Nutrition experts agree that chestnuts, walnuts, and hazelnuts are some of the most nutritious foods around. They're packed with energy, and they have many health benefits.
You should eat around 30g of nuts every day to keep your heart healthy. Eating more than this isn't necessary, as nuts are quite caloric (approximately 600kcal per 100g). All types of nuts have this health benefit, including: cashew, macadamia, pecan, pistachio, Brazil nut, almond, pine nut, peanut. When eating nuts, avoid adding too much chocolate, salt or caramel to them.
Eating nuts will help you live longer
- Walnuts are a good source of fiber, protein, unsaturated fats, minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron), as well as vitamins B and E. For example, 25 g of hazelnuts is 10% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium and zinc.
- Chestnuts have a special place because they are low in calories (200 kcal per 100 g) but high in carbohydrates (around 40%). They should be eaten in moderation, especially by diabetics. They are also an exception among nuts because they are high in vitamin C.
In general, walnuts, Brazil nuts, and hazelnuts are all good for you. Walnuts contribute to healthy hair, skin, and nails. Brazil nuts contain a lot of selenium and are indicated as an alternative to meat in a vegetarian diet. Hazelnuts are also a good source of protein.
But of course it is not only vegetarians who benefit from nuts. They are recommended to anyone who values a healthy diet.
Thanks to their healthy fat content, including omega-3, walnuts contain arginine, an amino acid that helps keep blood vessels healthy. This can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as lower "bad" (LDL) cholesterol levels.
According to researchers from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, eating nuts can help improve overall health and decrease the chances of developing certain diseases such as diabetes, respiratory disorders, neurodegenerative conditions, and certain types of cancer.
A separate research study observed that consuming 28 g of nuts daily was associated with a 20% decrease in the risk of premature death, but the researchers were unable to prove a direct cause-and-effect, as other variables such as diet and physical activity may be contributing factors.
Roasted or grilled nuts?
It is possible to eat some nuts raw, such as walnuts and Brazil nuts, while others are fried in oil, giving them the name "roasted" nuts. Although this cooking process can result in the loss of some minerals and vitamins, the nuts do not absorb additional fat, as they are already dense (45 to 70%, depending on the type of nut) and mainly consist of healthy unsaturated fats, apart from coconuts.
The best way to benefit from the many nutrients in nuts is to eat them raw, pure, and as fresh as possible. Roasting nuts removes some of their nutrients.
Eating nuts can help you feel full quickly. They can be added to breakfast cereals or enjoyed as a snack. Nuts also give a crunchy texture and flavor to salads and yogurt. Crushed walnuts, almond flakes or toasted almonds make a nutritious and tasty topping for a variety of dishes like meat, and fish. Walnuts can also be used as an attractive garnish on a cheese platter.
Read also: 10 Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss
Three nut-based recipe ideas
1. Blue Cheese, Beetroot and Hazelnut Salad
- 1 large red beetroot
- 1 piece of light-flavored blue cheese (stilton, gorgonzola or fourme d'Ambert for example)
- 1 handful of nuts
- 1 red onion
- olive oil
- apple vinegar
- Cook the red beetroot (use the tines of a fork or spade to check for doneness), let it cool and peel it. Then cut the beetroot into small cubes about a centimetre thick.
- Thinly slice the onion, crumble the cheese and nuts and mix with the diced beetroot. Season with olive oil, vinegar, pepper and salt (only a little, as the cheese already contains a lot of it).
If you want to give your salad a bit more texture, add some wheat salad and pieces of apple or kohlrabi. Small cubes of bacon or julienned Italian ham (e.g. San Daniele cheese) are ideal.
2. Hazelnut burger
- 1 piece of ciabatta (as big as the hamburger)
- 1 lean burger
- 1 slice of gruyère or emmental cheese
- 1 tablespoon liquid honey
- 1 handful of roasted hazelnuts
- 1 tablespoon whole yogurt (Greek)
- artichoke hearts (canned)
- Cook the hamburger on both sides and season with pepper and salt.
- Cut the artichokes into strips. Mix the honey with the yogurt. Slice the ciabatta and spread the lower half with the yogurt and honey mixture.
- Put the hamburger on top, then the slice of cheese and then the artichoke. Finish with the roasted walnut slices and cover with the top of the ciabatta.
3. Avocado caprese salad with peanuts
- 1 scoop of buffalo mozzarella
- 1 or 2 tomatoes (beef heart or fleshy tomato)
- ½ avocado
- about ten peanuts
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
Slice the mozzarella, tomatoes and avocado and arrange them on a plate. Season with salt and pepper, olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with peanut chips. Finish with finely chopped basil.