Following on from the “vegetarian” article, I thought I would say a few things about nuts as they can play an important part in a vegetarian diet.
Studies are suggesting that a small amount of nuts daily could cut your risk of major diseases. The high content of dietary fibre, magnesium and unsaturated fats could be protection against heart disease. The unsaturated fats unlike saturated fats, don’t raise blood LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol levels. The monounsaturated fats have the additional benefit of raising high-density lipoprotein, the ‘good cholesterol’ in our blood. Nuts are rich in protein and dietary fibre, and also one of the best natural sources of anti-oxidant vitamin E, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and folic acid, making a small portion (about 30g) of unsalted nuts makes a vitality-boosting snack and, unlike most other options. All nuts have different nutrition credentials and will offer various health benefits.
Almonds are high in vitamin E, a nutrient which helps to improve the condition and appearance of your skin. The almond’s skin is full of heart-protecting compounds called flavonoids and almonds are also rich in calcium, beneficial for teeth and bones.
Cashew nuts make an excellent choice if you’re following a vegetarian diet as they contribute a good level of protein and are a useful source of minerals like iron and zinc. They’re also rich in the mineral magnesium, which is thought to improve recall and delay, age-related memory loss.
Chestnuts are the nuts with the lowest fat content and calories, they are rich in starchy carbs and fibre, and in their raw form are a good source of vitamin C. They’re lower in protein than other nuts but make a useful contribution of B vitamins including B6.
Pecans are packed with plant sterols, valuable compounds that are effective at lowering cholesterol levels and they are also antioxidant-rich which helps prevent the plaque formation that causes hardening of the arteries. Pecans are also a good source of vitamin B3 making them them perfect option for fighting fatigue as this vitamin helps us access the energy in our food.
Pistachios are especially rich in vitamin B6, which is important for keeping hormones balanced and healthy. They are also the only nut to contain reasonable levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that play an important role in protecting the eyes. Pistachios also contain potassium and fibre.
Walnuts with their superior antioxidant content make them good in the fight against cancer. Studies show walnuts their good source of mono-unsaturated, heart-friendly fats, help to lower the bad form of cholesterol (LDL). As they are rich in omega-3, they are a great alternative to oily fish in a vegetarian diet.
Eating nuts as part of a healthy diet may be good for your heart, they contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients. They are a great snack food, inexpensive, easy to store and easy to pack when you’re on the go. But don’t forget they are high in calories, so it’s important to limit portions. Your personal trainer can advise how to include nuts as a healthy and beneficial part of your diet.
And don’t forget to include seeds in your weekly diet, the natural fibre, iron, protein, good fats, vitamins, and minerals they contain contribute to a wide range of potential health benefits. They are a great source of energy, can help reduce fatigue and will contribute to healthy hair and skin, muscle and bone growth and maintaining a healthy heart. They can boost the body’s immune system, and can be a great food supplement for those living to a particular diet, for example providing protein and iron for vegetarians and vegans. They are naturally crammed with real goodies like protein, iron, fibre, vitamins and minerals which makes them a super nutritious food for a healthy diet.