London: Nuts are nutritional foods that are proof that all healthy things come in small packages. These nutritional foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and heart-healthy fats. But, going nuts with nuts is not the right thing to do either because these snacks are also high in calories. Consuming them in small amounts is the best way to keep your health intact and not go over the top.
Many nuts also contain useful amounts of natural plant sterols which interfere with cholesterol absorption, which play a role in lowering blood cholesterol. Peanuts and pistachios are particularly high in plant sterols. Compiled from Health Magazine, here are five major health benefits of incorporating an optimum amount of nuts into your daily diet.
Health Benefits of Nuts
Cashews make bones stronger:
You can get nearly 10% of your daily value of iron in a single serving of cashew nuts. They provide a sufficient amount of folic acid and Vitamin K which helps keep bones strong and the rate of blood clotting normal. Inculcating this iron-rich food in your pre-workout meal will help your arms and legs feel active and strong at the gym. Avoid cashew nuts that are roasted in oil.
>> Serving Size: 18 nuts
>> Calories: 163
Walnuts keep your heart healthy:
While all nuts contain heart-healthy omega-3 fats, walnuts have high amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Researchers have suggested that ALA may help heart arrhythmias and that walnuts were as effective as olive oil at reducing inflammation and oxidation in the arteries after eating a fatty meal.
They are also a good source of protein, fiber, and magnesium, elements required for the healthy functioning of your heart.
>> Serving Size: 14 halves
>> Calories: 185
Peanuts are brain-boosting foods:
Although the size of a pea, these small nuts do wonders for your brain. They are essential for brain development because they contain high levels of folic acid which protects the body against cognitive decline. Peanuts are full of brain-boosting healthy fats and vitamin E, as well. An ounce of peanuts contains about 170 calories, 7 grams of protein, and 14 grams of fat.
>> Serving Size: 28 peanuts
>> Calories: 170
Pistachios help in healthy vision and skin:
These green gems have fewer calories when compared to other nuts and are also rich in lutein. Lutein is an antioxidant that is also found in leafy greens and aids in healthy vision and clear skin. Also, did you know that one serving of pistachios serves as much potassium as a small banana?
>> Serving Size: 49 nuts
>> Calories: 162
Almonds help in disease prevention:
Relatively low in calories, almonds contain more calcium than any other form of dry fruit, making them a great food for overall wellbeing. They help in lowering cholesterol and are thus often recommended by dieticians. These nuts are rich in fiber and vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps fight inflammation and age-related cognitive decline. Since raw almonds, toasted almonds, and coated almonds in a variety of flavors are all readily available in the market, these nuts have become the hot favorites.
Serving Size: 23 nuts
May aid weight management:
Nuts contain a number of nutrients and phytochemicals that we find difficult to digest, and this results in us being unable to absorb approximately 5 -15% of the calories in nuts. This explains why consuming a modest amount, such as a small handful of nuts, is inversely associated with body mass index (BMI).
This was illustrated by research which found that consuming nuts, in this case, 55g of almonds, as part of a healthy diet had a limited risk of weight gain. A study from 2013 also concluded that almonds, when consumed as a snack, help to reduce hunger.
Are nuts safe for everyone?
Although a beneficial food for many, tree nuts are one of the eight most common food allergens and as a result can cause allergic reactions, including severe anaphylaxis. Cross-contamination is a particular concern for those with a nut allergy and requires extra caution when eating away from home. Whole nuts may pose a choking risk, especially for the under-fives.