Here at Wholefood Earth, we’re absolutely nuts about Nuts! They are one of our favourite healthy snack alternatives and make a tasty addition to a healthy, balanced diet.
But have you ever wondered, what exactly is a nut? And where do nuts come from? Well, we’re here to help answer all your nut related questions and help you find out more about the health benefits of this small but mighty food source.
What is a Nut?
Nuts are found all over the world, usually in warmer climates and are grown on shrubs and trees.
But did you know that nuts are actually a type of fruit? In botanical terms, nuts are a particular kind of dry fruit that has a single seed, a hard shell, and a protective husk. However, from a culinary perspective, the term ‘nuts’ is much more relaxed and generally in line with what most people think are nuts — large, oily kernels found within a shell.
The exception to this is peanuts, which aren’t technically nuts at all - they’re actually part of the legume family. One reason for this is the fact that peanuts grow underground instead of above ground. Nevertheless, most people still generally view them as nuts due to their similar characteristics and nutrition profile.
What Are the Different Types of Nuts?
There are many different kinds of nuts, all of them come with unique nutritional benefits, and all are delicious in their own right.
In general, the macronutrients of most nuts are very similar, but the micronutrients in the different types may slightly differ. Due to this, it’s best to consume a varied mixture of nuts in order to optimize the individual benefits of each different type - you can’t go wrong with a handful of nuts a day!
Here’s a list of some of the most common and popular nuts –
- Brazil Nuts
- Cashew Nuts
- Macadamia Nuts
- Pine Nuts
What Are The Health Benefits of Nuts?
There are a multitude of health benefits you can enjoy from including nuts in your diet. Some people may think nuts are not good for you due to their high fat content, but it’s mainly healthier unsaturated fat that they contain. They also contain important nutrients such as protein, B vitamins, vitamin E and minerals, including iron, potassium, selenium, magnesium, zinc and copper.
Nuts are a great source of fibre. Evidence suggests that a diet rich in fibre is associated with a lower risk of several chronic diseases including diabetes and heart disease. Increasing your fibre intake also helps support and regulate your digestive system.
Adding nuts to your diet has also been associated with improved heart health. This is due to the fact eating nuts helps maintain the health of the arteries, reduces the build-up of plaque deposits and the risk of blood clots, whilst also balancing cholesterol.
Nut consumption may also aid in weight loss, as long as you exercise portion control. Including nuts in your diet has been linked to reduced hunger and feeling fuller for longer. Some evidence even suggests that a nut rich diet may help to boost the number of calories burned at whilst resting.
Are Nuts Good For You?
In short, yes nuts (barring a serious allergy) are indeed very good for you! Despite the high fat and calorie content, nuts still provide an impressive amount of health and weight benefits. Research does show that by making nuts a regular staple of a healthy diet it can help regulate our weight and may even protect against diseases.
Nuts are high in energy and are packed full of nutrients and minerals. Swapping out your meat and dairy for a plant-based protein such a nuts, is also recommended as a more sustainable way of eating to help our planet. It’s also a great way for people on a vegan or plant-based diet to get their daily protein in.
Just remember to eat them in moderation, the daily recommendation for nuts is 30g a day which is approximately 20 Almonds, 15 Cashews or 10 Brazil nuts. Also make sure to pick nuts that are unsalted and without coatings, which can add extra fat, and sometimes sugar and salt. We suggest snacking on them raw or slightly toasting them in the oven – delicious!
Luckily, here at Wholefood Earth we’ve got you covered for all your raw and organic nut needs.