Awe Nuts – Just the Healthy Ones! Part One

    Healthy Nuts: The Best Ones

Which are best healthy nuts available in the market? The perfect answer is not available currently.

From one study, around 32% of nuts consumed were peanuts, 16% walnuts, 29% almonds and 23% are other types. But researchers could not judge whether these nuts were oil-roasted, dry-roasted or fresh.

From another study, peanuts, technically known as ‘legumes’, help to reduce heart disease risks’ as of tree nuts. Experiments were done by giving nuts to volunteers in daily diet for a couple of weeks.

Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts and pistachio nuts all affect blood composition in different ways which lower coronary disease risks. Chestnuts, having low fat, are still not studied properly.

The advice is to eat different varieties of nuts. Walnuts may be beneficial as they include n-3 fatty acids. Coconuts should be avoided as they contain highly saturated fats.

Still, why are nuts being called health-promoting food? Nuts possess unsaturated fats at high levels and saturated fats at low levels. As compared to other fatty acids, nuts lower the level of blood cholesterol, to reduce risk of heart troubles. That’s a good thing.

Though nuts are good means of getting vitamin E, fiber, copper, folic acid, amino acid, arginine as well as magnesium, still they help to prevent heart disease. Nuts are thus good diet means of boron, manganese, and include plant sterols.

In New Zealand, nuts are eaten less often or in the form of peanut butter. They are often incorporated into food products. Various recipes include nuts into cakes, soups, home-baked bread, sauces, main dishes, salads, stuffing and desserts.

For example, baklava, pesto and Waldorf salad are well-known and contain nut variants. On the Internet, many recipes are available using nuts, say RecipeSource and Epicurious.

In New Zealand and Australia, a food company called Sanutarium manufactures Nutmeat and Nutolene, which are peanut-based meat substitutes. Here in the U.S., natural peanut butters and omega-3 peanut butters are on the market for those watching their weight.

Nut butters of peanut, cashew, almond and hazelnut are very tasty. Commercial peanut butters contain additional saturated fats to make it healthier. Unfortunately, salt is added which can be detrimental to those with high blood pressure. These butters can be made easily at home by first roasting, grinding and then blending the nuts.

Nuts are a main component of the Healthy Eating Pyramid. Peanut butter is helpful in weight-loss, although should be eaten in moderation. A new product, Smart Balance, has a low fat, non-hydrogenated version of peanut butter. I use it and think it tastes wonderful, plus no refrigeration is needed and it does not separate like many natural peanut butters do. Almonds were a main part of ‘Portfolio’ diet which lowered cholesterol as drug Lovastatin.

Through American and British surveys, it’s found that among hundreds of people one or two may be allergic. This problem reared its ugly head in many school where peanut butter is sometimes banned because of the potential allergic reaction that children can have, even from the smell.

Both adults and children can be affected by symptoms such as hoarseness in throat, skin rashes, swollen skin, tightened airways and, in rare cases, death. But for most of the population, nuts prove to be health-promoting food.

Healthy Nuts: Walnuts

You may wonder seeing the title, “Healthy Walnuts”. But yes, it’s true. By including a small handful of walnuts in routine diet, you will realize their benefits.
Walnuts contain plant protein, folacin, dietary fiber, magnesium, iron, thiamine, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium and zinc, which are beneficial for health.

They have Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA), which is fatty acid (omega-3) and reduces risk of heart troubles, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and depression. Omega-3s are necessary for functioning of nervous system and healthy brain.

Thus, to achieve good health, walnuts are super food that needs to be taken in our daily diet. So, we should go crazy for walnuts.

Mainly, walnuts contain fatty acids. They contain generous amounts of mono and polyunsaturated fats. Essential Fatty Acids such as linoleic and alpha-linoleic acid are necessary for our body and are needed daily.

These are helpful for 3 purposes:

1. Manufacturing of some hormones

2. Part of cell’s membrane

3. Regulation of cholesterol.

Alpha-linolenic acid, which is an Omega-3 fatty acid, contains anti-inflammatory action. Thus, walnut is very much useful in rheumatoid arthritis treatment and itchy skin conditions. Symptoms like dry skin, shows deficiency of fatty acid.

Unsaturated fats, become helpful to lower down blood cholesterol and reduce risk of heart disease, with increase in HDL and lowering down LDL.

Walnut also contains good amount of proteins and calories. In 100 g, walnuts contain 1523 gm of protein.

People with small appetites, sometimes undernourished, find that incorporating walnuts in their daily diet, helps maintain the amount of calories needed per day.

Caution: The walnuts that have bitter taste should not be eaten.

Ways to eat walnuts:

o Eat delicious fresh shelled walnuts.

o When toasted or roasted, they are taken as healthy snacks.

o When raw, you can add them to salads

o When cooked, enjoy them in putting pasta or rice pilaf or on stuffing.

o When chopped, can be added to peat or apple.

o They can also be used in preparing cakes, cookies, muffins and breads

Walnut oil is very much beneficial in salads, but when heated its reaction is not proper.

Walnuts can be chopped by:

1. Hand

2. Blender

3. Food processor

Chop them only when ready to use as they can get rancid quickly.

Ways to roast walnuts

1. Spread them on baking sheet.

2. Put them in the oven at 300 degrees for 20 minutes or more till the color turns light brown.

3. Put them in little oil to toast.

4. Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar over them for a sweet treat. Freeze them in freezer bags for a treat at a later date.

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