Crunchy and filling, nuts, petite powerhouses of nutrition should be a part of our daily lives. These nutrient-dense foods have complex matrices that are rich in unsaturated fatty acid and other bioactive compounds such as high-quality vegetable protein, fiber, essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc. that are likely to have favourable health outcomes. When paired with fruits, or added to dishes like grains, salads, and desserts, nuts promote an idea of a healthy meal, as well as a healthy heart.
The unsaturated fats that they possess help in lowering bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. The omega-3 fatty acids present in walnuts may prevent the development of erratic heart rhythms. Rich in arginine, nuts can relax constricted blood vessels and ease blood flow. And because they supply a different mix of nutrients, it is advisable to incorporate a wide range of nuts into a healthy eating or a balanced diet plan.
Below mentioned are a few essential nuts that are recommended to add to your diet:
Arguably the most perfect and flavoursome snack, almonds are known for their versatility. Either raw, roasted, or part of a mix, each serving can be satisfying and energizing. Especially rich in vitamin E, walnuts function as an antioxidant to protect your cells against oxidative damage, support immune function, and cellular communication. They also promote gut health by supporting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. There are numerous ways in which almonds can be included in your diet. Sprinkle sliced almonds onto your morning oatmeal, use almond milk in your cereal, keep a baggie full of raw almonds inside your desk, and snack on it the next time you’re craving a crunchy snack.
Having an impressive nutrient profile, walnuts are linked to multiple health benefits. Eating walnuts may decrease the risk of heart disease, one of the leading causes of death across the globe. They are an excellent source of copper that results in energy production, help build immunity, develop blood vessels, and more. Walnuts benefit heart health and may reduce several heart disease risk factors, including elevated blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Studies also show that eating 1–2 ounces of walnuts per day may improve brain function and reduce risk factors for dementia. Incorporate walnuts into your healthy diet regularly. Top salads with a handful of chopped walnuts, make homemade granola with a mix of other nuts or toast walnuts and add as stuffing in your sandwich. It can also be used to garnish your favourite desserts. Crush them and sprinkle! Find your way. Be creative with it.
Loaded with numerous vital nutrients, including vitamin B6 and thiamine, Pistachios are good for nutrient metabolism and the immune system. It is also a good source of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds like carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as anthocyanins and flavonoids. Its effects on the body may include weight loss benefits, improved gut, eye, and blood vessel health. In certain cases, it may improve blood pressure and other health markers. Pistachios can be incorporated into the diet in many ways. Eat it raw as a snack, salad garnish, or other toppings. They can be used to bake or to make pesto and nut butter.
They are a good source of vital nutrients essential for bone health, including protein, magnesium, manganese, etc. Cashews improve symptoms of metabolic syndrome that include elevated blood pressure, blood sugar, and belly fat that increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Having a crunchy texture and creamy mouthfeel, cashews can be eaten as raw, roasted, or as nut butter. One can also prepare a dish like korma which is a creamy and nutty sauce used in vegetarian and meat-based stews. Its versatile nature allows it to be also used in many savory and sweet applications.
An indispensable contributor to a healthy and well-balanced diet, nuts as a packed product in the market may contain added oils and sugar to improve its texture and taste. One has to be mindful in choosing products that don’t contain these ingredients.
Dr. Siddhant Bhargava, Fitness and Nutritional Scientist, Co-founder at ‘Food Darzee’.