All our lives, we have had friends and family telling us “eat this, it is very healthy for you” or “don’t eat that, there are too many calories in it.” When it comes to eating nuts, we have heard them all! Perhaps this is why women who count calories refrain from consuming even a single nut whereas those who are following a healthy lifestyle consume nuts every single day. So, today, we are re-launching our blog by first answering this decade-long confusion; are nuts good for you or bad for you?
In the last decade, there has been extensive research done on the nutritional and health benefits of eating nuts. First and foremost, nuts are an excellent source of dietary fibre, which means a small handful of nuts can keep you full until your next meal. This will eliminate the urge to binge on unhealthy foods such as chips, chocolate, cookies and pies between meals. In addition, the wide range of essential nutrients in nuts, such as vitamin B, vitamin E, minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium, will do wonders for your body. The combination of nutrients vary according to the type of nut:
- Macadamias: highest in monounstaturated fat, thiamine and manganese
- Cashews: non-haem (plant-based) iron and low GI rating
- Almonds: protein, calcium and vitamin E
- Peanuts: protein, manganese, niacin, folate and Vitamin E
- Pistachios: protein, potassium, plant sterols and the antioxidant resveratrol
Much of the bad reputation of nuts largely stems from people’s lack of knowledge on saturated fats and unsaturated fats. To keep it very simple, always remember that saturated fats are ‘bad fats’ and unsaturated fats are ‘good fats.’ Nuts contain large quantities of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats (49% – 74%). These ‘good fats’ help regulate blood cholesterol, reduces the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and assist in maintain healthy blood pressure.
So, in a nutshell, are nuts good for me? Absolutely! According to Nutrition Australia, a small handful of nuts (30-50g) each day will not make you gain weight and in fact, it may actually help you reduce the risk of obesity. How, you ask? Due to the high quantity of dietary fibre, it will keep you feeling fuller and control your appetite. The key to not gaining weight from eating nuts is to keep your portion size in check. For a healthy body and healthy mind, follow the Buddhist principle of keeping everything to a moderate level and this applies to your eating habits as well.