Vital Role of Nut Meats in Health Benefits and Nutritious Dishes
Nuts are an integral part of our daily diet plans. From being a rarely consumed commodity, nuts have occupied a prominent place in our kitchenette.
Tree nuts, plant-based proteins, are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These nuts are a wealthy source of heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and help to lower cholesterol levels. There are various other healthy diet foods that contain heart-healthy fats and their details can be fetched from the link www.firsteatright.com.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that consuming 42.5 grams per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol helps to reduce the risk of heart disease. Almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts are included in this category as these nuts contain less than 4 grams of saturated fat for a 50-gram serving.
Nuts are excellent snacking options for weight management, when consumed with keeping the portion size in mind. Nuts are both healthy and calorie-dense. As 28 grams of nuts contain anywhere between 160 calories to 200 calories, these should be used as a replacement for other foods, particularly those high in saturated fat. For optimal result, you can consume between 28 grams to 56 grams a day.
We can simply categorize nuts as a single category with its benefits, but each nut is unique by itself and has varying nutrients, texture, taste, origin and culinary use. Given below is a concise summary of nut meats from a world renowned magazine.
(Approximately 49 nuts per 28-gram serving)
Pistachios are packed with antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin. Decrease your consumption rate by eating in-shell. This bright colored nut, a native to Middle East, makes an excellent addition to salads, grain dishes and is a great coating for meats.
(Approximately 23 nuts per 28-gram serving)
Almonds are rich in vitamin E, magnesium, calcium and folate. Almonds can be consumed in any form — whole, sliced, blanched to remove skins and as a flour, paste or butter. Though California is the major contributor of almonds, providing about 80 percent of world’s supply, almonds are relished in savory and sweet dishes all over the world.
(Approximately 18 nuts per 28-gram serving)
Cashews are loaded with copper and magnesium. These are soft in consistency with a sweet flavor. Cashews have a South American origin, but were introduced by colonists to Africa and India. These are mostly a snacking option and can be eaten in raw or roasted form. Cashews occupy a predominant place in Asian recipes and are used for making rich, creamy nut butter or vegan cheese.
(Approximately 10-12 nuts per 28-gram serving)
Macadamias, rich in magnesium, are from the subtropical rain forests of Australia. This nut is high in fat, with the positive part being that 17 of the 22 grams are monounsaturated. This nut has a buttery taste and a smooth texture which makes it a great snack. Macadamias can be eaten raw, roasted, baked into cookies or coated with chocolate.
(Approximately 6 nuts per 28-gram serving)
Brazil nuts grow wild on trees in Amazon rain forests. Being the largest nut eaten widely, these are rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats with more that 100 percent of the daily dose of antioxidant selenium contained in them. They have a rich and creamy texture which makes them a great snacking option, in raw or roasted forms, and are also used in confections.
(Approximately 167 nuts per 28-gram serving)
Pine nuts are soft in texture and can be found inside the cone of several varieties of pine trees. These nuts are packed with vitamin E and phosphorus. Italian cuisine, especially pesto, makes utmost use of pine nuts. Their light and delicate flavor goes well with pastas, salads, sautés, breads and other baked goods.
(Approximately 21 nuts per 28-gram serving)
Hazelnuts, or filberts, are great sources of vitamin, copper, manganese and monounsaturated fats. Hazelnuts are available in various forms such as in-shell, whole, diced, sliced and are used in gluten-free baking. Chocolates taste yummy when paired with this nut. These nuts go well with savory, citrus and sweet flavors and can be used in confections.
(Approximately 19 halves per 28-gram serving)
Pecans are abundant in antioxidants and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Sweet, mellow flavor and meaty texture are characteristic of pecans which go well with salads, sweets such as pralines and pecan pie and serve as an excellent coating for fish.
(Approximately 14 halves per 28-gram serving)
Walnuts are predominantly used in Mediterranean regions as they play a vital role in maintaining the health of people used to this style of eating. Walnuts are full of antioxidants and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based form of omega-3. Walnuts can be seasoned sweet or hot to give an enticing flavor while walnut oils can be used in dressings and sautés.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.