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Why nuts are healthy

Why nuts are healthy


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Nuts are wonderful things. Not only are they delicious, but most are dense in nutrients and super-good for you. However, different nuts have different health benefits, and it’s worth getting knowledgeable about which is which if you’re going to include them in your diet.

17 healthy ways to use nuts

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Porridge, lots of ways

A wonderfully comforting, healthy breakfast

These brilliant porridge recipes will give you great ideas to jazz up this breakfast favourite. Fruity, syrupy or nutty – give it a go

There are some things all nuts have in common, and one of these is their high unsaturated fat content (something seeds also have in abundance). Unsaturated fats are the good kinds of fats – the ones our bodies need for a number of functions, including cell membrane function, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and protecting and cushioning our organs. The only downside to their fat content is that it makes them high in calories, but as long as you’re careful with your portion sizes, this is nothing to worry about.

Most nuts also contain protein (though some more than others), which our bodies most notably need to build and repair muscles, something that should be an especially important consideration for those who exercise regularly. Nuts are also one of the few plant-based sources of protein, so a great thing to include in a vegan diet.

When it comes to nuts, just like fruit and veg, it’s best to mix up the varieties you eat so that you are get a wide variety of vitamins and minerals and the maximum nutritional benefits. Nuts are one of our favourite groups of foods, and we use them a lot in our recipes! With this in mind I’ve taken a look at some of Jamie’s favourite nuts and done some digging in to their nutritional properties and what makes them so good for us.

Peanuts

The peanut is incredibly popular, especially here in the UK. Most people associate peanuts as being a unhealthy salted bar snack, but plain peanuts, or even peanut butter, are actually very nutritious! Peanuts are a source of many different macronutrients. The most prominent micronutrient found in peanuts is a B vitamin called biotin which our bodies use for many different functions, including keeping our metabolic systems healthy and enabling our nervous systems to function properly. It also helps to keep our hair and skin healthy, which is one of its more popular health benefits.

Almonds

The almond is another popular nut that sneaks its way into a lot of recipes, especially in the cake and baking department (which detracts from their health benefits slightly!), but none the less they do still have nutritional properties we can take home. They are very similar to peanuts in that, as well as being super high in biotin, they are also high in the minerals calcium and phosphorus. These are the two minerals which make up our bones and teeth, so needless to say we need them to keep both our bones and teeth strong and healthy. Nuts are a great source of calcium and phosphorus for vegans, as many of us get our calcium and phosphorus from dairy products.

Pecans

These are another favourite, and another used often in baking and in salads. Pecans are high in the mineral manganese, which we need to keep our bones healthy, and also to protect our cells from the oxidative damage caused by stress. A 30g portion of pecan nuts will provide you with 70% of your RI% for manganese!

Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are probably one of my favourite nuts, which is a good thing as they are possibly one of the most nutrient dense! The mineral most prominent in brazil nuts is selenium, and they actually have more selenium in per 100g than any other food. Selenium is a mineral that works with iodine to make sure our thyroid glands function properly, the gland that produces the hormones that control our metabolism. We also need selenium to keep our nails and hair strong and healthy and to keep our immune systems strong. Selenium is usually found in fish and liver, so again this is a great nut to include in your diet if you are vegetarian or vegan, where you may struggle to get enough selenium from other food sources. Just under 25g of brazil nuts will give you your daily reference intake for selenium.

I could go on and on telling you about different nuts and what they all do to keep us ticking over but you get the idea! So, assuming no nut allergy, definitely make an effort to get nuts into your diet in some way shape or form.

We have a load of recipes using these nuts and many more, so please do use these to inspire you!


7 Nuts You Should Be Eating And 7 You Shouldn't

If you're looking for a healthy snack, nuts might seem like a sure-fire win. But there are ways to go very, very wrong with picking up some nuts, so let's take a look at some that are both good for you and good for the environment, some that might ruin all of your best intentions, and some that might even make you sick.


Why you should always toast your nuts

If I could spread the gospel of a single, tiny cooking trick that will immensely improve outcomes of an entire category of recipes, I wouldn’t even have to pause for a second before shouting from the highest rooftops: TOAST YOUR NUTS!

Of course, I live with boys, which means that this leads to all sorts of fits of giggling, and of course, I’m just blaming them, it’s mostly me. What? I never promised you maturity.

But once the snickering dies down, do know I am as serious as can be about this. Nuts — almonds, I’m especially looking at you — that have not been toasted taste like waxy nothingness. Those same nuts, spread on a tray and roasted until they’re faintly beige within and a toasty brown on the outside taste heavenly, with a depth of flavor, intensity and nuanced aroma unimaginable 10 minutes earlier. Think of the difference between granulated and caramelized sugar, or between straight-from-the-package and browned butter and you’ll begin to get the idea.

Toasting improves the texture of nuts too, so that they stay crisp whether buried in baked goods or on top of a salad.

And the best part is, it doesn’t cost a thing. You don’t have to buy “the best” or “artisanal” nuts for this to work for you at home this is about taking a simple, everyday ingredient an amplifying it. You won’t believe the way it can transform the most bland, no-name grocery store pecans until something that reminds you of pie, even before you add the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.


So, here’s how to do it:
Heat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Spread nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts or whatever you like to cook or eat) in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 5 to 10 minutes, and up to 12, tossing the nuts around occasionally to ensure even cooking. Nuts are done when they appear a shade darker and smell toasty. Let cool completely before using.

More specific cooking estimates: For pine nuts, you’ll definitely be done at 5 minutes. Thinly sliced or slivered almonds often take just 8 minutes. Whole almonds, walnuts and pecans are usually good at 10. And for hazelnuts, especially if I hope to skin them when I’m done, I find a couple minutes extra, sometimes even as long as 14 minutes, watched carefully, can really make the difference in both flavor and in skin that easily flakes off.


2. Brazil Nuts

&ldquoThese nuts pack in plenty of selenium, a mineral involved in thyroid hormone production and that&rsquos crucial in antioxidant function for processes that protect us against cancer,&rdquo says dietitian Kelly R. Jones, RD. It's also great for hair skin and nail health.

"One study even showed an immediate impact on blood cholesterol improvements within nine hours of ingestion,&rdquo she says.

Take note, though: These are big-ass nuts. You only need to eat two or three a day to get the benefits, so don&rsquot eat a whole handful of them like you would almonds.

Per 1-ounce serving: 187 calories, 19 g fat (4.5 g sat fat), 3 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein


Warm Ovens and Dehydrators Don&rsquot Work for Cashews

Why doesn&rsquot a warm oven (150 °F) or dehydrator work for drying cashews?

Because a slow drying predisposes them to mold and unpleasant taste.

Remember, &ldquoraw&rdquo cashews aren&rsquot truly raw anyway. The enzymes are long gone. So, using a higher temperature to dry them faster is fine, and in fact, recommended for best results.

Always dry soaked cashews in a 250 °F (121 °C) oven. Dehydrators are for preserving raw food. As a result, the temperature doesn&rsquot go that high, so I would not use them at all for cashews.

By making these two changes&hellipa shorter soak and a higher drying temperature&hellipyou will obtain the benefits of soaked cashews without any risk of mold or unpalatable flavor.

Storage

It goes without saying that soaked/dried cashews should be stored in an airtight container. Glass is always best in my experience because it preserves flavor and freshness the best.

However, is refrigeration necessary?

Yes, I would refrigerate cashews that have been soaked and dried. They will remain fresh-tasting for weeks this way.

Store them in the pantry, and you risk them going stale quite quickly.


What Are the Benefits of Raw Nuts

According to the results of some recent studies, people who eat raw nuts on a regular basis get the following benefits:

1. Their systolic blood pressure is lower.
2. They have less trouble with losing excess weight and it’s easier for them to maintain a healthy weight.
3. They find it easier to develop a beautiful waistline.
4. Their risk of developing metabolic syndrome is much lower.
This can be explained by the fact that nuts lower blood pressure and increase the level of good (HDL) cholesterol.
6. Their risks of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are significantly lower.
7. Their hearts are stronger and healthier in general.
Almonds, in particular, are considered to be the best nuts for heart health. Many other nuts contain l-arginine, an amino acid associated with numerous vascular benefits.


SOME TIPS TO KEEP YOUR NUTS SUPER FRESH

Keep In An Airtight Container: I’d say this is the most important step in keeping nuts/seeds from turning bad. Maybe you have bags and bags of *barely* rolled up nuts in your pantry that you haven’t touched in 3-6+ months… don’t worry, this was me just a few years ago!! Toss ’em! Start fresh and get yourself some sealable containers. Weck jars, mason jars, glass tupperware, etc. are all great. Not only does having a lid keep the air out, but it keeps odors out as well. Odors can be quickly absorbed by nuts and seeds, so you’re better off keeping them sealed up tight! This also goes for when you bring them home from the store– transfer them right into an airtight container.

Keep Cool & Chilled In The Fridge Or Freezer: They’ll last about 3-4 months in any cool, dark space like a pantry, but they’ll last much longer- 6+ months in the fridge and even more in the freezer. This can slow down deterioration of the nuts so they won’t spoil. If you plan to use the nuts & seeds in the near future or know you’re going to use them up pretty quickly in your recipes, there’s no harm in keeping them in a cool, dark place on your counter or in the pantry. I do this with hemp seeds on my counter since I go through them so fast. Hemp seeds are great to throw into your smoothies, on top of salads, and in baked goods because they contain omega-3s and 10g of plant protein per only 2-3 tbsp! I also like to keep almond flour in the fridge as well to keep it fresh as possible.

Buy Raw & Fresh: It’s best to buy nuts and seeds whole and fresh– they last the longest this way. Do the dirty work at home, like grinding your own flaxseeds, roasting your cashews, chop your almonds, etc. Once they’re chopped, roasted, toasted, or ground into flours, they typically go rancid much quicker. I like to buy raw nuts/seeds from Thrive Market, in the bulk section at Whole Foods (they tend to restock these pretty frequently so you know they’re fresh), or Trader Joe’s. Another thing about buying PRE-roasted nuts is that they’re usually made with harmful vegetable oils like canola oil. Click here for more info on why you should toss the vegetable oils in your diet.


18 Delicious Ways To Enjoy Heart-Healthy Walnuts

Debby Maugans, food writer based in Asheville, North Carolina, and author of Small Batch Baking, Small Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers and Farmer and Chef Asheville.

Published Date: January 28, 2016

Updated Date: October 19, 2020

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Eating walnuts must be the tastiest way to protect your heart and your mind.

Just a handful lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol and improves the way your blood vessels function. They’re rich in alpha-linolenic acid, a plant form of omega-3 fat linked with better brain function and positive moods. And even though they are high in fat and calories, research finds that people who eat them regularly don’t gain weight.

Our guess: It’s because they are so satisfying. At 185 calories, a daily one-ounce serving (about seven halves, or one-quarter cup) provides heart-healthy benefits without derailing your diet. To find new ways to include walnuts in our meals, we asked cookbook author Debby Maugans. She gave us three recipes: Walnut Butter, Walnut Baba Ghanoush and Candied Walnuts (yes, healthful “candy!”). Be sure to read her tips at the end of this article to learn 15 more ways to enjoy walnuts.

EVEN BETTER THAN PEANUT BUTTER

Walnut Butter

This one is so delicious that it can entice even the most resolute peanut butter devotee. We tested several versions using raw walnuts, toasted walnuts, nuts with a little olive oil to make it creamier, salt and no salt. The winner was a mixture of raw and toasted walnuts, a little salt and a teaspoon of honey to smooth out any residual bitter taste from tannins in traces of walnut peel that may cling to the nut after shelling. Toasting the walnuts adds texture and aroma, too.

Spread one cup of the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake until fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

Place remaining raw nuts and the toasted/cooled walnuts in a food processor. Process until the mixture is a coarse paste, about 30 seconds. Add honey and salt, and process until smooth, 20 to 30 additional seconds. Scrape bowl as needed.

Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator.

A NUTTY TWIST TO EGGPLANT SPREAD

Walnut Baba Ghanoush

For these flavors to blend and develop a richer overall flavor, refrigerate the dip for 4 to 6 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

  • 1 (1- to 1¼-pound) eggplant, unpeeled
  • 3 large shallots
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 3 Tablespoons Walnut Butter (see recipe above)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup crushed raw walnuts

Remove stem end from eggplant, and cut in half lengthwise. Peel shallots and cut lengthwise into quarters. Place eggplant halves on baking sheet, cut sides up, and coat with cooking spray. Place shallots on baking sheet, and coat with cooking spray. Bake, turning shallots occasionally, until eggplant is very tender when pierced with fork and shallots are golden—about 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet.

Remove peel from eggplant and chop coarsely. Add to food processor with shallots, walnut butter, lemon juice and salt, then process until smooth, scraping bowl as necessary. Add walnuts and pulse until well blended, 2 or 3 times.

Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving with crackers, pita bread or vegetables.

A LESS SWEET TREAT

Maple Candied Walnuts

Store-bought candied nuts often are coated with loads of sugar. A little pure maple syrup gives our candied walnuts just the right amount of sweet flavor with a crunchy crystal coating.

