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Lose weight? Reduce inflammation? Improve cholesterol? Lets go nuts!

Lose weight? Reduce inflammation? Improve cholesterol? Lets go nuts!

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If you regularly consume nuts, the science shows that it’s likely you are well on your way to good health. Eating nuts as part of your daily diet assists weight management and can help protect against type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Furthermore, consumption of a variety of nuts may help reduce inflammation found in the body. So, which nuts are best? How many should I consume?
Find a run-down below:

Almonds:
A great source of monounsaturated fats, fibre, vitamin E, calcium, the amino acid arginine (which is part of protein), antioxidants and phytochemical. They help reduce cholesterol, reduce oxidative stress, and improve blood glucose control and digestive health along with reducing inflammation. 1 serve of almonds is 20 nuts, or 30g. Try adding them to porridge, mixing with yoghurt as a snack, using almond meal instead of flour or simply snacking on them on their own!

Brazil:
Fantastic source of mono and polyunsaturated fats, calcium, selenium, magnesium, zinc, arginine and fibre. Like almonds, they are useful at improving cholesterol levels and aiding digestive health. In particular, Brazil nuts are the best source of selenium which may reduce the risk of heart disease and boost the immune system. They’re great for skin and hair due to their high content of zinc, and bones due to magnesium and calcium. Like most nuts, they also assist with weight maintenance. A serve of Brazil nuts is 30g, or 10 nuts. Try ABC spread (Almond, Brazil and Cashew nuts spread), chopped and mixed in with your cereal, or as a crunchy addition to any salad.

Thanks to free digital photos for the picture Thanks to free digital photos for the picture

Cashews:
Are a low GI nut which is a good source of plant protein, monounsaturated fat, copper and zinc. Thus, they help with weight management, reducing risk of heart disease and support healthy hair, skin and nails. They are also a good source of magnesium and iron. Raw cashews have the lowest natural chemical content of all nuts, so a go good choice for people with food chemical intolerance. A serve of cashews is 30g or approximately 15 cashews. Try making your own cashew nut butter by blending in a food processer, add into stirfries or combine with other nuts to have as a tasty snack.

Hazelnuts:
Like other nuts, hazelnuts provide monounsaturated fats, are rich in dietary fibre, plant protein, antioxidants and phytochemicals. They are also a great source or vitamin E, copper and manganese, and contain omega 3 fatty acids. They assist with reducing triglyceride and cholesterol levels, great for skin and nerve function and assist with weight loss. A serve of hazelnuts is 30g or 20 nuts. Try mixing with other nuts and grains to make a breakfast cereal, using hazelnut meal to make your next cake, or dipping in dark chocolate.

Macadamia nuts:
A wonderful source of monounsaturated fat and omega 3 fatty acids, fibre, potassium, manganese, thiamin and plant sterols. They are useful at reducing risk of heart disease, oxidative stress and inflammation, building strong bones and also aid in weight management. A serve of macadamias is 30g or 15 nuts. Try adding to salads, using crushed as a crispy crust on fish or chicken or mixing with other nuts and seeds to make your morning muesli.

Pecans:
A rich source of mono and polyunsaturated fats (including omega 3s), plant sterols, iron, zinc and fibre, along with plant protein. They assist with weight loss, improve heart health, are great for digestion and fantastic for the skin, hair and nails. A serve of pecans is 30g or 15 nuts. Try making pecan pie, mixing with yoghurt for a snack or use when making pesto.

Walnuts:
The richest plant source of omega 3 (the only other nuts are hazelnuts, pecans and macadamias), and are high in potassium, protein (especially arginine) and antioxidants. They assist with brain health, reduce inflammation and keep blood vessels healthy. A serve of walnuts is 30g, or 10 whole nuts. Try crumbling into rocket pear and parmesan salad, using as a stuffing for your roast chicken, or mixing with other nuts and seeds, berries and yoghurt for a delicious treat!

For some great recipe ideas, head to Nuts for Life, and download their free recipe book!

How do you include your daily dose?

Chloe McLeod is a dietitian at BJC Health.
This blog focuses on diet & nutrition generally and diet & nutrition in relation to the treatment of arthritis and arthritis-related diseases. Contact us if you'd like our help in managing diet-related health issues.

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