Since I really like almonds and I’ve added them to my diet, I wanted to check some of their nutrients and which other nuts have the same beneficial properties, so I can add them to my diet. A quick look and I can see that all nuts are rich in macronutrients and contain lots of proteins, fibers, and “good” fats. Lots of people avoid them because they contain lots of calories. But what is the experts’ opinion about that? Research has revealed that when eaten in normal quantities, they can be very beneficial for the body because they help preserve and lose weight, while they also reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
They have a low content of saturated fats and a high content of unsaturated fatty acids, and more specifically Omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that consumption of nuts helps to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. They can also help raise energy levels and increase concentration. This is especially useful for teenagers, students, and athletes, who eat nuts before exercise or add them to their breakfast to start their day full of energy!
Let’s have a closer look:
1. Almonds – my favorite!
Rich in vitamin E and monounsaturated fatty acids, almonds are very tasty and many people eat them with their breakfast, in desserts or in cereal bars. Due to their content in fibers, they can cause saturation and they have lots of nutrients like potassium, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. They are a good source of iron. They are ideal for people who exercise and they can have them as a meal before or during exercise. They contain 131 calories and 5 g of protein per portion (1 portion is about 20 g) and consuming them helps reduce weight and maintain the levels of blood sugar stable.
2. Walnuts – food for thought!
Walnuts are the best food for people who have exams or want to increase their concentration. They are called “the brain’s food” due to the Omega-3 fats they contain and due to their shape, which resembles a brain. They have a high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, calcium, and vitamins B – specifically biotin B6, B5, vitamins necessary for high energy levels. Research has revealed that the fatty acids they contain help reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol, while they are also beneficial for people suffering from hypercholesterolemia (increased lipid levels in the blood). They contain 142 calories and 3.5 g of protein per portion.
3. Cashew- the vegetarians’ favorite!
They are also a good source of fibers and protein – like most nuts – and contain 119 calories and 4.2 g of protein per portion. They are perfect for brunch or an afternoon snack. They are rich in antioxidant substances, like thiamine, biotin, folic acid, and vitamins B5 and B6. They also contain lots of other minerals, more specifically iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc and are perfect to boost up your immune system. Vegetarians – and not just them, actually – often eat cashews in both sweet and savory recipes.
4. Pecan – the crunchy nuts!
You’ll see these mainly in sweet pies and you’re probably not very used to eating them on their own. They are a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids and contain 142 calories and 2.2 g of protein per portion. They are rich in fibers and zinc – specifically, a portion of pecan gives the body 11% of the recommended daily intake for an adult consuming 2,000 kcal/day. Due to their high content in fibers, they help with digestion and cause saturation. They have also a high content of magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and can help reduce bad cholesterol. They are also beneficial for heart health.
We haven't yet finished, of course, because I haven’t talked to you about all nuts… Keep an eye out for part 2 of this diary!
This article was written in collaboration with Kitchen Lab’s Sports Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.