Have you had your handful yet?
Throughout history, nuts have been a food staple around the world as an integral part of different cuisines providing rich flavours that complement just about anything from herbs and spices to fruit and veg, cheese or meat. There are a variety to choose from almonds, Brazils, cashews, coconuts, hazels, macadamias, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts.
Nuts are cholesterol free and a bounty of important nutrients including protein and fibre. They’re also a great source of vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, niacin, Vitamin E and Vitamin B6, magnesium, copper, zinc, selenium, phosphorous and potassium. Some nuts, including almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and Brazils are good sources of antioxidants such as vitamin E and selenium. Several recent studies show that vitamin E, specifically, may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
Nuts are relatively high in fat. Nonetheless, most of that fat is unsaturated! Unsaturated fats, which include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can actually reduce LDL, low density lipoprotein better known as “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood. Recent studies have indicated that nuts may play an important role in reducing the risk of heart disease as part of a controlled healthy diet.
Variation is the spice of life! Adding nuts to your meal can give it a surprise twist besides a great taste. Here are a few tips how to include more nuts in your diet:
Go vegetarian – Toss nuts into stir-fries, salads, pesto and pasta as they offer a rich source of protein.
Add crunch – sprinkle your favourite chopped nuts over a bowl of soup, salads, vegetable based dishes and family casseroles to provide a nutritional boost to your meal
Go nutty at breakfast – choose a nut based muesli for breakfast or sprinkle nuts over your booster or porridge
Great partners – serve your favourite nuts as part of a cheese platter, as an appetiser or as an accompaniment to your favourite dessert
Nuts are always a hit and a most welcome addition to just about any food as they are as tasty as they are versatile. Furthermore, eating just a handful of nuts a day can help you suppress cravings and stop snacking on calorie laden snacks.
So have you had your handful today?