There are many times when we do not feel hungry but feel like chewing something tasty. Many people go for things like crackers, potato chips, cookies or biscuits, and while we know they are pretty much not the most healthy and dietetic foods, who can blame them? Snacks are delicious! While it’s quite alright to eat some of them sometimes, it’s good to be careful so that we don’t eat too much of them, because of course, then problems such as high blood sugar or high cholesterol can appear, not to mention the fact that they are very rich in calories(empty calories to be more precise, which do not offer any consistent nutritional value) and then regular consumption of them can cause weight gain. As we always say, moderation is the key to everything in life.
Still, who said we can’t enjoy some healthy snacks? When it comes to snacks, there are many healthy options from which we can choose, and they can provide quite significant nutritional values, and also great health benefits too! One perfect example in this case are… you guessed it! Nuts! Nuts lately are a quite hot topic, but they have been around since like forever, and even our ancestors knew about their goodies too! Some studies show that nowadays people started to eat more nuts, alone or combined with other foods, because nutrition specialists have made popular their benefits in our diet, but also because some of them are simply delicious! For example, I go nuts (pun intended!) after things such as cashew nuts or pistachio nuts – not only that they are extremely tasty, but they also have tons of nutritional and health benefits!
Let’s get under the shell: what are nuts?
Many people don’t know how they are categorized, but scientifically speaking, nuts are fruits. They do not have the same sweet taste that you are used to when it comes to fruits, and they are characterized by the hard woody shell that contains them. Some of them can be eaten raw, but some of them have to be roasted and sometimes even salted so that we can eat them (but not necessarily). They are usually dry and hard, even before roasted. Things can go even further and you can use condiments such as paprika or garlic to make them even more delicious, such as peanuts – they come in a very wide of variety of selections.
As we said, nuts are fruits that usually have enormous nutritional values and health benefits – they are good for diets, they can contain lots of proteins and healthy fats, which can also help us reduce the risks for things such as heart stroke or disease, reduce cholesterol levels in our blood, and various types of cancer.
Nutritional benefits of nuts
Nuts are very rich in micronutrients and macronutrients, and even in antioxidants! Still, don’t go nuts over them, because most of them contain a big number of calories since they are mostly made out of fats (they are healthy fats, so do not worry about them ,they actually have enormous health benefits and are essential for our bodies), and eating too much of them will make you gain weight, since they are very dense. Keeping this in mind, here are some of the most important nutrients contained by nuts: magnesium, iron, fibers, carbohydrates, healthy fats, proteins, copper, vitamin E, phosphorus, selenium, Omega-3 fatty acids, L-Arginine, potassium, and the list can go on. Many nutrition specialists recommend nuts in lots of diets, because not only they are healthy and nourishing, but they can greatly help you lose weight if you want to.
Health benefits of nuts
Where do we even start? They are so many, we could talk all day about them, but let’s go at first with the most notable benefits of them all:
- Since many of them are rich in iron, this is a good deal for keeping our hemoglobin levels in check. This is vital for our body, because our body needs iron to produce hemoglobin, which makes our blood have it’s red color and is essential for carrying oxygen to cells. A good example here are cashew nuts.
- They are good for our bones and teeth – some nuts such as almonds, have a good concentration of calcium, which will straighten our bones and articulations.
- They contain lots of proteins which are crucial in bodily functions such as muscle and bone growth. Even our nails and hair are made mostly out of protein. Our body also needs proteins to produce many of it’s vital things such as hormones, various chemicals, enzymes, etc. For example, peanuts, hazelnuts and almonds are ideal sources of protein, if you want to go to the gym and gain muscle mass.
- Lots of antioxidants: most of all nuts are big antioxidant powerhouses. They are slowing the aging process of our body, keep our brain and mind health, and also can offer a very good cardiovascular health.
- Nuts can also reduce the chance of getting type 2 diabetes by 30%, some studies have shown.
- Eating nuts regularly reduces the chance of getting certain types of cancer.
- Nuts will greatly improve your immune system strength, making you more resistant to infections, bacteria, viruses and many diseases.
- They are high in fiber
Nuts are in a very big variety, there is something for everyone!
Some people like that some people don’t like this. It’s normal, taste can be a very subjective matter. There are tons of kinds of nuts out there waiting for you to discover them.
Nuts can be a very delicious, nutritious and healthy snack! Eating a handful of nuts everyday, can have a great positive impact on your health and daily life. Still, it’s good to mention again that they should be eaten with moderation, despite their enormous nutritional benefits, because people usually get confused, and when they see something labeled as healthy, they think they can eat as much as they want, but it’s not really like that. Eating too much nuts can cause indigestion, hard sleep or weight gain. If you want to include nuts in your diet, it’s best that you also consult with a certified nutritionist, which can give you the best advice in this case.