Nuts can be soooo expensive. 😆
And because they are higher in calories and fat than most other plant foods, in the past we were told to avoid them if we wanted to lose weight.
Plus some well-known gurus used to say that if you had heart problems, high cholesterol, or triglycerides, they were a no-no.
But now we know better.
Thank goodness for nutrition science.
As time goes on we find out about many more benefits or the potential harm that foods can cause.
Like in the past, we were told Agave Syrup was good for us.
Now we know they did not have the full story and it’s actually as bad as any other fructose syrup.
Who would have thought?
But I digress.
Quickly back to nuts.
If you are allergic to them, this article isn’t for you. One day I’ll write you one about seeds. I promise.
So, what’s the real deal with nuts?
Strange fact: many bloggers don’t appear to look up any info on this and keep writing that they’re a great source of protein.
If you were to compare 100g nonvegan protein with 100g nuts we’d get 25-32g of non-vegan protein vs 12-14g in the nuts. 🙄
But who on earth would eat that many??? They’d have 610 calories on average, going up to 750 calories for macadamias.
So please stick to eating a small handful which is around 1 ounce. Perfectly acceptable.
However, we end up with around 5-7g protein, and some of it we can’t even absorb. More on that later.
And what are the benefits of including these yummy little crunchy things into our eating plans?
👉🏼 My suggestion is to include some raw nuts into your daily food intake for their healthy fat content.
When added to our meals and protein smoothies, they can slow gastric emptying. This helps hunger control and reduces blood sugar and insulin spikes.
They are shown to be beneficial for heart health. Several studies suggest that nuts can lower cholesterol, triglycerides, heart disease, and strokes.
(Now people can stop recommending olive oil and start recommending walnuts for heart health)
May lower inflammation
The well-respected website called Healthline mentioned, “Research suggests that nuts may reduce inflammation, especially in people with diabetes, kidney disease, and other serious health conditions”.
Nuts can help people who have type 2 diabetes or Metabolic Syndrome
Nuts can assist to lower oxidative stress, blood pressure, and other health markers. Especially in people with diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
And during a 12-week controlled study, people with metabolic syndrome were able to reduce their fasting blood sugar. They ate just under 25 grams of pistachios twice a day and this resulted in an average 9% decrease in their fasting blood sugar.
The Mystery of the missing Calories
It appears that we aren’t able to absorb all the calories from whole nuts.
When you eat whole nuts, your teeth can’t break them down into small enough pieces for full digestion and therefore not all of the nutrients and calories can be metabolized.
For instance, we are told that we can only absorb around 75-85% of the calories in whole almonds.
Dr Greger from nutritionfacts.org has an interesting series of videos and articles. It summarises up to 20 studies that show us how by adding extra calories via nuts, people did not gain the expected weight, and some even lost weight.
Mind you, in my experience, it’s still important not to eat them by the bucket load.
So we better stick to our budget of a small handful of 1 ounce per day.
If you like almonds or peanuts, one excellent calorie saving can be found by using defatted nut powders. They contain 85-90% fewer calories and taste fabulous on your cereal or in your protein smoothies. But please read the labels. Many contain sugar.
To roast or not to roast?
I so love the taste of roasted nuts, don’t you? [But without added oil or salt]
However, I wonder if they are actually good for me?
Each healthy food can have some drawbacks. And with nuts, we are looking at the lectin and phytic acid content.
Consuming too much of those antinutrients can hinder our mineral absorption and can cause digestive upset for some of us.
But how about roasting them?
We know that heat can destroy most of those antinutrients.
So why don’t we just stick them in a pan to toast them?
Well yes, this can improve digestion and reduce the antinutrients.
But here’s the thing: Roasting nuts will also reduce B vitamins, Vit E, and carotenoids.
PLUS roasting can damage the healthy polyunsaturated fat molecules.
So we are back to sometimes eating raw nuts…and for a treat, sometimes have some lightly roasted ones.
Best of both worlds.😍
Do you include nuts in your daily food?
If yes, how much have you been using?