Loaded with nutrients, goodness & benefits galore!
A nut is a fruit consisting of a hard or tough nutshell protecting a kernel that is usually edible. In general usage and in a culinary sense, a wide variety of dry seeds are called nuts, but in a botanical context “nut” implies that the shell does not open to release the seed. Nuts are awesomely versatile. They’re an easily portable snack, delicious on salads, and have endless uses in a variety of cuisines.
They’re also nutritional superstars, packed with protein and healthy fats. Nuts are small parcels of good health. While they do contain fat, they’re also rich in nutrients that benefit all-round health. So which ones are the best? That’s a tough one. Some argue in favour of almonds, cashews, and pistachios.
An ounce of each of these contains 160 calories, 5-6 grams of protein, and 13-14 grams of fat. On the other hand, macadamias and pecans are not as healthy. They contain about one-third the protein of other nuts, but nearly twice the amount of fat. Each macadamia nut has 20 calories, but they do still have health benefits when eaten in moderation.
Nuts are widely touted for their great taste and convenience, but their taste isn’t the only thing that makes them popular. Scientists have long touted the health benefits of making nuts a regular part of your diet. There are many varieties of nuts. Raw mixed nuts usually contain a range of almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, and more. They’re readily available at almost any grocery store/supermarket and pack a serious nutritional punch.
Facts About Few Popular Nuts!
Walnuts: These are among the best nuts for your heart. Though nuts, in general, have omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts also have high levels of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is said to reduce heart arrhythmia. Some studies have shown that, like olive oil, walnuts can reduce inflammation and oxidation in arteries after a meal. Eight walnuts a day is the recommended serving.
Brazil nuts & Pecans: These are both particularly good for men. The former is a rich source of the mineral selenium, which is said to protect men against prostate cancer and other diseases–just one a day is enough. An excess of Brazil nuts may increase the risk of type-2 diabetes, so don’t overdo it. Pecans have a plant steroid called beta-sitosterol, which eases the symptoms of an enlarged prostate.
Peanuts: Did you know peanuts are not really nuts but, in fact, legumes? Still, most people consider them nuts. They have high folate content, which helps brain development and inhibits the decline of cognitive functions. This makes them perfect for vegetarians, whose diets are short on the mineral. Peanuts are also good for pregnant women, and like actual nuts, they have an abundance of healthy fats and vitamin E.
Almonds: One of the best nuts to prevent disease, they are high in calcium, low in calories, and rich in fibre and vitamin E. That last nutrient acts as an antioxidant that combats inflammation and serious health conditions, like lung cancer and age-related cognitive decline.
Hazelnuts: One of the most popular flavouring agents whether in coffee or spreads, hazelnuts aren’t just delicious. They have a good amount of monounsaturated fat, which works to regulate heart health and blood sugar. We’re all aware of the benefits of foods that contain vitamin E, and hazelnuts are yet another great source.
Pistachios: Fun to crack and eat, pistachios are great, especially for someone looking to stay fit. They are among the lowest-calorie nuts, so they won’t pack on the pounds. Pistachios are also full of potassium, which helps maintain nerve and muscle health.
Here are a Few Health Benefits of Nuts:
Nuts are a nutritionally rich food, containing most of the vitamins and minerals the body needs. They’re one of the main sources of omega-3 fatty acids, offering a range of health benefits from reducing rheumatoid arthritis to protecting against Alzheimer’s and dementia.
HELPS IN WEIGHT LOSS: Nuts are largely composed of fats, which might seem counterintuitive for weight loss. However, the fats in nuts are almost entirely unsaturated, which means they leave you feeling more satisfied after eating, helping you eat less over time. Studies have even found that people who eat nuts frequently are at a lower risk of gaining weight than those who seldom eat nuts.
HELPS CONTROL DIABETES: Studies done by a few scientists found impressive reasons for recommending regular nut consumption as a way to manage diabetes. In a controlled study, people with type 2 diabetes who ate more than five servings of nuts per week lowered their risk of heart disease by as much as 17%.
PREVENTS HEART DISEASE & REGULATES CHOLESTEROL LEVELS: There have been many studies showing the beneficial effects of nuts on heart health. Eating nuts at least four times per week is correlated with fewer cases of coronary heart disease. Nuts also play an important role in regulating cholesterol. Scientists have found a direct correlation between eating nuts at least a few times per week and the reduction of LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body. Improved cholesterol is associated with less risk of stroke or cardiovascular disease.
Here are a few of my favourite recipes using nuts for all our readers to try out and benefit from the goodness of NUTS!
Recipe-1] BADAM AUR AKHROAT WALI KHEER
Recipe-2] DRY FRUIT WALA SHEERA
Recipe- 3] FRUITY DRY FRUIT MELANGE
Recipe- 4] HEALTHY NUTTY RICE
Recipe- 5] NUTKHUT DOUBLE ROTI PUDDING
Recipe- 6] ZARDA PULAO
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About the author
Dr. Kaviraj Khialani – celebrity master chef - is a Mumbai-based author, writer, academician, food –health-lifestyle coach, mentor & consultant.
He is specialized in over 33 International Cuisines & has worked with brands like the Taj Group of Hotels, Kuwait Airways to name a few. Chef Kaviraj has been awarded several Global and National Awards for his outstanding performance and achievements in his chosen field. He has been featured on Star Plus and Colors Television on several food shows as well.