin or Vitamin B3 – Helps in lowering cholesterol and process fats
  • Folate – Prevents anaemia, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Oleic acid – Reduces blood pressure and boosts memory

Walnuts

Calories per serving – 185

Get past that hard exterior and the walnut is all good health inside. Considered especially good for heart health, the walnut must be eaten with its brown, flaky skin.

Benefits of walnuts include:

  • Contain high levels of antioxidants
  • They contain alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3s are very good for improving cholesterol and blood pressure. Studies show that they may also limit diabetes.
  • Calcium – Essential for bone health
  • Magnesium – Good for muscle and nerve functioning

Almonds

Calories per serving – 163

Almonds are so good for you that we’ve given them the title of ‘wonder food’. Rich in ‘good’ fats, almonds can be instrumental in reducing bad cholesterol and can significantly reduce risk of heart disease.

Benefits of almonds include:

  • Promote good heart health – Thanks to the high amounts of monounsaturated fats, almonds have time and time again proven how good they are when it comes to reducing heart disease.
  • Lower cholesterol
  • High in Vitamin E
  • High in magnesium and potassium

Cashews

Calories per serving – 159

Who doesn’t like a handful of cashews as an evening snack? Luckily, these delicious nuts are also good for your health.

Benefits of cashews include:

  • Full of good fats that are good for cholesterol and a healthy heart
  • Contain magnesium and copper that help to strengthen bones and are good for blood flow.
  • Contain soluble dietary fibre

Do include nuts in your diet. You could go with a handful of mixed nuts or even chop some nuts up and add them to your morning cereal. However, remember, its best to eat nuts raw or dry roasted, with minimum or no salt. Also, nut allergy can be fairly common. So make sure you’re not allergic to a certain nut before indulging in it. And like with anything else in life, eat in moderation. Other than that, all we can say is, go nuts!

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