By Jennifer Hobbs
Nuts are natures energy bundles. They are the mature (dry) fruit of flowering trees where the nut itself constitutes a single seed contained within a hardened ovary wall. Shoved in backpacks and pockets nuts have traditionally been a convenient energy boost for campers, hikers and boy scouts (girls too I imagine) since – well, forever. Interestingly peanuts are not nuts as they are members of the legume family, which gives us beans, however as they are still the mature fruit of the plant and contain many of the same nutrients they are just as valuable, nutritionally speaking. Each nut will produce a whole tree and contains all the fat, protein and nutrients to required to create a new tree so it should be no surprise that a single almond contains 10 calories, much of this coming from their high fat content.
It is just this high fat content that made nuts a no – no in diets for many years. All calories are not created equal though and studies reveal nuts are much less fattening than many other sources of energy. Healthy, tasty and full of protein nuts are easily one of the healthiest snack foods available. They are high in essential fatty acids, minerals and other important nutrients. It is said they can lower cholesterol and help prevent heart disease.
There are many health benefits of nuts. They are high in fibre, protein and fat so they are very filling, which is good both for muscle mass and body fat loss. They contain Vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, copper and are a good source of anti-oxidants. A small handful of nuts a day may help prevent diabetes, heart disease, macular degeneration (loss of sight), and cancer.