Eating nuts has always been a bit of a health controversy. While for some people they’re a perfect addition to their diet, others consider them to be calorie bombs that could cause weight gain.
Large portions of nuts have a considerable fat content which, indeed, could lead to weight gain. However, if eaten in moderation, nuts can benefit the body with their essential nutrients.
These days, nuts are recommended as a healthy snack for calming cravings that often sabotage a diet. In addition, nuts are also linked to other benefits that make them worth adding into your meal plan.
What makes them so healthy? Why do we consider them to be so nutritious? In today’s article, we’d like to share some of the benefits of eating nuts as well as the most recommended varieties.
The Nutritional Properties of Nuts
Nuts are high-caloric foods. However, they’re also a great source of nutrition that could benefit both your physical and mental health.
When you eat nuts, make sure they’re not salted, fried or baked. Eating nuts in their raw state is what gives them their nutritional value, meaning that you can reap their health benefits.
For the most part, nuts are sources of:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
- Dietetic fiber
- Vitamins A, B and E
- Minerals (potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron)
- Vegetable sterols
What does a healthy portion of nuts look like?
A nut is 80% fat. Even though most of the fat is considered to be “healthy”, it’s still a major source of calories.
Thus, even though this food group is labeled as healthy, you should eat them in moderation. Portions shouldn’t exceed a small handful (1.5 ounces).
You should eat them as a substitute for foods high in saturated fats. Nuts contain polyunsaturated fats, so they’re great for helping the body eliminate harmful lipids such as bad cholesterol (LDL).
Nuts that You Should Add to Your Diet
The type of nuts that you choose to eat doesn’t actually matter. Most of them contain high-quality nutrients that equal great health benefits.
Almonds contain starch, sugar and a high amount of fatty acids.
They’re regarded as one of the best types of nuts because they help control cholesterol and keep your cardiovascular system healthy.
2. Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts are wonderful because of their antioxidant minerals, fiber and amino acids.
While it’s true that you should only eat them in small portions, they can be beneficial for diets and block the negative effects of free radicals.
Thanks to their folic acid content, hazelnuts are a great food for pregnant women. They help prevent heart disease and their fiber content helps you stay fuller for longer.
Peanuts actually come from the legume family, but people link them to nuts.
They provide folic acid, high-quality proteins and isoflavones. Peanuts are wonderful for cardiac health and preventing anemia.
5. Macadamia nuts
These nuts have become popular as a “heart-healthy” nut.
Their essential nutrients help the heart function as it should. Macadamia nuts also help the body control cholesterol levels.
Pistachios are great for calming hunger pains in between meal times.
They contain antioxidants and healthy fats that reduce the risk of chronic or degenerative diseases.
Almost half of their nutritional composition consists in carbohydrates.
Their fat composition is similar to those of grains and, as a result, are quite different from other kinds of nuts. They’re recommendable for weight-loss diets because they have few calories and are very filling.
Recommendations for Eating Nuts
You can include various kinds of nuts in your daily meal plan. However, knowing how to control portions is crucial to keep them as a healthy part of your diet.
- The best way to eat them is raw, without any added chemicals or salt.
- You can choose to eat them as nut butters, although these are less recommendable. They provide the same nutrients, but their caloric value is higher.
- Nut flours or nut milks area popular way to add them to your diet. However, because they’re combined with other ingredients, they often have more calories and their properties may slightly differ.
Still missing out on nuts in your diet? Choose your favorite variety and benefit from their properties.