Nuts are one of the most versatile and universally loved foods.
Adding nuts to your diet can do wonders for your health, be it a crunchy filling, a snack, as a nut butter, a crumbly salad topper or even just a healthy garnish.
Nuts come in various textures, flavours, varieties. Their health benefits are huge — they reduce your risk of heart disease, support your immune system, keep your weight in check and remarkably improve your protein, healthy fats and fibre intake. Even though we have been brought up with the almond (badam) fixation and almonds do get all the love, its important to know there are some super nutritious and healthy nuts out there that aren’t just almonds.
There are over 50 plus types of nuts around the world, most of which are edible and beneficial. Here are a few general health benefits that most nuts provide-
- They give you an energy boost.
- They’re packed with vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.
- They support gut health and boost your immunity.
Every nut has its own benefits.
Read on to know what each specific nut can contribute to your health if added to your diet —
The hype surrounding almonds is worth it. This nut boasts an array of health benefits. A great source of fibre and protein, reduces inflammation, lowers bad cholesterol levels, helps you manage your weight and is full of calcium, vitamin E and antioxidants. Almonds also support gut health, promote fertility and are fabulous for your skin. Almonds are popular because of their flavour, versatility and low price point. You can eat almonds raw, roasted, with the skin, without the skin, as almond butter or almond milk, almond flour is a commonly used flour substitute and almonds are used to enhance the flavour of sweet and savoury dishes.
Technically not a nut, peanuts are part of the legume family even though they have a similar nutrient profile to tree nuts. Peanuts are a good source of plant protein, full of minerals and vitamins like magnesium, vitamin B, folate and phosphorus. One ounce (28.35 grams) of peanuts contains 162 calories. Popular for its stress reducing power, peanuts are very beneficial for heart health and controlling blood sugar levels. Peanuts can be eaten raw, cooked, roasted, on its own or even as a garnish in foods and salads. Peanut butter is a delicious snack but make sure it doesn’t have additives if you want to reap its benefits. Peanut yogurt is an increasingly popular vegan yogurt alternative.
Pistachios literally means “the green nut”. This technicoloured nut is packed with nutrients and lower in calories than many other nuts. Pistachios are a good source of vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin B6 and flavonoids. Pistachios are great for your metabolism, immunity, controlling your blood pressure and reducing inflammation in the body. Pistachios are an extremely popular ingredient when it comes to desserts.
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…. Chestnuts do a lot more than keep you warm and toasty on a cold winter’s night. Low in fat and calories, versatile, rich in fibre, vitamin C and a good source of protective antioxidants, chestnuts are very good for your health. Chestnuts can be eaten plain or ground to make a gluten-free flour for baking.
These buttery nuts are supremely healthy for you. Macadamia are high in healthy fats and lower in carbohydrates than most nuts. Macadamia nuts reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, triglycerides and blood sugar levels. Versatile and flavourful, these nuts can be used in savoury and sweet recipes.
Cashews have a crunchy and creamy texture. They work well in sweet and savoury dishes or even on its own as a snack. These nuts are a good source of nutrients like vitamin K, magnesium, manganese and protein. Cashews are good for your bone health, metabolism, blood pressure and blood sugar. Cashews also help reduce belly fat. The creamy texture of cashews also make them a great dairy replacement and is often used to make vegan cheese, nut butter or cashew milk. Salted, ground cashews are a fabulous Parmesan substitute.
Like other nuts, pecans are rich in healthy fats, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. They’re a good source of magnesium and zinc, which boosts your immunity, Helas wounds, synthesises your DNA and aids in heart health. Pecans are also rich in antioxidants which helps prevent plaque formation in your arteries. Pecans are mild nuts that are popular for cakes, pies, salads, and grain dishes.
It’s ironic that walnuts look like a brain because these nuts are terrific for your brain health.
Walnuts are linked to multiple health benefits and have an impressive nutrient profile of copper, manganese and high content of the short chain omega-3 essential fatty acid, alpha lipoic acid (ALA). Walnuts benefit your nervous system, boost your immunity, improve your heart health, enhance your blood vessel development and most importantly, your brain health. Walnuts are a little higher in calories and fat than other nuts, but these are ‘good-for-you’ fats.
One of the biggest nuts, Brazil nuts are a rich source of many minerals and nutrients, like selenium, vitamin E and magnesium. They are good for blood sugar and blood pressure regulation, improving nerve function and energy production. Selenium helps in critical functions like thyroid hormone production, wound healing and DNA synthesis. However, you should keep your intake to just a few nuts a day to avoid selenium concentration.
Botanically, pine nuts are actually a seed and not a nut. These little nuts are rich in vitamin E, K, iron and magnesium. Tiny but mighty, pine nuts help support healthy skin and protect it against ageing. Pine nuts are rich in polyphenol content which helps prevent some complications associated with diabetes. The iron content in pine nuts benefits vegetarians when it comes to oxygen transportation throughout the body. These little nuts are a key ingredient in pesto and make a nutritious addition to salads, pasta, meat coatings or dips for a healthy and delicious crunch.
Hazelnuts are highly nutritious, loaded with healthy fats, vitamins, protein and fibre. Hazelnuts have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Regularly eating hazelnuts can help you reduce bad cholesterol and inflammation in your body, reduce certain heart disease risk factors and manage blood lipids. You can enjoy hazelnuts as a snack, added to a salad, pasta or desserts. Hazelnuts are a popular nut butter choice as well. Be sure to keep the skin on as it contains the highest concentration of antioxidants.
In a nutshell —
Nuts are a great source of nutrients and an easy addition to your diet.
You can enjoy them on their own or as part of a healthy dish.
If you’re opting for the latter be sure to read the ingredients and avoid products with additives like sugar and preservatives.
Nuts are great for you.
P.S. Be sure to check for nut allergy