If you are trying to cut back on the amount of junk food you eat and get your health kick in full swing then nuts could be the answer to all your prayers. These tiny but effective little nibbles are so good for you but are often shunned by people who think they are high in fat and therefore unhealthy. Don’t listen to these people. Yes, nuts have some fat in them but this is good fat as I will explain now.
Ok, let’s start by looking at what kinds of fats are found in nuts and dispel the myth that you shouldn’t be eating them. Most nuts contain unsaturated fats. This either comes in the form of polyunsaturated fats or monounsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats, when eaten in moderation and used to replace saturated fats can lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. That’s not to say that saturated fats are automatically bad, but unsaturated fats are better.
Walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, pistachios and pecans are all packed with unsaturated fat and a handful of any of these will not only fill you up but is actually a healthy snack. Brazil nuts, cashews and macadamia nuts are high in saturated fat and eating too many of these can actually raise cholesterol so try and think of these types of nuts as a once in a while treat rather than a daily snack.
But, nuts don’t just offer a variety of different fats, they are also filled with fibre and protein, which make them much more satisfying to snack on than cakes and biscuits. Plus, you won’t feel like garbage after eating a handful of nuts, but you might if you devour that entire can of Pringles.
So, we have established that nuts are a good snack. They fill you up; they taste good; and they won’t ruin your waistline. But, nuts come with a few words of caution. Here is what you need to bear in mind if you are planning on making nuts your go to snack in the future.
Whether saturated or unsaturated, too much fat is still not great for your body. It can make you gain weight when consumed in large quantities and can lead to other health complications. You also need to pay attention to nuts that are covered in salt or have a honey glaze as these will add on additional calories and may counter the nutritional benefits of the nuts.
Eating plain nuts is the best but that doesn’t mean they need to be boring. Lightly dry frying nuts can bring out the flavour more fully and a dash of paprika can transform a nut into something far more delicious than you ever anticipated. Just don’t roast them in oil or you will have all of the calories from the oil that they have absorbed to contend with.
In conclusion, nuts are an excellent snack but you need to watch how many you eat. A small handful in one go is about the maximum you should consume and they should be unsalted and not roasted. If you think you might struggle to stick to a moderate portion, buy nuts that are still in their shell. Cracking nuts open is time-consuming and may encourage you to eat fewer.