If you're nuts about health and looking and feeling your best, this is the article
for you Below we show you the benefits and why you should include them as part of your healthy daily
Nuts are a vital part of a balanced diet. They contain a potent combination of heart-healthy fats,
protein, vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytochemicals that can help combat heart disease, lower the risk of type 2
diabetes and keep your weight under control.
However, despite all of these benefits, many people have been scared away from nuts due to their high
fat content and energy density. While it's true that nuts are high in fat, the majority of the
fat is the healthy unsaturated type and only a handful of nuts a day are all you need to reap the
potential health benefits.
A little goes a long way with nuts. They are energy-dense and are packed with essential nutrients. Every nut
delivers a slightly different nutrient profile which is why nutrition experts recommend a wide
variety to ensure you get the different benefits each nut has to offer. Read below
If weight loss is your goal, you don't have to give up tasty nuts. While it's based around physical activity and
a balanced diet tailored based on caloric needs/expenditure, research suggests that including nuts as part of
an energy-controlled weight loss plan can help you slim down. Nuts are more filling than high energy processed
foods such as biscuits, cakes and pastries thanks to their high fibre and protein content.
The fats found in nuts also release satiety hormones in the gut, helping to control appetite and keep
you feeling fuller for longer. There is also some research to suggest that those who regularly consume
nuts excrete more fat in their stools - which means less to store! This is one of the reasons thought to explain
why moderate consumption of nuts isn't fattening.
TOP TIPS ON HOW TO INCLUDE NUTS IN YOUR DIET:
For a quick snack or a healthy pick-me-up, grab a handful (30g) of unsalted nuts instead of cakes, biscuits
Add a handful to a vegetable stir fry or salad
Sprinkle chopped nuts on top of low-fat yoghurt or oats for breakfast
Add ground nuts to smoothie's and soups - almond or hazelnut meal is best
Include a handful of mixed nuts on cheese platters
Add nuts to low-fat muffin, bread and fruit cake recipes. Walnuts and pecans taste great in baked
Add a quick handful to curries or casseroles - cashews work well
Use nut spreads instead of margarine or butter
Spice up your pasta dish and clock up some extra protein by adding a handful of pine nuts or cashews.
Eating nuts is not only good for your waistline, they can also help lower LDL or
bad cholesterol and maintain healthy blood vessels. LDL is considered the 'bad guy' as it contributes to
the build up of plaque inside the arteries which can cause them to narrow and can lead to heart disease.
Nuts are excellent sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which can help manage blood
cholesterol. They also contain vitamin E, antioxidant's, folate, arginine, and plant sterol's which can all
contribute to heart health.
Studies have shown that eating 30g (a handful) of nuts 4-5 days a week can significantly reduce the risk of
heart disease. To maximise your heart-health benefits, go for unsalted varieties where you can.
Checkout the short video below to
learn more about your favourite nuts and how they can benefit you.
Here's a rundown of the top 6 nuts, along with their nutritional profile. Look to make these a staple of
your daily eating plan to reap the benefits.
#1 ALMONDS: Loaded with protein, fibre and essential minerals calcium and magnesium. It's one
of the best nuts for lowering cholesterol thanks to it's high monounsaturated fat content (70% total fat).
#2 BRAZIL NUTS: Extremely nutrient rich and have the highest selenium content of all nuts.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant which may help prevent the onset of cancer and other diseases.
#3 CASHEWS: A rich source of vitamins, minerals and healthy
monounsaturated fats. They also contain a specific antioxidant that is particularly good for eye health.
#4 MACADAMIA NUTS: Very high in monounsaturated fats and have been shown in studies to help
lower cholesterol levels.
#5 PECANS: Jam-packed with over 19 vitamins and minerals. They're also an excellent source of
Omega-3 fats and studies have shown they can significantly lower blood cholesterol.
#6 WALNUTS: Largely considered the king of nuts, walnuts have the greatest source of
heart-healthy omega-3. They have also been found to contain many protective antioxidant's known to fight
GOOD FOR YOU FATS: Nuts are a fantastic source of heart-healthy fats - monounsaturated and
polyunsaturated - which help to regulate blood cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats actively help to decrease LDL
(bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol in the blood. The top picks for nuts high in monounsaturated
fats include macadamia's, cashews, almonds, pistachios, and pecans.
Omega-3 fats are an important type of polyunsaturated fat as they help to reduce the
risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, guard against arterial plaque build up and aid in brain
development. Nuts high in polyunsaturated fats include walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts and Brazil nuts.
Out of all nuts, walnuts take the prize for the highest amount of omega-3 fats. On the flip side, coconut and
palm nuts both contain high levels of saturated fats which can increase blood cholesterol levels, limit your
consumption and eat these in moderation.
LEAN-MACHINE PROTEIN: Nuts are loaded with protein and also provide iron
and zinc, three. To put it in perspective, 1/2 cup of nuts or 1/4 cup of seeds or two tablespoons of nut
and seed spreads like peanut butter or tahini are equivalent to one serving of meat (65-100g cooked meat). One
important amino acid provided by high protein foods is arginine.
Arginine is important for the healing and repair of damaged tissue and helps keep blood vessels
healthy. Good nut sources of this all-important amino acid include almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pistachio
and walnuts. The guidelines recommend one to two servings from this food group per day.
BELLY-FILLING FIBRE: Dietary fibre is not only essential for digestive health and keeping
you regular, it can help lower blood cholesterol and keep the hunger pangs at bay. All varieties contribute
fibre to your diet with almonds, chestnuts and pistachio nuts coming up trumps with the