Why Go Nuts?


By that I mean the eating kind. It’s one of the snacks I regularly have to hand both at the gym and home to help me stave off the hunger pangs and my craving for sugary treats.

But the humble nut is not just a fillip; we all know that nuts like most healthy snacks are good for us in moderation however latest studies suggest they are as close as you can get to a super food, but why?

Well, they are packed full of cancer-fighting anti-oxidants and minerals such as copper, zinc, iron and magnesium, which are all needed for our organs to function effectively. They are an exceptionally good source vitamins E and B, and ooze omega 3 fatty acids.

And yes nuts are fatty but they mostly contain ‘good’ fats which can in moderation reduce the risk of strokes and heart disease. And another bonus, they are high in fibre so they fill you up for longer than those sugary snacks.

Eat a variety of nuts as they all have their own combination of nutrients, and try to keep away from the processed salted or roasted ones. Below is a quick rundown of the properties of the more common varieties;

Almonds –  Good for protein, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper and the vitamin niacin and vitamin E great for the skin, eyes and immune system. Packed full of calcium, Almonds are brilliant for strong healthy bones and teeth. They are the best source of protein of all the common nuts.

Brazils –   These have similar nutrients to Almonds but also contain the mineral selenium, vital for fighting disease and healing wounds. Higher in calories than most other nuts they make a good source of instant energy for athletes. But did you know that Brazils are technically classed as seeds and not nuts.

Cashews –    Cashews are particularly rich in iron and zinc. Zinc helps the immune system while iron helps the blood transport oxygen around the body. Cashews have a lower fat content than most nuts and most of that fat is oleic acid, the heart healthy substance found in olive oil.

Peanuts –   It may be the most popular of nut, but technically the peanut is not a nut at all – it is a legume like a pea, bean and lentil which grows in small bushes. Peanuts are fantastically good for you. They have the same levels of cancer busting antioxidants as strawberries. They are high in good mono-saturated fat and are an excellent source of protein. However many of the heart health benefits are wiped out if you eat them smothered in salt.