Nuts and seeds are mother nature’s best gift to mankind. They are versatile, easy to store and extremely delicious. Healthiest in its natural form or lightly toasted on low heat (without oil), they make for the perfect snack option as they can be easily packed and can be stored at room temperature. Why are the referred to as a nutritional powerhouse?
- Nuts are high in omega 3 fatty acids & monounsaturated fats which help protect the heart, amongst other things, and ensure a steady rhythm. They help in lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.
- They are an excellent source of nutrition. Some of the nutrients found in nuts include: protein, fibre, vitamin E, magnesium, copper, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, etc.
- Nuts contain antioxidants known as polyphenols which help in protecting cells and LDL cholesterol from damage.
- Although high in calories, nuts and seeds have shown to help promote weight loss and not weight gain as a small portion is sufficient to fill a person’s stomach. Further, being a natural source of good fat, studies have found that the body doesn’t absorb all the calories in them.
- Research suggest that certain seeds & nuts help in reducing inflammation, especially in cases of people suffering from diabetes, kidney diseases and other serious health conditions.
What are they best for?
- Almonds: Calcium-rich, high fibre content and a great source of vitamin E
- Brazilian Nuts: Selenium (improves thyroid function), healthy fat and protects against prostate cancer.
- Cashews: Reduces symptoms of depression, protein rich and delays age-related memory loss.
- Walnuts & Chia Seeds: antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids and fibre
- Peanuts & Flaxseeds: high folate, healthy fats and vitamin E
The goal should be to include a small portion of them into our daily diet to derive maximum benefit. However,one should be cautious to not consume too much as they tend to be calorie dense and high in fat. When taken in moderation, nuts and seeds can be excellent source of numerous nutrients and minerals that are hard to find elsewhere.