Nuts – The Real Treat

By Deline Tan

Nuts – is a healthy fiberous diet that contains the good unsaturated fats like poly and monounsaturated fats. It is healthy fats that our body needs to provide the necessary nutrients. A healthy way to snack would be a packet of almond or cashew nuts, which is a great way to satisfy cravings.

Peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, cashew, macadamia nuts, and Brazil nuts are all very healthy nuts that help reduce heart disease, lower cholesterol and maintain the HDL (good cholesterol) levels. They contain no cholesterol and have several Vitamin B, Vitamin E, magnesium, copper and antioxidant. These vitamins and minerals are a good source that is essential for a balanced diet.

One of the necessary nutrients in nuts is folate, which plays a vital role in producing DNA and RNA, which functions as an important role in building up the body cells, and work in conjunction with Vitamin B12 to form haemoglobin (which carries oxygen) in red blood cells. Peanuts and sunflower kernels are a good source of folate, supplying at least 10% of the recommended daily intake per one ounce serving.

Pistachio is a great source of Vitamin B6 which helps the body form protein compound to make red blood cells, and antibodies to help maintain a healthy immune system. Other important minerals are riboflavin, thiamine and niacin, which help the body utilize sugars and fats to release energy from foods. Almond is a good source of riboflavin, and Brazil nuts, macadamias, and pistachios provide thiamine, and peanuts and sunflower seeds produce niacin.

Another important nutrient found in nuts is Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that helps protect cells and tissues by neutralizing free radicals. Almond, Brazil nuts and cashews are an excellent source of magnesium. Cashews and pistachios are the source of copper, which is essential in making haemoglobin in red blood cells.

Nuts are also an important source of plant protein and are rich in energy, packed with antioxidant, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts is a source of monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic and palmitoleic acids which help to lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol, and increase HDL or “good” cholesterol. For Mediterranean diet which is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, it helps to prevent coronary artery disease.

Nuts can fight against diseases like cancer, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer and viral/fungal infections through the compounds like poly-phenolic and flavonoid antioxidants. Resveratrol in peanuts is known to reduce stroke risk.

With all these benefits, there is no doubt that nuts can be a real treat to our casual snacks, and you can also use them for cooking, like adding cashew nuts or almonds into rice when  cooking pineapple or gee rice. There are so many creative ways to eat nuts if you were to think of your recipe in terms of the real treat.

Try adding the different nuts into your cooking and you will have a balance diet of good saturated fats together with your food of carbohydrates and proteins. There are many creative ways to cook a meal with the delicious nuts, as you can plan to add cashew nuts together with the vegetables, or cook a good peanut soup with red dates and other recipes to make a good dish.

Whatever your plans are for a meal cooked with the varieties of nuts, know that you can never get tired with it as it serves as a good crushy snack delight with good healthy means for the body. Let these nuts made you nutty and you will always go about with a packet of nuts for your leisure snack.

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