Nuts are one of the super foods that are power packed with healthy cholesterol, energy, good quality proteins and some of the essential vitamins and minerals like copper and magnesium. The best part about nuts is you can just eat a fistful and yet obtain your power dose. They are just perfect to munch in between major meals of the day like the breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are a good choice to control your blood glucose, hunger pangs and the best way to snack healthy.
The picture about nuts is not very clear to many because of its calorific value. Let me simplify why the nutritional content in nuts is healthy despite of the high calories. Just like any other food item, nuts are also composed of 3 major nutrients – Carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Being very low in carbohydrates, they are friends to diabetics and to those watching their carb intake. Just one fistful of most nuts which is about 10 – 12 gms on an average will give you 5gms of proteins which is equivalent to protein content in 1 slice of processed cheese and even 1 glass of milk. Perhaps, almonds contain 80% of protein of the red meat. Since proteins are present in every part of your body including hair and nails, it is obvious proteins are very essential. Eating nuts for their protein content is beneficial to women because it can promote healthy hair and nails growth as well as lustrous skin. Nuts can regulate your metabolism and thus are best friends to people trying to lose weight. Nuts give a sustained source of energy and therefore are highly recommended to be consumed with morning breakfast.
Another major component is Fats. 40% of calories in nuts come from fats. But hold on!! Lets understand what makes this 40%. We all know, there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Bad cholesterol is saturated fats. Good cholesterol is unsaturated fats which is Omega 3 and omega 6. Good news, out of that 40%, 80% is good cholesterol content in nuts. This good cholesterol helps in brain development to growing children. Protects the heart from oxidation caused due to stress. This function is precisely more applicable to men since researches say, men are more prone to heart conditions caused due to stress than women. Besides, nuts are amongst those few foods that have a very good omega3 to omega6 ratio. Infact, nuts are the only source of healthy fats for vegetarians. It is always a healthy fat ratio that matters. Now if we look at the micronutrients which apparently play a major role in our body like the copper, magnesium, vit E you must know that eating nuts can take care of upto 28% of your daily requirements of essential vitamins and minerals. Also one must remember that nuts are power foods. Therefore their one portion size is just one fistful or and a half compared to any other food items. The only time, you can be wrong with consuming nuts is when you are consuming artificially flavored with sugar or perhaps deep fried nuts in excess quantities.
To evaluate food on the basis of calorific content ONLY is not the best way in my opinion. I try to understand food science and social science very closely. It is evident, had nuts not been nutritionally sound at such high scale despite of the fat content, they would have been available for cheap just like the fried chicken in KFC because even chicken has protein and is very high in fats. Buts certainly it is no where close to the nutritional value of nuts. in some parts of India and neighboring countries, consuming nuts or perhaps gifting nuts is a status symbol! So now if i picture this, i can see I am holding a fistful of goodness. Nuts are indeed an integral part of out diet.
Below are few interesting ways to incorporate nuts in daily diet
1) Sprinkle over your bowl of breakfast
2) Add to your steamed vegetables for a flavorful delight.
3) Add them to your bread like the walnut bread to increase the nutritional value of your meals.
4) Simply make almond butter dip!
5) Just simply munch them.
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