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Going Nuts for Nuts

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Crazy over Nuts, Come On, it’s time to know about the goodness of these natural crackling nuts which are some of the most amazing things that come in small parcels. These awesome bite-size nuts are the powerhouse of various health benefits, nutritionally rich, packed with heart-healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Often nuts are under-rated as nutritious snacks because they are high in fat and calories but a few nuts (about 6-8 nos) would surely do good as they pack your diet with filling protein, fiber, unsaturated fats and significant vitamins and minerals.

Beans, nuts and seeds are an important element in any vegetarian diet as they are rich source of protein. Sunflower seeds, Almonds and Hazelnuts are the richest sources of vitamin E. Most of the nuts are almost equal in terms of calories per ounce and taken in moderation, are all healthy additions to any diet.

The mix of protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids keeps you full and suppresses your hunger cravings. Have you ever wondered how beneficial are these nuts to you? Eating nuts can lower your risk of having many serious health conditions as you get older such as stroke, memory loss, heart attacks etc.

Let’s check out on some of the popular nuts that we love to eat and its benefits:

Almonds: Almonds are versatile nuts that are added to a variety of sweet and savory dishes. It gives an amazing texture, taste and richness to the dish. They are extremely good for health and lower your bad cholesterol (LDL) levels.

They also help in satisfying your hunger cravings. Almonds contain the most fiber (about 3 gms per ounce) compared to other nuts. They are also the richest in vitamin E and a powerful antioxidant. Serving: About 23 almond nuts contain 170 calories and 15 gms fat.

Cashew nuts: Small, delicate, buttery, sweet and crunchy kidney shaped cashew nuts is a powerhouse of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and energy that are essential for robust health. Here in India, cashew nuts adorn a variety of exotic and yummy sweet and savory dishes. Do not eat too much of cashew nuts because of their high fat content and over consumption would cause unwanted weight in us.

Cashews provide a great source of iron, which helps maintain red blood cells.  They also contain magnesium, which is needed for energy and bone growth.  Cashews even contain phosphorus to help build bones and teeth, as well as zinc, which is needed for normal growth, for fighting infection and aids digestion.

But it’s always best to have cashew nuts in moderation for reaping the health and flavor benefits of nature’s delight. Cashew nuts are high in calories, for example, about 100 gms of nuts provide 553 calories. Cashew nuts relatively have high fat content (about 12 gms per ounce, 2 gms saturated fat) but is still considered good fat.

Peanuts: Peanuts are heart-healthy, good source of monounsaturated fats. They are widely used in Indian cooking for making a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Peanuts are also added into salads to give a nice crunchy and nutty taste. Peanuts feature an array of other nutrients that promotes healthy heart.

There are good sources of vitamin E, niacin, folate, protein and manganese. Few studies have shown that nutrients found in peanuts, including folic acid, phytosterols, phytic acid (inositol hexaphosphate) and resveratrol, may have anti-cancer effects.

Walnuts: These are more beneficial that other nuts because they contain more Omega-3 fatty acids than other nuts, which promote overall good health and heart health in particular. It also contains the most antioxidants of all nuts that help protect the body from the cellular damage that contributes to heart disease, cancer and premature aging. They’re extremely healthy unsaturated fats if you are not a fan of fish, where these types of fats are predominantly found. About 14 halves walnuts contain 185 calories and 18 gms of fat.

Pecans: Pecans are one of the antioxidants. A handful of pecan nuts added to your daily diet would do wonders to keep your heart healthy. They are rich source of vitamin E which is a natural antioxidant that protects blood lipid from getting oxidized. Pecan nuts are also having cholesterol lowering properties.

The unsaturated fat in pecan help lower cholesterol as 60% of the fat content is monounsaturated fat and the remaining 30% is polyunsaturated. Research studies have shown that pecan nuts help in weight loss. These are a good source of polyunsaturated fats, Vitamin E, fiber, folic acid, and several minerals such as manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

Chestnuts: Unlike other nuts, chestnuts are relatively low in calories, contain less fat, have high starch content and are rich source of minerals, vitamins and phyto-nutrients. They are gluten-free and thus popular ingredient in the preparation of gluten free foods.

These chestnuts are one of the main ingredients in stuffing in poultry and especially in Thanksgiving turkey. Chestnuts have a crumbly texture and have a sweet, mild flavour. They are usually eaten boiled or roasted and often added to soups and stuffings.

Pistachios: Pistachios are amazing looking small nuts having a very pretty light green color. They taste extremely good and are undeniably healthy to the body. These nuts are naturally cholesterol free snack. They contain more than 10 percent of the daily value of dietary fiber and essential vitamins and minerals.

Pistachios can lower or help maintain low blood sugar levels. Nuts take in moderation is a terrific ingredient to be added in your daily diet as it provides you with the required amount of protein, dietary fiber, various vitamins and minerals.

In addition they are having powerful antioxidants, and vitamin-E. Overall, these nuts are amazing power packed foods that comes as a surprising package with amazing and striking health benefits that aid in preventing heart disease and managing cholesterol levels.

Nuts are very beneficial because they have the good kinds of fat, they don’t have any cholesterol, and they have many other nutrients that we need every day such as magnesium, zinc and iron. The great thing about nuts is also the fact that they are healthy and can be used as a meat substitute in vegetarian diets. It is recommended that we eat 30 to 60 grams (1 to 2 ounces) of nuts per day.

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VahChef Sanjay Thumma

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