Nuts have made a comeback as a health food and are something I consume on a regular basis. They were shunned from the health and diet industry for years due to their high fat content. Though now that it’s been revealed that fat doesn’t make you fat, nuts are back on the menu. In fact, they make a frequent occurrence in my F.I.T. nutrition plans. Nuts are a great healthy source of protein, good fats, antioxidants and fibre. The polyunsaturated fats found in nuts are also great for skin, hair, teeth and nail health. They can lower cholesterol and are a perfect ‘pick me up’ during the afternoon. I’ve listed my favourite nuts below as well as some healthy eating “rules” for when you want to include nuts as part of your nutrition program.
These nuts are my favourite and so long as you have them in moderation they are super healthy too. They contain good fat and are rich in vitamin E, B2, magnesium, copper and l-arginine. They are a great source of fibre, protein and have even been shown to balance your blood sugar to help with appetite control when eaten as a snack. The downside to almonds is they have a high phytate content, which can be hard for our bodies to digest. I always like to soak mine overnight to make them more digestible and gentle on my tummy.
These nuts are known for being a powerhouse of nutrients, particularly because they are rich in selenium. Selenium is a very important antioxidant essential for thyroid health and immune function. Our bodies don’t produce it, which is why we must obtain it from our daily diet. One or two Brazil nuts a day will give you your daily requirements. Brazil nuts are also low in carbs but high in good fats and other nutrients like copper, magnesium and B1. Brazil nuts have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties on the body.
Okay, so the major problem with eating cashews is that it can be hard to stop at one serving size. These delicious nuts have a rich and creamy texture, which also make them great for making all your raw desserts, like a non-dairy cheesecake. They have a great nutrient profile, though not as great as some other nuts. They are a little higher in carbs over other nuts but contain healthy fats, magnesium, iron and zinc. My recommendation with cashews is to keep them as a treat and take out one portion size and stick to it. Otherwise next thing you know that big bag of cashews will have completely disappeared.
Walnuts have an extremely good nutrient profile, and can be a great addition to any diet. Walnuts help support your cardiovascular system by reducing bad cholesterol and blood pressure. They also contain protein, magnesium, copper, iron and omega 3. Omega 3’s are an essential mineral for your everyday diet as it helps boost brain function, improve your immune system and your mood.
Some rules around eating nuts:
1. Stick to raw, unsalted and unflavoured. All the others, have been cooked in bad vegetable oil or contain other things like sugar and salt.
2. Activate your nuts where possible (soak for a few hours or overnight to make them easier to digest).
3. Always stick to the recommended serving size, otherwise eating healthy nuts can become very unhealthy when you over eat them. Try and buy in small quantities or divide into snack size bags.
4. When eating nut butter, buy the 100% natural, with no added vegetable oil, salt or sugar. Then make sure again you stick to one serving size, which lets face it, is extremely hard.
What are your favourite nuts to eat? Leave me a comment below: