Friday, 18 March 2016

KNOW YOUR NUTS!


I graze on nuts every single day! Nuts are a fantastic source of all the vitamins and minerals your body needs, especially if you have a plant based diet like I do. Many nuts are considered a good source of protein, and they may also provide fibre, useful amounts of the B vitamins, especially B1, B2, B3 and B6, Vitamin E and several minerals including Selenium. They also contain essential polyunsaturated fats, however some contain varying levels of saturated fats so should be eaten in moderation (e.g. Brazil nuts).

Nuts are actually the fruits or seeds of plants. Which explains why they are called 'frutos secos' in Spanish - which means 'dried fruits'. I just had to mention that as it just popped in to my head and I literally just had one of those language 'eurika' moments! Ha! Nuts have been an important source of nutrition for thousands of years all around the world and are an important protein source in many cultures.

They are super valuable and versataile to me so I thought I would put together all the information you need to know about each individual nut, what nutrients they have and how you should eat them and I hope you find it somewhat helpful!

BRAZIL NUTS
My goodness, Brazil nuts are, by far, my favourite. They're so succulent and tasty! They are the edible seeds of the South American tree that itself is referred to as 'the Brazil nut'. Brazil nut trees are amongst the tallest in the Amazon Rainforest, reaching heights of up to 50 metres (160ft). They can live for over 1000 years, but only produce their fruits as the result of a complex relationship between the tree, a certain species of bee and a tropical orchid! I read in an Australian study the other day that eating two brazil nuts daily is the equivalent of taking a 100mg Selenium supplement. Selenium is great for healthy skin, hair and nails, but has also been proven to aid male fertility, boost immunity, aid thyroid problems and help asthma due to its antioxidant properties. 

You can add these nuts to your diet simply by snacking on them, but be careful as they do have a higher than average fat content compared to other nuts/ The majority of the fat content is mono and poly-unsaturated, but the level of saturates is still substantial. They are popular in cakes and biscuits, but my personal favourite way to eat them is mixed with some carob raisins for a delicious treat! 


NUTRITIONAL VALUE
Brazil nuts are a natural source of fibre, calcium, iron, vitamin B6 and Biotin. They are also a natural excellent source of Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper, Zinc, Manganese, Selenium, Vitamin E and Thiamine (B1).

Every 100g of Brazil nuts contains...

ENERGY: 682kcal
PROTEIN: 14.1g
CARBOHYDRATES: 3.1g
OF WHICH SUGARS: 2.4g
FAT: 68.2g
OF WHICH SATURATES: 16.4g
FIBRE: 4.3g
POTASSIUM: 660mg
CALCIUM: 170mg
MAGNESIUM: 410mg
PHOSPHORUS: 590mg
IRON: 2.5mg
COPPER: 1.76mg
ZINC: 4.2mg

MANGANESE: 1.2mg
SELENIUM: 254ug
VITAMIN E: 7.18mg
THIAMINE (B1): 0.67mg
VITAMIN B6: 0.31mg
 BIOTIN: 11ug


ALMONDS
Almonds are probably my third of fourth favourite nut (after brazils, cashews & peanuts), but they are definitely before walnuts, pecans and pine nuts for me ha-ha de-ner-ner-ner-ner-NUT-wars! Anyway, I digress, I love almonds for their versatility the most I think. Almond butter, marzipan, almond paste, savoury dishes, sweet dishes and as a simple snack - they're great! 

Fancy a fun fact of the day? They're technically not even a nut (like peanuts) - they are in fact 'drupes'! Another fun (and helpful) fact is that if you have a headache, eat a handful of these bad boys - they contain salicin - as does willow bark, which is what aspirin is made from, so they will work as a natural analgesic (pain killer) and relieve your headache, how amazing is nature eh?

Almonds make a fantastic snack on their own but mixed with cashews is an even better idea as their nutrients compliment each other well. The Amino acid profile in Almonds works well with that of corn (maize) too. I baked a bunch of mixed nuts in the oven the other day with salt, pepper, mixed herbs, parsley and a tiny drizzle of agave nectar and I thought I was in love. Try it yourself for a delicious & nutritious snack!

NUTRITIONAL VALUE
Almonds are a natural source of protein, iron, Thiamine (B1), Niacin (B3) and folic acid. They are also an excellent source of Fibre, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper, Zinc, Manganese, Vitamin E, Riboflavin (B2) and Biotin.