Place a dry medium-size skillet on medium heat. When it is hot, and working quickly, add walnuts, maple syrup and salt. Stir until nuts are coated and let it cook, stirring frequently, until walnuts are toasted and syrup is almost evaporated but not burned.

Scrape out onto a sheet of wax paper, and let cool. As they cool, separate walnuts with a fork. Store in an airtight container. Eat as a snack…or use as a topping, such as over yogurt, oatmeal or salad.

15 MORE WAYS TO ENJOY WALNUTS

The best way to have the freshest walnuts is to purchase them in their shells and open them as needed. The next best way is to purchase shelled walnut halves—they’ll stay fresh longer than pieces. Store in a cool dry place in an airtight container.

If the appearance in a recipe is important, you can dice them. When a recipe calls for crushed walnuts, place walnut halves in a freezer ziplock bag and roll with a rolling pin to crush them. You’ll end up with pieces that appear almost ground and some that are finely broken.

Here are more tasty ways to slip walnuts into your diet…

1. When making a smoothie, toss in one-quarter cup of walnuts or two tablespoons of walnut butter.

2. Make a savory Walnut Crumble Topping to sprinkle on and season cooked vegetables. Mix one cup finely chopped, toasted walnuts, one cup whole wheat panko, one tablespoon minced fresh thyme, ⅛ teaspoon salt and one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Store in a sealed freezer bag in the freezer.

3. Sprinkle two tablespoons of finely chopped Maple Candied Walnuts over a dish of yogurt or fruit for a naturally sweet dessert, snack or breakfast.

4. Make this appetizer: Stuff one-half teaspoon of goat cheese into a date, then tuck in a walnut half.

5. Before roasting fish fillets, coat them with crushed walnuts.

6. Grill or roast peach or pear halves. Drizzle one teaspoon of honey into each half and add one tablespoon of walnuts.

7. Make a kale salad with diced fresh pears and walnuts. Toss with vinaigrette.

8. Toss shaved and blanched brussels sprouts with a walnut vinaigrette. Crush ¼ cup walnuts. Sauté one minced shallot in two teaspoons walnut or olive oil Add three tablespoons rice wine vinegar or Champagne vinegar and one teaspoon Dijon mustard in a small bowl. Stir in walnuts.

9. Add walnuts to brown rice to augment the protein in vegetarian main dishes.

10. For a heart-healthy dessert, dip walnut halves in melted dark chocolate and let it cool and harden.

11. Sprinkle crushed walnuts over mashed cauliflower. (No really—try it!)

12. Make a breakfast bowl of cooked oatmeal topped with chopped walnuts and vanilla yogurt.

13. Keep a jar of walnuts on your desk to snack on throughout the day.

14. Pack several single serving-size snack bags of walnuts mixed with dried cranberries (look for the kind that doesn’t have added sugar) to keep handy for breakfast or lunch on the run.

15. Try walnut oil in salad dressings. It’s made from nuts roasted before pressing, so it has a deep nutty flavor.

Interested in other healthy nuts too? See Bottom Line’s Best Nuts for Your Health.

Got a recipe that uses walnuts that you want to share—or a tweak on the recipes here? Leave a comment below!

Copyright © 2021 Bottom Line Inc. 3 Landmark Square Suite 201 Stamford, CT 06901 Bottom Line, Inc. publishes the opinions of expert authorities in many fields These opinions are for educational and illustrative purposes only and should not be considered as either individual advice or as a substitute for legal, accounting, investment, medical and other professional services intended to suit your specific personal needs. Always consult a competent professional for answers specific to your questions and circumstances. Our content is further subject to our Terms and Conditions


Here's Why Macadamia Nuts Are So Delicious and So Crazy Expensive

Perusing the gift shop at the Kona International Airport on the Big Island of Hawaii, I searched for just the right box of macadamia nut treats to show my family I was thinking of them during my Hawaiian spa getaway. But every box I picked up displayed a sales tag that seemed to indicate I was thinking about them too much.

In other words, these macadamia-centric goodies were way expensive. And while airport gift shops aren't exactly known for their affordable deals, I quickly learned that these delicious, nutritious snacks are almost always on the pricey side. So what makes macadamias so costly and oh-so-addictive?

Macadamia Nuts Are Not Actually Nuts

First things first: Macadamias are not actually nuts. Yes, I know, it's ridiculous — it's right there in the name for goodness' sake. But much like Brazil nuts (again — what is with these misleading names?), the macadamia is in fact a seed. And although they've become a signature staple of Hawaiian agriculture, macadamias are actually native to Australia.

