Nuts have always been a popular snack – that’s why they’re a staple at many bars, pubs and the buffet table! As well as being tasty, nuts also have great nutritional value and can be a great addition to your diet. Next time you head for a sugary snack, consider a handful of healthier nuts instead as a great way to lose weight and get the nutrients you need.
1. They are a healthy alternative to processed snacks
As a natural snack, nuts already have benefits over processed snacks. If you’re feeling peckish mid-morning or need an afternoon pick me up, you can enjoy a small quantity of nuts as a way to tide you over. They make great energy boosters and can be a beneficial part of your diet provided you don’t go overboard!
2. They are rich in vitamins and minerals
Nuts are a great source of vitamins and minerals. Almonds for example contain vitamin E, calcium and flavonoids, whilst Brazil nuts contain selenium which helps to boost your immunity. Cashews meanwhile contain zinc and iron which make them great for vegetarian diets and pistachios contain vitamin B6, which helps to balance hormones.
3. They contain healthy fats and omega-3s
Nuts are rich in healthy unsaturated fats, which can help to improve your diet compared to those who consume saturated fats. It’s these healthy fats which contain omega-3s, which have a number of benefits for your health including boosting brain function, as well as being essential for good heart health.
4. They could help to prevent blood clots
Nuts contain an amino acid called L-arginine, which has been proven to help boost bodily function through relaxing blood vessels and making them flexible, helping to prevent blockages. Walnuts, almonds and peanuts (the unsalted variety!) are known to have the highest l-arginine levels.
5. Nuts contain fibre
Fibre is an essential part of our diets in ensuring healthy bowel function. Fibre can also help us maintain regular blood sugar levels, limiting our need for sweet treats – perfect for those of us trying to watch our weight! Their low-glycaemic content also means they’re a good source of nutrition to help prevent type 2 diabetes.
6. They can help to lower cholesterol
Nuts contain lipoprotein-lowering properties. When consumed in high quantities, lipoproteins can lead to high cholesterol levels. By consuming nuts as part of a balanced diet, you can help to reduce your cholesterol levels. Maintaining low cholesterol is important for looking after your heart, and if you’re concerned that you may have high cholesterol, you should consult your doctor and take steps to reduce it.
Nuts are a handy snack to have around the house, in your desk drawer or in your bag. They have a long shelf life so they are convenient snacks, but can also be added to curries, pasta dishes, smoothies and more to help ensure you get the right nutrients and all the health benefits that nuts offer.
Do you want nuts to be a more regular part of your diet? Try these tasty recipe suggestions which feature nuts as a key ingredient in your home cooking, but remember to eat them in small doses because of their fat content.