Many of us enjoy all kinds of nuts. Some argue about the calories contact, and yes they can be high. But a handful of nuts a day can be very beneficial for your overall health.
Nuts are rich in heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, which lower the LDL (or "bad") cholesterol, plus they are a good source of phytosterois, compounds that help lower blood cholesterol
Recent research shows eating a handful of walnuts a day can help keep the elderly brain healthy. Walnuts contain high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols, which counteract oxidative stress and inflammation - the things that increase brain function. The combination of healthy fats, protein, and fibre in walnuts helps to increase satisfaction and fullness.
If you suffer from Diabetes or high blood sugar levels, adding almonds to your diet, say experts. The nuts can lower the rise of blood sugar that happens after you eat a meal as much as 30 per cent in those with Diabetes.
A bad sleeper? Almonds can also help you sleep better thanks to high levels of Magnesium.
Almonds are among the world's best sources of Vitamin E.
Now, we don't mean when they are wrapped up in chocolates like Ferrero Rocher or Quality Street, and they do have other uses than making Nutella. Hazelnuts are highly anti-inflammatory with one study finding that a diet rich in this nut variety reduced total cholesterol thanks to high levels of unsaturated fats.
Because they are rich in unsaturated fats (mostly oleic acid), high in Magnesium, Calcium, and Vitamins B and E, hazelnuts are good for your heart, help reduce the risk of some cancers, and aid in muscle, skin, bone, joint and digestive health.
This is actually one of my favourite flavours of ice-cream, but I am guessing that is not really what they mean. However, Pistachios are a great source of healthy fats, fibre, protein, antioxidants, and various nutrients, including Vitamin B6 and Thiamine. Thanks to all this, they can help to lower cholesterol and blood sugar, as well as boost eye and blood vessel health.
These are ideal for Thyroid function. They are a terrific source of the mineral Selenium, which we need in order to produce the thyroid hormone. High levels of Selenium in the nut also help to support immunity and helps wounds to heal quicker.
One of the world's favourite nuts, used in chocolate bars, cakes, or even just as a bar snack. And it can be good for you. Studies found that women who ate Peanut Butter more than five times a week had lower rates of Type 2 Diabetes. Alongside this, Asthma and allergic disease rates have been found to be lower in children of mothers who ate peanuts once or more per week during pregnancy.
When I went on a residential bootcamp a few years ago, they would use Peanut Butter as a snack during the morning with Pitta bread. But do choose the ones with very high (98-99%) peanut content. I know they are more expensive, but have less oil.
We picked 6 varieties, but we could have added many more. A portion of nuts is usually a handful. Don't go munching your way through a whole packet. Try to avoid flavoured or salted nuts. Go for the plain, natural nuts to keep it healthy. I sometimes make bread, and put nuts into that mix.
Why not try out some you maybe don't normally have. Create a mix that you can have a handful a day. Food/snacks are there to be enjoyed, within reason.