Dont go Nuts
Find out why you should eat them? Which are the best? And how many?
Nuts are an easy snack that taste great and best of all they are good for us. They contain protein, healthy fats (mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated) and a variety of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants making them an important part of a healthy diet.
Nuts provide a number of powerful health benefits which include: providing a protective affect against cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol and improving control of blood sugar and blood pressure. Eating nuts results in an earlier and longer feeling of fullness which helps to control appetite and weight gain and they also contribute towards meeting requirements of a number of important nutrients including protein, omega 3 fats, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, folate and many more.
What is the best nut?
The best nuts are those that are unsalted and unroasted or dry roasted. As far as the best type of nut goes, a variety is best. All nuts provide protein, a combination of mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated omega 3 and omega 6 fats, anti-oxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals but nutrient composition and amounts does vary. Eating a variety of nuts is the best way to ensure you get all the nutritional benefits they offer.
Take a closer look at some of the more commonly eaten nuts below. High amounts are defined as providing 10% or greater of recommended daily requirements per 30g serve (approximately).
Almonds are the highest in fibre, vitamin E and calcium and they also contain high amounts of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper and riboflavin. Almonds have the second highest amount of protein tied with pistachios (6g per 30g serve) behind peanuts.
Walnuts are the highest in polyphenols (an anti-oxidant) and by a significant amount in omega 3 fatty acids (2500mg per 30g serve, compared to the second highest pecans with just 300mg). Walnuts also contain high amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese.
Cashews are the highest in iron, copper and zinc and they also contain high amounts of vitamin K, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus.
Brazil nuts are the highest in selenium, phosphorus and magnesium of all nuts and they also contain high amounts of thiamine, manganese and copper. Brazil nuts have the highest amount of saturated fat (4.5g per 30g serving) closely following by macadamia nuts.
Peanuts are the highest in folate and niacin and they also contain high amounts of fibre, vitamin E, thiamine, manganese, copper, phosphorus and magnesium. Peanuts have the highest amount of protein (7g per 30g serve). Interestingly, the peanut is technically not a nut at all, it's a legume.
Pistachios are the highest in potassium and vitamin B-6 and they also contain high amounts of fibre, thiamine, copper, manganese and phosphorus. Pistachios have the second highest amount of protein tied with almonds (6g per 30g serve) behind peanuts..
Macadamia nuts are the highest in thiamine and they also contain high amounts of fibre, copper and manganese. Macadamia nuts have the second highest amount of saturated fat (3.5g per 30g serve) just behind Brazil nuts and the lowest amount of protein (2g per 30g serve).
Pecans are the highest in manganese of all nuts and they also contain high amounts of fibre, copper and thiamine. Pecans have the second highest amount of omega 3 fatty acids (300mg per 30g serve) behind walnuts by a significant amount.
How many nuts?
Nuts are high in fat so portion sizes need to be controlled. Yes, the fats in nuts are healthy fats with many health benefits, but they still contribute to energy intake none the less. Aim for 1 serving of 30g (10-20 nuts) every day or on most days. Don't let the fat in nuts scare you off, recent findings suggest that eating nuts (in appropriate amounts) may actually help control weight.Read more