"Macadamia nuts are originally from Australia, but much of the early research, breeding work, and quality development were done by the University of Hawaii on the island of Hawaii," says Glenn Sako, economic development specialist with the Hawaii County Department of Research and Development. "These cultivars are suited for the Hawaii climate and do not produce the same high quality nut when grown in foreign conditions."

Why Hawaii?

"Cultivars," short for "cultivated varieties," are specific types of plants selected and cultivated by humans. In this case, the plant is a large bushy tree that starts producing macadamia nuts by the time it's about 4 or 5 years old. So how exactly did these Australian cultivars end up in Hawaii? For that, you can thank William Purvis who planted the first macadamia tree on the Big Island in 1881. Purvis didn't initially intend for the tree nuts to be a hit he planted the trees as windbreaks for the sugar cane fields. The plants were functional and also happened to be quite pretty, but no one suspected they bore such delectable and profitable fruit.

A couple of decades later, the Hawaiian Agricultural Experiment Station (HAES) was established to get new crops growing on the islands since the newly established United States territory was relying almost exclusively on sugar following the collapse of the coffee market. In the 1920s, the government offered a five-year tax exemption on land that was used solely for macadamia production, but most farmers weren't interested. That is, until roasted macadamia nuts started popping up in stores and consumers went wild. Demand for the nuts went up and the number of trees planted for nut production grew from 423 acres (170 hectares) in 1932 to 1,086 acres (440 hectares) in 1938. Sales slumped a bit after that, but by the 1950s, Hawaii was churning out macadamia goodies to snack fans throughout the world, and major companies were making a pretty penny off them.

Why Are Macadamias So Expensive?

While macadamias clearly have an interesting past and they taste heavenly coated in thick layers of chocolate, do they really merit their often exorbitant price tag? After all, at around $25 a pound, they're considered the most expensive nuts in the world. So what's the deal?

"They are expensive because they are regarded as a 'dessert nut' versus a commodity crop like almonds," Sako says. "They are not raised on the continental U.S. so the acreage is limited." In 2018, macadamias made the news for a 17 percent price increase, which Sako attributed to Hawaii's fixed harvest acreage and a higher global demand.

"It takes seven years for a macadamia nut tree to produce a crop," Sako says. "Demand remains high and prices are up to $1.20 per pound. Despite this, there is tremendous pressure on the industry. The agricultural labor shortage continues and that has caused wages and benefit costs to increase. Invasive pests such as the macadamia felted coccid continue to affect the orchard health and production. The Hawaii land prices are so high that orchard expansion is too costly and producers cannot wait for seven years. Therefore the production acreage remains steady, despite the increased demand for the nuts."

Are They Actually Good For You?

High-fat foods used to be the most demonized of all kitchen staples, but thanks to current research and slightly less hysteric marketing hype, such things as nuts, oils and seeds are getting their due as healthy options.

"Macadamia nuts are high in monounsaturated fats, low in net carbohydrates and a good source of copper, manganese and thiamin," says registered dietician Danielle Bertiger, MS, RD. "Monounsaturated fatty acids have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels (the bad kind), especially when they are used in place of saturated fats and refined carbohydrates in one's diet. Net carbs are important to consider because it clues you in on how much fiber something contains in relation to the amount of total carbohydrates present. Having more fiber is crucial to gut health. Copper assists with iron absorption and transport in the body while manganese and thiamin are essential for carbohydrate metabolism."

And while all that sounds great, we still live in a society that tends to obsess over numbers. So at 203 calories and 21.4 grams of fat per serving (a serving is about 10 to 12 nut kernels — i.e., pure nut not doused in chocolate), are macadamias really a wholesome snack?

"Although nuts are high in calories, they are also packed with fiber, heart-healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals essential to our diets," Bertiger says. "Having a small handful is a filling and nutritious snack to tide you over between meals or can be used as a way to round out a meal (i.e. on top of a salad or yogurt bowl). They are a particularly good substitute for packaged ultra-processed snacks like potato chips. Calorie for calorie, an ounce of chips and an ounce of nuts are equivalent, but the protein and fiber in the nuts will keep you energized, full and focused."

And even without the chocolate layer, macadamias have a distinct flavor profile that will likely keep you satisfied. "The delicious taste of the macadamia nut is due to its high oil content of 72 percent," Sako says. "Processors can determine the oil content by a float test — a nut with 72 percent oil will float. If the oil content is less than that, it will sink and be disposed or used another way."

"Don't fear fats!" Bertiger says. "They're essential for hormone health, optimal brain function and absorption of many nutrients."

