Is it nutty going nuts?
Absolutely not! Rather, snacking on controlled portions of wisely chosen nuts can significantly contribute to your wellbeing.Updated: Apr 05, 2010, 00:54 IST
Studies show that if included regularly in diet, especially by women, nuts can greatly help them in staying healthy. Even though all nuts are not created equal, yet almost all are beneficial — owing their potential to promote health to quality nutrients present in them like proteins, fibre, vitamins and minerals and above all antioxidants, which help in neutralising those harmful radicals in our body that cause age related degeneration.
The only scary factor is their fat content, which is notoriously high, but as nuts are generally low in cholesterol and rich in unsaturated fats, they are rather heart friendly.
Points to ponder
Walnuts help in reducing LDL because of high levels of Omega-3s in them, whereas pistachios help in lowering the absorption of cholesterol even from other foods. Almonds are rich in important antioxidants and along with pistachios, they possibly help in keeping pounds at bay because of their high fibre content. Peanuts are a good source of antioxidants that can reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes. They also provide protection against Alzheimer’s disease and age related cognitive decline. Even cashew is good, as it has the distinction of promoting cardiovascular health in individuals with diabetes because of oleic acid present in it.
No doubt, nuts make a great on-the-go snack. They are healthy and deserve an honoured place in our kitchen. But unfortunately, ‘healthy’ does not equal ‘calorie free’. Due to their high fat and protein content, nuts are packed with calories. Also because they taste so well, it is tough not to over eat them.
Then how to reap their health benefits and yet not add excessive calories to one’s intake? Use them only for replacing other fatty foods, choose in-shell nuts as their consumption is slow and more satisfying and most importantly, stay in moderation — limiting the intake to no more than a handful a day, also sticking only to raw unsalted variety.
Kavita Wadhwa is a nutrition expert and author of several books and articles on the subject. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org