Earning their reputation as a healthy snack full of ‘good fats’, nuts are an essential part of any healthy diet. A nutritionally rich food, packed with a significant amount of the minerals and vitamins our bodies need, nuts are a yummy and versatile complement to your diet. They come in such a wide variety, with similar nutrient profiles, so picking your favourite really comes down to purpose and taste preference. But you know the saying, variety is the spice of life.
So with their wide variety and nutritional benefits, you should give nuts a chance to enrich and elevate your diet.
What are the benefits of eating nuts?
Packed with nutrients like protein, fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals, on their own, nuts are a powerful source of goodness and offer a range of health benefits. These benefits are amplified when nuts are combined with a nutrient-dense diet. Here are some of the benefits of eating nuts.
A good protein source: Nuts are a great source of protein, which is essential for cell repair and generation, making it important for our overall health. Because nuts are such a good source of protein, you can consider eating them as an alternative to animal protein.
A source of antioxidants: Antioxidants work to protect your cells against free radicals and also help to reduce inflammation in the body. Nuts are rich in phytochemicals which act as antioxidants, giving you cell protection benefits.
Good for blood vessel health: Certain nuts are high in the amino acid arginine, which helps to keep blood vessels healthy. Healthy blood vessels are vital for good health, as our blood vessels carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
Giving you that full feeling: Because of the fat, protein and fibre content in nuts, they can help to suppress hunger and to make you feel full.
Help to lower ‘bad’ cholesterol: Nuts can help to lower LDL, known as ‘bad’ cholesterol, because they are low in saturated fat. This makes them a good alternative to eating animal protein which is higher in saturated fats and thus raises bad cholesterol.
What is the best way to eat nuts?
Packed with a host of vitamins and minerals like vitamins E and B6, calcium and magnesium, it should come as no surprise that nuts also come with a lot of calories, so limiting your portions when it comes to this tasty snack is important. While a handful of mixed nuts is a perfectly delicious and healthy snack, this versatile food has so much more to offer. So let’s get a little nutty and elevate your diet with some of the best ways to eat nuts.
Nut Butters: Whether it is in that classic peanut butter and jam combo, in a smoothie, or a dip, or used to add an extra dimension of deliciousness to a savoury sauce, nut butters are undeniably yum. Grind up your favourite nut for some creamy, nutty goodness.
As gluten or dairy alternatives: Nut flours like hazelnut and macadamia flours are a great, nutrient-rich option for gluten free baking. Nut milks such as almond milk are also a yummy alternative to dairy milk, so lactose intolerant or vegan folks, this one’s for you.
For added crunch: Nuts are the perfect way to add a healthy crunch to your meals, either by sprinkling over a salad or on some yoghurt. They're a great way to add some nutty flavour to your meals too.
Breadcrumbs: Part of what makes eating nuts fun is that the only thing greater than their wide variety is their versatility. Consider using crushed pistachios as a breadcrumb alternative in your next crumbed dinner.
Meat-free meatiness: You don’t have to miss out on all your favourites just because you are going meat free. Burgers, tacos and pates can still feature on your menu, using nuts as a satisfying, savoury alternative.
Before you go nuts with nuts, make sure you don't have any nut allergies as they often persist into adulthood and can trigger life-threatening allergic reactions. Otherwise, get this cost-friendly, versatile and downright delicious food into your kitchen today! If you need some inspiration for some nutty recipes and other awesome meal ideas, visit What’s For Dinner today.