Every 100g of Almonds contains...

ENERGY: 612kcal
PROTEIN: 21.1g
CARBOHYDRATES: 6.9g
OF WHICH SUGARS: 4.2g
FAT: 55.8g
OF WHICH SATURATES: 4.4g
FIBRE: 7.4g
POTASSIUM: 780mg
CALCIUM: 240mg
MAGNESIUM: 270mg
PHOSPHORUS: 550mg
IRON: 3mg
COPPER: 1mg
ZINC: 3.2mg

MANGANESE: 1.7mg
VITAMIN E: 24mg
THIAMINE (B1): 0.21mg
RIBOFLAVIN (B2): 0.75mg
NIACIN (B3): 3.1mg
FOLIC ACID: 48ug
BIOTIN: 64ug


CASHEWS
Cashews are so 'Nom-Nom' it's unreal. I like putting them in my sandwiches! I know it sounds weird, but I really wouldn't knock the idea until you've tried it. They're also great as a snack with salt and pepper or chilli, in a stir fry or in a nut roast! Cashews come from northeast Brazil. They actually grow beneath a fruit called the cashew apple, which is edible too but too fragile to transport, hence is not commonly found here in Europe - when I do eventually go to Brazil, I will be sure to hunt one down and try one. 

NUTRITIONAL VALUE
Cashew nuts are a natural source of Fibre, Protein, Pantothenic acid and Biotin. They are also an excellent source of Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Iron, Copper, Zinc, Manganese, Selenium, Thiamine (B1), Vitamin B6 and Folic acid.


Every 100g of Cashew nuts contains...

ENERGY: 566kcal
PROTEIN: 18.2g
CARBOHYDRATES: 27.1g
OF WHICH SUGARS: 5.9g
FAT: 46.9g
OF WHICH SATURATES: 8.3g
FIBRE: 3.3g
POTASSIUM: 710mg
MAGNESIUM: 270mg
FOLIC ACID: 67ug
PHOSPHORUS: 560mg
IRON: 6.2mg
COPPER: 2.11mg
ZINC: 5.9mg

MANGANESE: 1.7mg
SELENIUM: 29ug
THIAMINE (B1): 0.69mg
VITAMIN B6: 0.49mg
PANTOTHENIC ACID: 1.06mg
BIOTIN: 12.7ug


PISTACHIOS 
Pistachio plants are cultivated throughout Asia, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and America. Pistachios are a relative of the cashew nut and are characterised by their hard shell that naturally splits open as they ripen, it is said that you can hear the constant cracking of pistachio shells as you walk along the orchard when the nuts begin to ripen. Oh my goodness - Pistachio homemade 'nice-cream' is on my future agenda for sure. I love them on their own though and I recently had a pistachio flapjack and it was just beautiful.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE
Pistachio nuts are a great source of Protein, Iron, Zinc, Folic acid and Riboflavin (B1). They are also an excellent source of Fibre, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper, Manganese, Vitamin E and Thiamine (B1). They also have a good profile of essential amino acids.

Every 100g of Pistachio nuts contains... 

ENERGY: 601kcal
PROTEIN: 17.9g
CARBOHYDRATES: 8.2g
OF WHICH SUGARS: 5.7g
FAT: 55.4g
OF WHICH SATURATES: 7.4g
FIBRE: 6.1g
SODIUM: 0.53g
POTASSIUM: 1040mg
MAGNESIUM: 130mg
PHOSPHORUS: 420mg
IRON: 3mg
COPPER: 0.83mg
ZINC: 2.2mg

MANGANESE: 0.9mg

VITAMIN E: 4.16mg
THIAMINE (B1): 0.7mg
RIBOFLAVIN (B2): 0.23mg
FOLIC ACID: 58ug

PEANUTS
Peanuts aren't technically nuts, they are legumes. I especially love peanuts for their butter. Peanut butter is a fantastic way to add a source of iron and protein to your breakfast; I like to put mine on toast, in smoothies or in my porridge. It takes approximately 540 peanuts to make one 12 ounce jar of peanut butter so I appreciate every spoonful. Also, fun fact I learnt the other day; 'Arachibutyrophobia' is the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth! LOLzies. 

I like peanuts on their own or with other nuts as a snack, but I also like them in sandwiches too. When my friend and I went to Prague, we snacked on peanuts, guacamole and salted crisps and they make a wonderful combination I can assure you.


