The Nutty Affair: Which Nuts Should You Have Daily and How Many?

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Nuts form a significant part of everyday diet for most of us. From consuming a fistful of them as a mid-day snack or sprinkling them over your favourite dessert, they provide the right amount of crunchiness to every meal. Even when on the go, a delicious salad tossed with some pine nuts or a hearty lunch of an Indian curry made from a creamy cashew paste, they undoubtedly lend a certain depth of flavour and richness to the dishes. For some it is a ritual to start the day with a bowl of yoghurt topped with a handful of almonds, or reenergize by gulping down a tall glass of badaam ka sharbat. 

It is definitely true that including nuts in your meal can do great wonders for you - they are a powerhouse of energy, full of natural fibre, proteins, minerals and even unsaturated fats. However, despite the myriad benefits, most people are afraid to consume them because of the precarious myth that they are full of calories. On the contrary, many studies reveal they can accelerate weight loss, lower your risk of higher cholesterol and even make your heart healthier. The secret behind reaping those benefits is having the right 'portion'. Get this right and you'll be munching away to a healthier you!

 

 

According to Dr. Ritika Samaddar, Dietics, Max Hospital, "The American research suggests that a person should consume one ounce of nuts per day. That is 20-25 nuts daily."

She added, "The consumption nuts should be a substitution for unhealthy snacking. Since nuts are not zero in calories, they can be consumed as a substitution for unsaturated fats. The most healthiest of all nuts are almonds, followed by walnuts and pistachios. But one should always include nuts in their diet in a recommended amount." 

Why Go For Nuts?

 

Brainy Cashew Nuts

Here's a surprising fact: not only do cashew nuts have a creamy texture but also have a lower fat content than most other nuts. Approximately 82% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids, plus about 66% of this unsaturated fatty acid content is heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Moreover, the fat content in cashew nuts is considered to be "good fats." This is due to the agreeable ratio in the nut for saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats, which researchers say is the ideal ratio for optimal health.

 

Cashews are also a good source of iron, magnesium and zinc. Iron helps deliver oxygen to all of your cells, which can prevent anaemia, and zinc is critical to immune health and healthy vision. Magnesium on the other hand helps improve memory and protects against age-related memory loss.

According to Dr.Gargi Sharma, weight-management expert, "You should have 4 to 5 cashew nuts every day. You can add them to your salad or toss them in your chicken stir-fry."

Pistachios: The Skinniest Nut

Pistachios are said to be the slimmest of all nuts with less than four calories per nut. Moreover, since they come enclosed in shells, eating them requires a little effort which slows down your pace. As a result, you tend to eat slowly rather than greedily digging into a pack without keeping a check on quantity.

Pistachios contain l-arginine, which makes the lining of your arteries more flexible thereby reducing the chances of developing blood clots that could cause heart attacks, and vitamin E, which is essential for the body.

Around 5 to 7 of them a day are considered healthy. It also provides you with 25 % of the daily value for vitamin B-6, 15 %t of the daily value for thiamine and phosphorus and 10 % of the daily value for magnesium. Add some to your fruit salad or next time you make pesto sauce for your pasta, toss in a few pistachios for a unique flavour.

Almonds: The All Rounder


A high-fat food that's good for your health? That's not an oxymoron, its almonds. They are high in monounsaturated fats, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease. Almonds contain the most fibre - about three grams per ounce - compared to other nuts, and are richest in vitamin E, a powerful anti-oxidant.

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