It might seem strange that how can a food item rich in fats be considered good for health. The fact is that studies and clinical trials suggest that consuming about 30-50 gms (a small handful) of nuts per day provides protection against heart disease & diabetes and may reduce the risk of obesity.
Nuts are a good source of protein and healthy fats.They also wonder which nut is the best to have? Let’s compare the nutrition for each type of nut and tell you which one is the healthiest, a good source of dietary fiber & provide a wide range of essential nutrients including B vitamins, Vitamin E, iron, zinc, potassium and antioxidants.
This delicately flavored nut is available throughout the year. Almonds have been an important part of our daily diet in most of Indian households especially as a growing child as it is believed to improve brain health. Studies support the fact too. Almonds contain two vital brain nutrients, riboflavin and L-carnitine which have been shown to increase brain activity and reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Almonds are nutritive for the overall health and functioning of our nervous system. Monounsaturated fats, potassium, protein and fiber present in almonds all make a perfect combination to ensure heart health. It helps in increasing the good cholesterol (HDL). Eating about 15-20 almonds on daily basis is an easy way to get a dose of many vital nutrients. A small handful of almonds (about 23 kernels) provide 163 Kcals, 14g fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium, 3.5g fiber & 6g protein.
These are packed with omega-3-fatty acids. Studies indicate that omega-3’s are anti-inflammatory and help people with rheumatoid arthritis. Studies also suggest that eating about 28 walnut halves provide daily dose of antioxidants and phytosterols which can help reduce risk of breast cancer. They provide protection against heart diseases and help in maintain blood vessel health. Eating walnuts have also been found to be helpful in dealing stress. A small handful of walnuts (about 28gms) provide 175Kcals, 17g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 1mg sodium, 1.9g fiber & 7g protein.
Pistachios are a rich source of Vitamin B6, copper and manganese which are important for a healthy body. They are one of the best sources of Vitamin E, important to fight free radicals and for good skin health. They are the only nut with substantial amounts of two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin which are helpful in reducing risk of age related blindness disorder in old people. Pistachios help in reducing Blood LDL cholesterol levels and hence support healthy heart health. A small handful of pistachios (about 28gms) provide 159Kcals, 13g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium, 2.9g fiber & 6g protein.Peanuts
They are a good source of protein which makes them an important part of vegetarian and bodybuilding diets. Peanuts have higher concentration of anti-oxidants than many fruits and roasting increases its anti-oxidant content by 22%. Peanuts are also a good source of folate and iron, which is important for expecting women. Studies show that adding even small amounts of peanut products can LDL cholesterol by 14%. A small handful of dry roasted peanuts (about 28gms) provide 166Kcals, 14g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 2mg sodium, 2.3g fiber & 7g protein.
75% of fat in cashews contains unsaturated fatty acids and most of it comprises of oleic acid, which is known to boost cardiovascular health. Overall cashews contain more than 80 nutrients comprising of essential minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. It is free from cholesterol. Magnesium found in cashew nuts can help promote healthy bone structure. However one should avoid salted and roasted forms as these can elevate blood pressure due to high sodium content. A small handful of cashews (about 28gms) provide 157Kcals, 12g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 3mg sodium, 0.9g fiber & 5g protein.
Tips for including more nuts in your day:
Sprinkle chopped nuts into your stir fry.
Sprinkle chopped nuts into your cereal.
Enjoy a slice of multi-grain bread with a thin spread of peanut butter as a snack.
Have a mix of raw nuts as a snack instead of other unhealthy options like chips or chocolates.
Add some nuts to a salad.
Most importantly, do not go overboard with the quantity. Stick to an ounce or about 30gms per day and reap the benefits of good health.