Nuts and Intelligent Nutrition.
July 4, 2014 Admin 1
Nuts and Intelligent Nutrition…as the saying goes, ‘The best things come in small packages’ and nuts are a great example of this. In modern times, nuts are possibly not as popular as they should be, which is unfortunate when you look at the possible health benefits of their consumption. Nut allergies, processed foods, poor eating habits and the fact that nuts are generally added to other products, rather than eaten alone, has contributed to them being consumed less. This a somewhat unfortunate news, as the current availability of studies on the health benefits of nut consumption is broad, and there exists substantial evidence to suggest that reasonable nut consumption is inversely related to a lower risk of conditions such as cardiovascular disease. Nuts are an energy dense food, high in bioactive macronutrients, micronutrients and phytochemicals. If your current nut content is fuelled by the occasional Snickers or Waldorf salad, then this article is for you…
In basic macro/micro nutrient terms, nuts are often rich in unsaturated fatty acids, fibre and high in vitamins and minerals. Evidence suggests that adding a variety of nuts to a healthy diet will increase cardio protective effects beyond a diet that does not include them. The Mediterranean diet for instance is not associated with nut intake, but including a variety of nuts boosts its already high nutritional and cardio protective benefits. Some nuts are higher in certain nutrients (some with very rich phytochemical contents) than others, but consuming a broad spectrum of them, for those (obviously) who do not have nut allergies would form part of a holistic approach to nutrition and eating.
The phytosterol content of most of them ranges from 90-300mg per 100g. Carotenes, luteins and xanthins are present in most nuts, but pistachio nuts in particular can have contents as rich as 3mg per 100g. Brazil nuts, conversely are low in carotenoids, but rich in selenium, with typical content around 1900 μg per 100g of unshelled nuts. Walnuts, besides having a favourable fat profile have an abundant phenol content including gallic acid (a tri-hydroxybenzoic acid) contents of approximately 1500mg per 100g of nuts. Gallic acid is of note because it is a particularly powerful anti-inflammatory.
Resveratrol (a stilbenoid) is usually associated with red wine, but is found quite widely in many plants ranging from the grape to Japanese knotweed. It is in peanuts though that generous levels of up to 35mg per 100g of nuts are present. Other nuts like the hazelnut and pistachio also contain resveratrol, but in comparatively lesser amounts. The phytochemical profiles of common nuts are still incomplete at present, so the nutritional content is likely to be greater than first presumed, even though the current benefits of nut consumption shows contents often rich in health promoting compounds.
If you are planning or following a nutrient dense eating plan, following some of the advice within The Lucid Nutritionist, you have probably already made inroads into improving your health way beyond following regular nutritional advice. Adding a variety of nuts, just like incorporating a range of fruits and vegetables, into your diet is a proactive way of ensuring maximum nutrient delivery and promoting health.
As there are so many essential nutrients, the way in which you should plan your nutrition is sometimes concerning yourself about what you don’t eat, rather than what you do eat. What this means is, although your diet may be ‘healthy’ and balanced, you may be lacking in certain nutrients than even someone on a diet considered less ‘healthy’ may be getting. Or in other words, it can sometimes be what you don’t eat than can be the problem, than what you do eat. Such a concept often alludes those with only a basic knowledge of nutrition, as they are unaware of much beyond macronutrient ratios, vitamins and minerals !
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