Is anyone else confused about nuts? We all know that nuts make a quick and easy snack, but they are also high in fat and calories. So are nuts good for you, and should you be eating them? Everything you need to know is right here.
Are nuts good for you?
Nuts are chock full of good stuff like healthy fats, omega 3s, fibre, antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals. They also have a low glycemic index (GI) so will keep you fuller for longer. And if you are a vegeterian, listen up. Nuts contain about 10 – 20% protein, about the same as an egg. How cool is that?
So what do the experts say?
Experts agree that a healthy serving of nuts is good for your health. A recent 30 year Harvard University study has shown that people who eat nuts live longer and healthier lives, with a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease. Whoa, pass me the pecans!
Want to read more about the Harvard study? You can do that here.
Then why do people say no to nuts?
Nuts are high in fat, so for a long time the consensus was that nuts made you fat. But it’s not that simple. The Sydney Morning Herald has reported on a study that shows regular nut eaters don’t gain weight. How does that work? Well it could be a couple of things. Firstly, nuts are filling, so people who eat nuts may eat less of other things that cause the bulge. Secondly, it is thought that your body may not absorb all the fat in nuts, so the calorie contribution they are make is not as high as the nutrition label on the pack would have you believe.
Plus the type of fat in nuts is okay. Nuts are high in mono and polyunsaturated (or good fats) and low in unhealthy saturated fats. Good fats found in things like nuts, avocado and oily fish can actually reduce your cholesterol, lower your risk of heat disease and be beneficial for blood sugar levels.
So should I be eating nuts?
Yep, go nuts! The Dieticians Association of Australia recommend a handful, or about 30 grams a day.
What types of nuts are best?
All nuts are great, but since they all have their own unique nutritional profile, the health benefit of each nut can be different. I’ve put together this handy infographic to help you find your perfect nut.
Any other tips?
Make sure you are eating raw and unprocessed nuts. Salted, roasted or flavoured nuts, could be undoing your all good work by adding extra bad fats, sodium and other nasties to your diet.
If you like the sound of some flavor, you could always roast them adding your own secret herbs and spices.
Do I need to activate my nuts?
Paleo Pete and the gang, love an activated nut, and it’s not as kooky as it sounds. An activated nut is simply a nut that has been soaked in water and salt then dehydrated at a low temperature. So why activate perfectly good nuts? Well nuts contain natural enzymes and phytic acid which can make them hard to digest and may mean you can’t absorb all their goodness. Activating nuts removes the enzymes and phytic acid making nuts easier to digest.
Personally I’m in the ‘aint nobody got time for that’ camp, when it comes to activating nuts. If you are eating a well balanced diet, you will catch up on any nutrients that you have missed from other food in your diet. If on the other hand, you have trouble digesting nuts (yep some people struggle with nut bloat) then activtating your nuts may be the answer.
Want to know more? Check out this quick and easy guide to activating nuts on the Move Nourish Believe website.
How can I get my nut on?
Grab a handful as a snack, but if you want to get more creative here’s some great ideas:
- Sprinkle some over a salad or stir fry, kung pow chicken anyone?
- Spread some nut butter on your toast, or a cracker as a snack. Just make sure your nut butter is made from 100% nuts to get the best nutritional bang for your nut buck.
- Make granola using nuts and seeds. I love this recipe for coco-nutty granola on the I Quit Sugar website. Add some cacoa and it tastes like chocolate crackles.
- Bake with nut flour, like almond meal. If you are keen to give it a go, check out my healthy shortbread recipe. You guessed it, it’s delicious.
Do you eat nuts? What type of nuts are your favourite?