Should I eat nuts?

Dr Evelyn Chang, MSc, PhD, APD

2021-06-19 2 min read

In general, nuts are low-GI food, are good sources of protein, healthy fats (mono- and poly-unsaturated fats), fibers, vitamins and minerals. In fact, they are one of the go-to- plant protein food.

Nuts have been associated with lowering cholesterol level, are beneficial to Type 2 Diabetes, support heart health and weight loss.

Interesting evidence said that our body doesn’t absorb all the fat from the fats. The fat in nuts is stored in nut cell walls , which don’t easily break down during digestion. Instead, some of the fat is passed out through our faeces.

How much should we eat? Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend us to eat 30g of nuts each day. However, this will differ if someone eats more plant protein and less animal protein.

Almond and cashew are my go-to-nuts. Using nutrition calculator from nutritionvalue.org, a small handful of unsalted almonds (30g or 20 almonds provide 750KJ, 6g protein, 3g dietary fibre, 16 g fat in which 90% are healthy fat ( 65% mono-unsaturated fat, 26% poly-unsaturated fat), 6g carbohydrate, good source of calcium (78mg), magnesium (81mg), anti-oxidant vitamin E, and riboflavin. 15 (30g) cashews provide 750kJ, 5g protein, 1g dietary fibre, 14g fat (60%mono-unsaturated fat, 19% poly-unsaturated fat), 10g carbohydrate, good source of magnesium (76mg), high in copper (0.65mg).

There are many ways to enjoy nuts 🥜. I particularly like roasted unsalted nuts. Roasting the nut brings out the natural sweetness and flavour of the nuts. The easiest and fastest way to roast nuts is by using an air- fryer. I use 175 degree Celsius to roast nuts, 6-7 minutes for almonds and 4-5 minutes for cashews.

References:

1. Kim Y, Keogh JB, Clifton PM. Benefits of Nut Consumption on Insulin Resistance and Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Multiple Potential Mechanisms of Actions. Nutrients. 2017 Nov 22;9(11):1271. doi: 10.3390/nu9111271. PMID: 29165404; PMCID: PMC5707743.

2. Coates AM, Hill AM, Tan SY. Nuts and Cardiovascular Disease Prevention. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2018 Aug 9;20(10):48. doi: 10.1007/s11883-018-0749-3. PMID: 30094487.

3. Del Gobbo LC, Falk MC, Feldman R, Lewis K, Mozaffarian D. Effects of tree nuts on blood lipids, apolipoproteins, and blood pressure: systematic review, meta-analysis, and dose-response of 61 controlled intervention trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Dec;102(6):1347-56. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.110965. Epub 2015 Nov 11. PMID: 26561616; PMCID: PMC4658458.

4. Tan SY, Dhillon J, Mattes RD. A review of the effects of nuts on appetite, food intake, metabolism, and body weight. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jul;100 Suppl 1:412S-22S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.071456. Epub 2014 Jun 11. PMID: 24920033.

almond in air fryer
roasted unsalted almond and cashew
Healthy snack and plant protein

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