Nuts are among the most healthy foods out there. Not only are they rich in antioxidants, proteins, fibre, vitamins, minerals, and unsaturated fats, but they also aid in weight loss, lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, and help prevent cancer.
Nuts are fruits that are composed of seeds and non-edible shells. In nature, nuts are categorized into two types, botanical or culinary, based on whether or not they have an outer shell. Botanical nuts are nuts that have seeds and outer shells around them that harden as the nuts mature. Their seeds are not attached to their outer shells. An example of a botanical nut would be a chestnut. Culinary nuts are nuts that have lost their shells naturally early on in their lives, such as almonds.
Nuts have many nutritional benefits. Depending on the type of nuts and the person eating them, some of the nuts are healthy, and some are not. Almonds are rich in magnesium, calcium, and contain essential oils that our body needs. They contain the highest fibre and vitamin E levels compared to the other nuts. Walnuts contain the highest antioxidants, and the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for fighting inflammation, and they are rich in magnesium. Hazelnuts are rich in omega-9 and fibre. They are good for both constipation and cholesterol. Pistachios are rich in iron—they are good for anemia, fatigue, and menopause. Some nuts are problematic to individuals, like peanuts, for their allergy causing properties.
There is a common misconception regarding nuts. Upon hearing that nuts contain a lot of fats, some people tend to avoid them to lose weight or to maintain the weight they have. This idea is somewhat wrong because the fats that are in the nuts are healthy and unsaturated fats. These fats reduce cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. However, the saturated fats that are commonly found in animal meats increase cholesterol levels and the risk of getting heart diseases. With that being said, depending on the types of nuts and the quantity eaten, one could gain or lose weight. 12 cashews contain the same number of calories as 22 almonds.
Brazil nuts are the richest nuts in selenium. Selenium improves metabolism, immunity, reproductive health, and helps the body absorb vitamin E. Studies have found that unsaturated fats reduce abdominal fat, while saturated ones create the fats around the stomach. Walnuts are one of the best nuts to eat to shed off abdominal fat.
A study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition has found that eating almonds before going to the gym can make you lose more weight during workouts. It has also been found that almonds keep us full for longer periods of times.
In a controlled experiment done by the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, researchers found that when pistachios were added to the diet of one group as a snack for four weeks, the group showed significant weight loss and cholesterol reduction in comparison with the group that didn’t eat pistachios. There are much more similar studies and experiments that have proven the importance of nuts for weight loss.
Not only do nuts taste good, they are also proven to be better for your overall health.
They serve as a great snack to keep you feeling full, while also gaining important nutrients.