If you’ve been around my blog much you’ll know I’m a fan of fats.
Besides being a great source of healthy fats, they are also full of fiber and are packed with a punch of protein.
Not to mention – nuts truly make the perfect snack.
Nuts are a great source of insoluble fiber which will help move food through the digestive tract and acts as a bulking agent in your stool. Aka: it will help you have nicely formed poops.
This mineral is in high quantities in most nuts. Manganese helps the body form connective tissue, plays a part in bone formation, blood clotting factors, and helps to generate sex hormones. Manganese aids carbohydrate metabolism, blood sugar regulation, and calcium absorption.
L-arginine is an amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins. It also plays an important role in reducing arterial plaque buildup, platelet clumping, and increasing blood flow through our arteries.
Nuts are important sources of tocopherols and phenolic compounds with potent antioxidant effects. Antioxidants help to fight oxidation and free radicals in the body.
full of fat
Out of the three macronutrients, fats make up the majority of the calories. The caloric breakdown of walnuts, for instance, are six percent carbohydrates, 14 percent protein, and 80 percent fat.
Nuts are a rich source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They are higher in omega-6 than omega-3 but they contain zero trans fats. Unsaturated fats = lowers cholesterol.
nuts and phytic acid
what is phytic acid?
Just like grains and legumes, nuts to contain phytic acid. Phytic acid is an enzyme inhibitor that can prevent certain nutrients from being absorbed properly in the digestive tract.
Nuts are able to sit in our fridge without sprouting and growing into trees because of phytic acid. It inhibits the germination process from spontaneously happening.
If you eat a bit of nuts here and there you don’t have to worry about phytic acid. However, if nuts cause you to become bloated or nauseous, there are ways to make these little guys easier to digest.
To reduce the phytic acid in nuts we have to start the germination process. Essentially we are soaking and sprouting nuts.
For instance, if I want to eat almonds this is what I’ll do. I cover a cup of nuts in filtered water and let them soak for six hours. Then I drain the water, rinse the nuts, and put them in a glass container in my fridge. I snack on those plump refreshing nuts whenever I was over the course of a few days.
If you want to preserve those nuts you can pop them in a dehydrator to remove the water and keep them from molding.
The other method to help reduce phytic acid is to quickly dry roast nuts in the oven at low heat (to avoid burning the monounsaturated oils in the nuts).
guide to buying nuts and nut products
When buying nuts its very simple. Just buy the nut. Forget the packaged products that offer a hint of honey or lightly roasted and salted snacks.
Often times the front of product packaging is quite deceiving. There can be a lot of extra additives lurking in the ingredients. Turn to the back of the package and look at the list. Buying raw nuts allows you to have a blank canvas for all of your nut recipe needs. Making nut milk from roasted salted almonds isn’t going to cut it, trust me I’ve tried.
I know it’s difficult to make nut milk look appetizing on store shelves. The liquid separates and the color is lackluster. Thickening agents are added to make the texture like that of regular milk (hello carrageenan) and sugar is the only way to make quinoa taste sweet in your cereal.
If you’re looking for a dairy milk alternative I always advocate making your own nut milk at home, but if you’re in a pinch, pick the product with the shortest ingredient list.
Always flip straight to the ingredient list when buying nut butter. Are you starting to sense some redundancy in my shopping tips?
Generally, there should only be one ingredient on that list, the nut itself. If the nut butter has any added oils or sweeteners it’s a hard pass on that product.
• raw not roasted
• no added sweeteners
• avoid carrageenan
• less sugar the better
• smallest ingredient list
• only one ingredient: nuts
• avoid added salt, sweeteners,
and oils on the ingredient list
how many nuts should you eat?
It’s pretty basic. We’ll go back to the topic of moderation and stick with 2-3 tablespoons per day.
Obviously, almond milk isn’t a significant source of nuts. It’s like a processed watered down version of the real thing. This is why I stick with the whole nut or I snack on a bit of almond butter.