Nuts, nuts and nuts! Nuts of different kinds are often touted for being ‘superfoods’, chock-full of vitamins and minerals that are great for you.
Walnuts, peanuts, almonds and pistachios! A growing number of snackers are preferring to replace their chips and dips with raw nuts, salted or even flavoured nuts! While nuts are indeed healthier than the usual snacks we consume, there is a big difference between roasted, salted and baked, among others. To start with, let’s put down the crisps and chips and slowly start replacing them with nuts. Here’s a run down of the more commonly available nuts and what they can do for you!
Raw or whole almonds taste nothing like the ‘essence’ flavour you get from almond pudding or biscuits, usually. For health’s sake, unsalted ones would be best. Besides aiding in lowering cholesterol, it also contains Vitamin E, an anti-oxidant. One serving (7 almonds) has more calcium than any other nuts. Got some extra pounds you’re looking to shed? Almonds have the lowest fat content, compared to their peers.
Pistachio has been worked into pretty much every dessert in the market; cakes, ice cream, souffles, tarts – you name it! While they taste great, pistachios might not be the best for our arteries due to their fat content. However, pistachios are high in fibre and potassium, which help maintain your fluid and electrolyte balance. It is also great for the heart, eye, skin and even nervous system.
Cashews provide protein and other minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium (essential for healthy bones as well) and copper. These help to improve age related memory loss, and control weight gain. Cashews also have a lower fat content compared to their peers, while possessing the monounsaturated fats and antioxidants to fend against heart diseases.
The Chinese believe eating whatever food that looks like an organ in the human body will help its function, hence pig’s brain soup and all that grizzly stuff. I completely subscribe to this belief (even though I do not eat Kueh Chap). Walnuts tend to loo like the human brain, and is actually very good for brain health, and memory retention! Walnuts contain omega-3 fats which supports brain health. Like almonds it contains anti oxidants, helps weight control, aids heart health and also cancer fighting properties.
Also a rich source of mono-unsaturated fats and dietary fibre, macadamias might have the highest amount of fat and calorie content among the nuts family. It also contains traces of minerals such as calcium, iron, copper, chromium and zinc.
However, another thing to note is that, do try to choose those that are dry roasted, preferably without oil and as little salt as possible. You can find these nuts in health, organic food stores or section in supermarkets. Let’s go nuts!