Why Are Nuts Healthy?
Nuts aren’t just small packets of energy, they also include an abundance of health-promoting ingredients. They are rich in unsaturated fatty acids and contain amongst others protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals and also secondary plant compounds such as phytosterol. The regular consumption of nuts can have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system and blood lipids (1, 2). Here the composition of the fats contained in nuts plays an important role. Most of the fats in nuts contain a high proportion of so-called monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are especially advantageous for our health. However, the proportion of these vary depending on the type of nut. For example, walnuts contain especially high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids (especially the essential omega-3 fatty acid). In contrast, macadamia nuts contain predominately monounsaturated fatty acids, and due to their high fat content belong to the most calorific nut variety.
Nutrition information: Nutritics, 2018
The daily consumption of approximately a handful (30g) of walnuts can contribute to the improvement of the elasticity of blood vessels (3). More than half of the recommended daily amount of antioxidant acting vitamin E can be consumed with only a handful of almonds or hazelnuts. Hazelnuts by the way boast a large amount of manganese which contributes to a well-functioning energy metabolism. The high fibre content of almonds (with skin) supports the feeling of satiety (1) – good to know for maintaining or losing weight. The small kidney shaped nuts, i.e. cashew nuts, score points with a high level of magnesium. For example, magnesium is important for muscle function and contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Already as little as 30g of cashew nuts supply approximately 63% of the total daily recommended amount of the mineral copper. This mineral is not only important for the energy metabolism, but also for the immune system. Peanuts also bring goodness: the high content of biotin for example is also important for our energy metabolism.
It's All Down to the Right Mix!
The nutrient composition of each nut variety is different. Therefore, it is a good idea to consume a wide variety of nuts in order to be able to profit optimally from their health-promoting properties and to avoid monotony in taste. By the way, the naturally occurring nut, i.e. unsalted and not roasted, is the best choice. In this spirit: Go Nuts!