A-Z of super foods: Nuts

A-Z of super foods: Nuts

Nuts are a great comfort food as the days draw in – just ask any squirrel! Acting as a great source of protein, carbohydrate and fat, there’s a lot to be said for nuts.

Read on for some nutty knowledge!

1.     WHAT IS A NUT?

There are different botanical definitions relating to fleshy insides and where the seeds are. From a food point of view, a nut is a small fruit with a hard shell. The shell is there to protect the edible interior, which is there to transport the seed of the plant. For us, the shell provides handy and sometimes digestible packaging.

2.     WHAT NUTRITION IS IN A NUT?

There are all sorts of beneficial nutrients ready-wrapped in nuts. The content varies with type, but the kind of goodies you can expect in nuts include:

  • Vegetable-source omega 3 fatty acids: may assist with brain health and cognitive function
  • Vitamins – vitamins C, B and E
  • Minerals – calcium, potassium, iron and many others
  • Fibre –for digestive health

A good dose of calories and protein are also included, as well as a selection of fats.

3.     WHAT ARE THE BEST TYPES OF NUTS TO EAT?

Whether you want to boost brain, circulation or energy, there’s a nut to help. Here are just a few examples.

For that energy boost, brazil nuts provide a jolt of calories, vitamins and unsaturated fats.

Almonds are a great source of calcium, plus their skin contains flavonoids which are linked with improved heart health.

Peanuts are full of brain-boosting folate, fats and vitamin E.

Macadamia nuts give unsaturated fat, selenium and a blast of B-vitamins.

There is some evidence that walnuts are the supernut when it comes to nutrition. They contain oils which can help to lower cholesterol.

4.     WHAT ABOUT PORTIONS AND COOKING?

Nuts are small and very ‘more-ish’, but because of the fat content do go easy on your portions. A small handful per day is plenty.

Try to minimise the processing of the nuts that you eat. Look for unsalted kinds, think about raw rather than roasted and remember that coated nuts are a definite treat! Making your own nut butters is easier than you think, and means far fewer additives.

Whatever your fitness ambition, you need no excuses to go nuts for nuts!


The Author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves boxercise, yoga, pilates, weight training and long distance running..

Comments

Mike D.
9 November 2015

Mike D.

Peanuts are one to avoid, cos of the mould on them. It's better if you buy organic, but still it's the worst of the nuts.

craig t.
6 November 2015

craig t.

I would also recommend making your own seed butters. Pumpkin and sunflower are both delicious.

Emma C.
5 November 2015

Emma C.

We eat masses of nuts as a family. Our favourites are walnuts and cashews. Such a healthy snack.

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