Autumn and early winter are the peak harvest times for nuts. Nature’s little powerhouses, nuts possess all the energy, to create a strong, towering tree, making them one of the most nutrient rich forms of foods available to humans. One short blog isn’t enough space to tackle all 300+ edible types of nuts, but it is more than adequate to get a brief overview of the nutritional benefits and energetics of nuts along with handling, storage and some ideas of how to incorporate nuts into your diet.
Western nutritional highlights
Although nuts will vary in their content of protein, oils, vitamins and minerals we can look at them overall and get the general idea of what they have to offer.
- Protein– All nuts are high in protein. A 1/3 cup serving of cashews contains 21 grams. However that same serving gives you 260 calories–something to consider if you are calorie counting. The amino acids in nuts are pretty well balanced but lack the methionine and tryptophan found in animal proteins. However, mixed with grains, as many traditional cultures do, you can easily balance the meal.
- Fats–Don’t let the word scare you. We need healthy fats to maintain healthy hormones, immunity, and nervous system, cerebral functions and more. And it’s the fats that give nuts their delicious flavor and the sensation that satiates our appetite. Luckily, most nuts are high in unsaturated fats (happy fats), and many of them have been shown to successfully help lower blood lipid levels (high cholesterol) and aid in the treatment of heart disease. In fact, nearly all nuts have appeared in studies and are shown to be beneficial in lowering cholesterol and protecting the heart. Nut’s fat content varies from about 50% (found in peanuts and almonds) […]