In the world of health and fitness, we love nuts. Of course, I’m not talking about the kind that the dirty-minded think of immediately. Nuts have always been fantastic as snacks, even though, as with everything, it should be eaten in moderation since some types do have a fair amount of fat content. Despite that, we will be exploring a few varieties of nuts today.
You probably were expecting a common nut to start off this list. Surprise, it isn’t! Brazil nuts contain the mineral Selenium, which is required to stimulate hormone production in the thyroid. Alright, maybe “required” is an exaggeration, but it definitely helps. Apart from benefiting those with low thyroid function, Brazil nuts also helps with immune function.
One of the common criticisms about nuts is that some types have high level of the amino acid homocysteine, which is associated with certain health conditions. Fortunately, hazelnuts do not contain much of that, so there we go. Apart from that, hazelnuts also contain a lot of folate, which is able to regulate homocysteine. One way to have them is to combine them with Chinese noodles and tofu, or meat if you prefer.
This one is the supreme leader of the list, even though we hardly consider it a nut. Chestnuts have a really low fat percentage and are therefore also low in calories. They also contain a lot of Vitamins B and C, starch and fibre. Of course, nothing comes without a catch. If you want a type of nut that is high in proteins, you’re better off looking elsewhere. If not, then stock up on these.
Almonds are known in the healthy eating community for being a good source of calcium and Vitamin E. Furthermore, they are also known to benefit heart health with their high flavonoid content. The best thing about it, however, is that it can be readily combined with fruits, minced meat, honey or yoghurt for a wonderful snack!
Living in Australia, I can’t help but love the taste of Macadamia nuts. A word of caution though – despite its taste, it does have one of the highest fat contents among nuts. It’s redeeming grace, as you might suspect, is its contribution of minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. It is also chock full of fibre. And if your cheat day is coming up, use them in your cookie recipe.
If you are of Asian descent or live with many east Asian people, you’d be all too familiar with this one. Cashew nuts are good as a snack, and also works well as part of Asian cuisine, most notably with broccoli and lemon chicken. They are also high in iron, magnesium, zinc and protein. Be wary not to salt them too much though; I notice a lot of Asian people doing that.
Like many other nuts, pecans have a good reputation when it comes to increasing heart health. These varieties are known to be rich in oleic acid as well as plant sterols. So the ironic thing about it is that although it has sterols, it can help you lower cholesterol levels. Neat eh?
Walnuts are known for their high antioxidant content as well as having healthy fats. Unfortunately, compared to other nuts, they do taste kind of bland. However, don’t overlook the value of indulging in walnuts, especially when you are making leafy salads with pumpkin.
These are better known as bar snacks in some parts of the world. The one special feature of pistachios is its high Vitamin B6 content, which is important for maintaining hormone levels. Women with period problems can certainly benefit from more of these. Pistachios also contain several unique antioxidants that are good for our eyes.
I have only mentioned a few types of nuts in this article. There are many more for you to explore. I bet you thought that most nuts are the same – until you read today’s post, right? To be honest, I also thought that way until I started doing my research on them. You can choose to tailor your selection of nuts based on specific health benefits.
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Mark is an all-rounded guy with dreams, aspirations, and a desire to be a better version of himself. Having conquered obesity, he set-up Granite Fitness to help regular people get in shape and stay healthy. Mark spends his days helping distressed Uni students through difficult situations. He holds three science degrees and a Diploma of Christian counselling. In his spare time, Mark does freelancing and runs a series of online operations with his business partner Atanas. Connect with Mark @ http://au.linkedin.com/in/marksptan