Healthy eating is not just about losing weight and looking good. It is about loads more, like meeting all your nutritional needs to promote good health and well-being. It is about making good diet choices, an important component of which is the ingredients used in the meals. Nuts are an example of a highly hutritious food which can be added to a healthy balanced diet to promote positive health outcomes and well-being. Biologically, nuts are plant seeds and some grow on trees, whilst others, like peanuts, grow under ground. In nutrition terms all nuts are important regardless of whether they grow underground or on trees.
A lot of people are hung up on nut allergies and do not realise how nutritionally excellent nuts can be, as part of a healthy balanced diet. When it comes to eating nuts balance is crucial, as they have both benefits and drawbacks.
Nutritional Benefits Of Nuts
Nuts are an excellent source of vitamin E, which is a good antioxidant and protects our cells from free radical damage.
Nuts are a good source of vitamin B (thiamine, pyridoxine and niacin), which are particularly needed for protein, fat and energy metabolism.
Nuts are a good source of proteins, but they do not have the whole range of amino acids the body needs to manufacture its own proteins.
They are rich in minerals including phosphorus, iron, copper and potassium.
Some nuts, like walnuts have been shown to lower blood cholesterol, and therefore, reduce the risk of heart disease.
Drawback Of Nuts
Far more information here – health article
Nuts are calorie-dense, meaning that you don’t have to eat too many to exceed your calorie needs. This is because they contain a lot of fat, in the form of unsaturated fatty acids. A 100g portion of most varieties of nuts can contain as much as over 500 calories! Their redeeming factor is that the fat they contain is healthy unlike saturated fats, usually found in animal products.
Another significant disadvantage of nuts, especially peanuts, is their allergies which can be fatal/life threatening. Up to about 0.5% of people are thought to be allergic to nuts, with the incident rising, all the time, among young children.
Roasting nuts destroys the vitamins they contain, reducing their nutritional goodness but still maintains their energy content and therefore potentially rendering them unhealthy. This is further compounded when they are salted, which is all too common with salted, roasted nut snacks. In spite of these drawbacks, nuts do provide a lot of nutrients, which could be of particular interest to vegetarians and vegans, who have no access to animal sources of nutrients. Fresh nuts straight from the shells are probably the healthiest as they are salt-free and their vitamins are still intact and undamaged by cooking. If you are not allergic to nuts, then fresh nuts can be a good nutritious snack.