Nuts are such a popular and tasty food we thought we would put the spotlight on them.
Patricia Clarke Dip. Nat. Nut.and
Angela MacRitchie Dip. Nat. Nut.
Being a great source of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, nuts are great during a detox and for every day eating, and they are easy! Technically, nuts are considered a fruit, with a hard shell and an edible seed. The best type of nuts to eat are raw and organic, including: almond, Brazil, cashew, hazelnut, macadamia, pecan, pine and walnut. Peanuts are actually legumes, although we think of them as nuts, probably due to a similar appearance and nutritional profile.
Nuts are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants help to control free radical damage in your body. Free radicals can be produced in response to stress, sun exposure, pollution, pesticides and eating fried or overcooked foods. Although having some free radicals can play a beneficial role in your immune responses, too many free radicals can lead to oxidative stress in your body, which in turn is a precursor to diseases. The antioxidants in nuts can help counteract these free radicals so they can’t damage your cells. Almonds are especially good for their polyphenol content, a phytochemical that has antioxidant properties.
Nuts are low in sugar and they satiate you, making your feel fuller for longer. Due to their low carbohydrate content, including them in your diet may balance your blood sugar levels and be particularly helpful for those with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Some nuts, like cashews and pistachios contain a slightly higher carbohydrate content than nuts like pecan and hazelnuts. This is something to be aware of if you are following a low carbohydrate diet.
The fat content of nuts varies considerably by type of nut. Typically, they contain saturated, monounsaturated as well as polyunsaturated (omega 3 and 6) fats. Being rich in fats does not mean that nuts are bad for our health. On the contrary, including nuts in your diet is thought to be beneficial in preventing heart disease and in lowering LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol. Macadamias are a good source of monounsaturated fat. The best diet ensures a good ratio of omega 6:3. As nuts contain more omega 6 than omega 3, make sure you are getting enough omega 3 from other sources such as flaxseeds and their oil and oily fish.
Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrients—because acting in concert, they perform hundreds of roles in the body: they support bone health, heal wounds, convert food into energy, and repair cellular damage. Nuts are chock full of vitamins and minerals including several B group vitamins, vitamin E, minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium and selenium. Brazil nuts are an excellent source of antioxidant mineral selenium which also supports thyroid health.
Walnuts are particularly high in the amino acid arginine and glutathione, both supportive to our liver detoxification.
Hopefully the benefits of nuts are clear. In a nutshell: go nuts!