Saturday, October 22, 2011

national nut day

mixed nuts | photo: melchoir
Nuts are a great heart healthy food.  They shouldn't need a special day, October 22, for you to consider adding them to your diet.  It goes without saying that raw nuts are best for you as the roasting process may make them tastier but the oils may not be the best and the heat destroys some of the nutrients.  If you want to boost the nutrition you can do this by soaking them.  This breaks down some of the enzymes making the nutrition more bioavailable.

Nuts are highly antioxidant and heart healthy.  There is even some evidence that eating nuts can be healthy for maintaining weight.  They can be added to salads, cooked dishes, eaten as a snack, sprinkled into breakfast cereal, there are any number of ways to eat them.

Different nuts have different nutrients making it a good idea to snack on a variety rather than just one or two.  I find that a quick and easy trail mix is 3 parts nuts, 2 parts seeds, 1 part dried fruit.  Mixing different nuts and seeds gives you a tasty treat and a nutritional boost.

For those who really want to know:

Acorns - highest in manganese
Almonds - highest in manganese and vitamin E
Beechnuts - highest in manganese
Brazil nuts - extremely high in selenium, also a great source of manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium
Cashews - highest in copper, but also a good source of magnesium and tryptophan
Chestnuts - (Eurpean) highest in manganese
Hazelnuts - (also called filberts) very high in vitamin E and a good source of B vitamins
Hickory nuts - very high in selenium, also high in magnesium, thiamin, and copper
Macadamia nuts - very high in selenium and thiamin, also high in copper and magnesium
Peanuts - not a nut, they're actually a legume, a good source of manganese and tryptophan
Pecans - very high in manganese, also high in copper and thiamin
Pistachio - very high in B6, a good source of manganese, copper, phosphorus and thiamin
Walnuts - very high in omega 3 fatty acids and a great source of manganese

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