Nuts & oil seeds are Mother Nature’s nutrient loaded wonderful parcel that our body requires in the maintenance of optimum health. Particularly in a vegetarian diet, eating a handful of unsalted nuts & oilseeds at least five times a week is now considered to be acceptable. At an earlier time, they were not regarded as potential components of a healthy diet because of their quite high fat and calorie content. All nuts are powerhouses of biologically active substances, most of which protect and promote health & wellbeing. They come in all different sizes, shapes and colours. On an average most varieties of nuts would comprise more or less 600 kcal per 100g. They are thus concentrated source of energy. Some nuts like chestnuts in contrast have less than 200 kcal per 100g. They are extremely rich source of antioxidants, healthy oils, protein, dietary fibre, dormant enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Although nuts are high in calories yet they offer wholesome health when eaten in moderation, over eating may lead to complications. As a matter of fact, salted nuts are liable to contain high amounts of allergens, oxalates, aflatoxins and trypsin inhibitors. Therefore, one should cautiously buy the unsalted good quality nuts that are healthier and easier to digest.
Close to pulses & legumes, nuts & oilseeds offer an abundant supply of essential amino acids and healthy fatty acids. However, most of the fatty acids in nuts are monounsaturated. A number of scientific studies have shown that replacement of saturated fatty acids in the diet by monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids can reduce blood levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL or the ‘bad’ cholesterol) and increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL or the ‘good’ cholesterol).
In current scenario, eating comfort foodstuff (cheese loaded snacks, ice cream and other processed foods) is a difficult temptation to resist. Eating nuts and seeds is a healthier replacement rather than munching on other unhealthy fried snacks, chips & wafers, etc. As they aren’t meant to make full-meal, but a small snack to derive any benefit. And also, nuts tend to provide a sense of fullness and satisfaction thereby limiting hunger pangs and cravings to consume other high calorie foodstuffs. Consuming nuts and seeds in their natural form is more beneficial as compared to roasting, frying or adding salts and flavours.
Serving size: 15-20 g/day
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