Nuts have exceptional nutritional value and health benefits
Consumed in moderation, they can be an excellent snack option.
Almonds contain generous amounts of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, tryptophan, copper, vitamins B1, 2, 3 and 6, and phosphorus. An ounce of almonds (about 28 g) contains as much calcium as a quarter cup of milk, 6 mg more magnesium than half a cup of spinach, and the same amount of fibre as an apple!
These nutrients work together to lower your cholesterol levels, reduce your risk of heart disease, strokes and gallstones, and regulate your heart function and blood pressure.
About 75% of the cashew nut’s unsaturated fatty acid content is oleic acid, which can improve cardiovascular health by reducing triglyceride levels. Cashew nuts are also a good source of minerals, especially copper, as well as manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.
Copper helps your body get rid of free radicals, develop bone and connective tissue, and produce melanin, the pigmentation for skin and hair. The other minerals in cashew nuts also help to regulate cellular functions, form strong bones and teeth, lower blood pressure, as well as reduce your chances of getting heart attacks and strokes.
Hazelnuts are high in manganese that helps to maintain our body’s cognitive, motor and sensory functions and enzymatic reactions. This mineral contributes to our body’s bone strength and promotes normal blood sugar levels.
This nut also contains vitamins E and B, folate and arginine. One ounce of hazelnuts contains 20% of the daily value for the antioxidant vitamin E, protecting your body from free radical damage. Folate helps to reduce the risk of neural tube birth defects. The amino acid arginine aids blood circulation and wound healinghealing.
Macadamias are high-calorie nuts, packed with energy but containing no cholesterol. They are high in unsaturated oils that help to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. This is because they are high in monounsaturated fatty acids known as oleic acid (also found in olive and canola oil) and palmitoleic acid.
Macadamias are also especially rich in thiamine and phytosterols. They also contain other minerals that play a part in regulating the nervous system, bone and teeth formation, and muscle contraction.
Pistachios are bursting with over 30 different vitamins, protein building blocks, minerals and phytonutrients. They also contain significant amounts of carotenoids (called lutein and zeaxanthin) that can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration of the eyes. Pistachios are, also, storehouses for copper (aiding in tissue development), manganese (for bone formation and metabolism) and potassium (for cellular function). In addition, this nut is high in vitamin B6, which helps brain function, the immune system and red blood cell formation.
Walnuts are rich in vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and in folate. These vitamins help in maintaining your metabolism rate and producing energy. Walnuts are also rich in copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and iron that maintain the body’s nerve and thyroid functions, bone and tissue growth, and aid in blood clotting and sugar regulation. Omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts help to lower bad cholesterol levels, blood pressure and protect against stroke.
What about peanuts?
Did you know that peanuts are not nuts but legumes? (Besides peanuts, other members of the legume family include peas, chickpeas and lentils.) Peanuts are good for your heart, being high in monounsaturated fats and resveratrol (believed to reduce the risk of heart disease). Peanuts are also sources of vitamin E, niacin, folate, protein and manganese.