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by inKin
01 Dec

The Best Superfoods A-Z: N is for Nuts

Have you ever wondered what the diet of a prehistoric man was like? Fruits, vegetables, roots, meat, seeds and … nuts. Recent archaeological findings have shown that as long as 780,000 years ago, prehistoric man was using seven types of nuts in the diet. Thus nuts can genuinely be called the original superfoods as no “stone age menu” would be complete without them.

Mostly popular in Mediterranean cuisine, nowadays nuts are added to all kinds of fancy dishes - from crispy almond fish to hazelnut risotto. And what can beat a handful of nuts when you are looking for healthy and on the go snack? Pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans... all of them are packed with essential nutrients boosting brain and heart work, controlling blood sugar level and giving a lot of energy. 

Nutrition facts 

As it is said, everything is good in moderation. It is more than true when we are speaking about nuts. Keep in mind that 100g of mixed nuts contains 617 calories, and most of these calories are fats. Yes, most of those fats are “good” fats. However, for a balanced diet, a tablespoon of nuts a day is just enough to get all the daily nutritional benefits they have. Raw nuts are preferable if you don’t want to gain calories and to spoil the healthy benefits of this superfood. 

Thus, 100g of mixed nuts contain: 

  • Carbohydrates: 7.9g

  • Protein: 22.9g

  • Fat: 54.1g

  • Fibre: 6g

 

The Health Benefits of Nuts

Nut-Brain Connection

Eating more nuts may improve brain health and reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts are the top nuts for boosting brain health and preventing problems with cognitive functions related to ageing. In fact, daily nuts consumption improves memory and thinking. The connection between nuts consumption and brain work is conditioned by the high level of antioxidants, especially vitamin E and Omega 3 acids. 

 

Longer Life 

Studies have shown that people who include nuts in their daily diet have a lower death rate than people who don’t use nuts. The reason why the consumption of nuts results in longer life has not been yet fully revealed. However, what probably boosts longevity are the disease-fighting vitamins /including vitamin E/ and minerals as well as fibre and antioxidants. 

 

Heart Health

One of the large-scale researches on the connection between nut consumption and heart health have shown that people who use nuts regularly have a lower risk of having cardiovascular diseases and heart attack. Why are nuts so good for your heart? They contain a healthy or so-called “the right kind of” fats which helps to lower the cholesterol level and thus protect the heart. 

 

Weight Control 

Did you know that nuts could be an excellent weight-losing snack? It helps to control appetite as the high level of protein and fat provides satiation for a longer period of time and reduces hunger cravings.  

 

Beet Salad with Walnuts and Cheese

Nuts, together with other plant-based foods, are an essential part of the famous Mediterranean diet. However, you do not need to travel /especially nowadays/ to taste the famous Mediterranean cuisine. Add nuts not only to morning granola but also to different dishes and salads making them not only healthy and nutritious but also incredibly delicious. 

This unique mix of beets, walnuts and goat cheese will definitely bring the Mediterranean lifestyle to your kitchen.  

Ingredients:

  • 2 large beets

  • ⅓ extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 

  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

  • ½ cup goat cheese 

  • 1 /10 ounce/ mixed salad greens

  • salt and black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Put the beets with water and salt to boil until tender. Allow the beets to cool then slice into bite-sized wedges.

  2. In a bowl whisk the vinegar, oil, black pepper and salt. 

  3. Add the beets, salad greens and walnuts to the dressing. 

  4. Top with the goat cheese 

 

 

Photo Credit: Depositphotos

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