According to Sako, macadamias aren't just a delicious treat for humans — they can be healthy snacks for rodents too. "Some pet rat owners buy the nuts in the shell to give to their rats to gnaw on," he says. "This helps to wear down the rat's teeth."


Pistachio Snacks & More

Honey Pistachio Energy Squares

Chocolate Pistachio Turkish Delight

Pistachio Nut Paste

Roasted Pistachios (Salted, No Shell)

$19.99/lb

Sweet & Spicy Chipotle Pistachios

Pistachio Flour

$24.99/lb

Pistachios are a Rich Protein Source

Most nuts contain large amounts of protein relative to their size, and pistachios are no exception. A 1-ounce serving of these nuts (approximately 49 pistachio kernels) contains 6 grams of protein (Self Nutrition Data, n.d.). Your body breaks this protein down into its constituent amino acids, which can be used to repair tissues or to create new molecules. Plus, eating protein-rich foods helps you feel satiated, reducing your cravings for unhealthy foods later on. This makes pistachios the perfect mid-afternoon snack.

They Have a Healthy Ratio of Beneficial Fatty Acids

Pistachios are a high-fat food, but that is not a bad thing. Per serving, pistachios contain 13 total grams of fat (Self Nutrition Data, n.d.). However, only 2 grams of fat are saturated fats, the unhealthy fats that are associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease (American Heart Association, 2016). The rest of the fats are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which actually protect the heart.

This includes omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fat that has been associated with lower levels of “bad” cholesterol and higher levels of “good” cholesterol (Penn State News, 2010). Pistachios contain alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), a beneficial type of omega-3 fatty acid that can also be converted to DHA and EPA, the two other forms of omega-3s that are only found in animal sources. Thus, vegetarians and vegans may eat pistachios as a source of the omega-3 fatty acids their bodies need.

Pistachios Contain Beneficial Antioxidants

As our cells grow older, they accumulate oxidative damage. This can be related to the presence of free radicals, which can cause considerable damage to cells. A class of molecules called antioxidants can sweep up these free radicals and reverse some of the cellular damage.

Pistachios are an excellent source of antioxidants, including lutein, beta-carotene, and gamma-tocopherol (Penn State News, 2010). Beta-carotene serves as a precursor to vitamin A, while gamma-tocopherol is used as a precursor to vitamin E. Both vitamin A and vitamin E themselves have very high antioxidant activity, making pistachios a great way to reap some of the oxidative damage-fighting effects of these vitamins. In a randomized study of the effects of pistachios, researchers found that incorporating these nuts into the diet was associated with lower levels of harmful LDL cholesterol (Penn State News, 2010), possibly because of the antioxidants present in pistachios.

Pistachios are a Source of the Mineral Phosphorus

Phosphorus is an element that is essential for our proper physiological functioning. Not only does phosphorus make a structural component of all cells, but it also regulates a variety of physiological reactions (Calvo, 2014). Getting enough phosphorus ensures that your cells can continue to produce energy and also strengthens the bones. A 1-ounce serving of pistachios contains 137 mg of phosphorus, 14% of the Daily Value (DV) for the nutrient (Self Nutrition Data, n.d.).

Pistachios Contain Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 has myriad health benefits. Failure to get enough vitamin B6 has been associated with elevated risk of cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and cognitive dysfunction (Office of Dietary Supplements, 2015). Thus, getting vitamin B6 through your diet may improve your cardiovascular health and keep your brain sharp. Women need 1.5 mg of vitamin B6 per day, while men need 2 mg per day. A 1-ounce serving of pistachios contains 0.4 mg of vitamin B6, helping you reach your daily recommended intake of this beneficial vitamin.


6 More Healthy, Chocolatey Snacks

For an added bonus, enjoy these six additional selections of wholesome, chocolate snacks. For more on cacao and cocoa, check out our articles on the differences between cacao and cocoa and 5 ways to use cacao powder.

Cacao Crunch Superfood Cereal

Chocolate? For Breakfast? Well, sort of. This superfood cereal features superfoods like maca root and dried reishi and combines them with a wholesome buckwheat base and a chocolaty cacao coating.

Coconut Cacao Kale Granola

Cacao can be combined with kale to create a potent food with the underlying flavor that we’ve come to love from sugar-laden chocolate treats. Enjoy this wholesome snack anytime!

Organic Raw Cacao Goji Energy Squares

Cacao pairs surprisingly well with the bittersweet goji berry in this scrumptious energy cube. Each bite is also made even more wholesome with a blend of seeds and additional fruits.



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