NUTRITIONAL VALUE
Peanuts are a natural source of Protein, Iron, Fibre, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper, Zinc, Manganese, Thiamine (B1), Niacin (B3), Vitamin B6, Folic acid, Pantothenic acid (B5) and Biotin.


100g of Peanuts contain...

ENERGY: 563kcal
PROTEIN: 25.6g
CARBOHYDRATES: 12.5g
OF WHICH SUGARS: 6.2g
FAT: 46.0g
OF WHICH SATURATES: 8.7g
FIBRE: 6.2g
POTASSIUM: 670mg
FOLIC ACID: 110ug
MAGNESIUM: 210mg
PHOSPHORUS: 430mg
IRON: 2.5mg
COPPER: 1.02mg
ZINC: 3.5mg

MANGANESE: 2.1mg
VITAMIN E: 10.1mg
THIAMINE (B1): 1.14mg
NIACIN (B3): 13.8mg
VITAMIN B6: 0.59mg
PANTOTHENIC ACID: 2.66mg
BIOTIN: 72ug


HAZELNUTS

Hazelnuts are also known as cobnuts or filberts. They are grown throughout the world, Turkey being the largest producer. Here in the UK, Kent is the main county for hazelnut production. I love hazelnuts purely for the fact they make VEGO chocolate bars. My goodness, If you haven't tried one of these chocolates, you need to - it is l-o-v-e-l-y!



NUTRITIONAL VALUE
Hazelnuts are a natural source of Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Pantothenic Acid, Fibre, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper, Manganese, Vitamin E, Thiamine (B1), Vitamin B, Folic Acid and Biotin.

Every 100g of Hazel Nuts contains...

ENERGY: 650kcal
PROTEIN: 14.1g
CARBOHYDRATES: 6.0g
OF WHICH SUGARS: 4.0g
FAT: 63.5g
OF WHICH SATURATES: 4.7g
FIBRE: 4.7g
POTASSIUM: 730mg
CALCIUM: 140mg
MAGNESIUM: 160mg
PHOSPHORUS: 300mg
IRON: 3.2mg
COPPER: 1.23mg
ZINC: 2.1mg

MANGANESE: 4.9mg

FOLIC ACID: 72ug
VITAMIN E: 24.98mg
THIAMINE (B1): 0.43mg
VITAMIN B6: 0.59mg
PANTOTHENIC ACID: 1.51mg
BIOTIN: 76ug


PECANS
The pecan tree is native to America and Mexico.They are thought to naturally contain some omega-3 oils which is super handy if you don't eat fish although hemp seeds, flaxseeds and their oils contain high amounts of these. There are over 1000 varieties of pecans. Many are named for Native American Indian tribes, Including Cheyenne, Mohawk, Sioux, Choctaw and Shawnee. Also, I was told the other day that the pecan is the state tree of Texas baby!

You can have them as a snack, but they are not the tastiest in my opinion. They have a significantly lower protein content than other nuts but people tend to choose them for their fatty acid content to maintain a healthy heart. I like them in cakes and mixed with dried apple. 

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
Pecans are a natural source of Fibre, Potassium, Iron, Selenium, Folic acid, Pantothenic acid, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper, Zinc, Manganese, Vitamin E and Thiamine (B1).

Every 100g of Pecans contains...


ENERGY: 691kcal
PROTEIN: 9.2g
CARBOHYDRATES: 5.8g
OF WHICH SUGARS: 4.3g
FAT: 70.1
OF WHICH SATURATES: 5.7g
FIBRE: 4.7g
POTASSIUM: 520mg
MAGNESIUM: 130mg
PHOSPHORUS: 310mg
IRON: 2.2mg
COPPER: 1.07mg
ZINC: 5.3mg
MANGANESE: 4.6mg
SELENIUM: 12ug
VITAMIN E: 4.34mg
THIAMINE (B1): 0.71mg
FOLIC ACID: 39ug 
PANTOTHENIC ACID: 1.71mg

PINE NUTS
I've only just developed a love for pine nuts. I have been putting them in my salads, coleslaws and homemade pesto. Pine kennels take about 18 months to mature, forming the first season, then maturing in the second. The cones then have to be heated carefully to extract and collect the seeds. This is the reason they can be rather expensive. 


NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
Pine kennels are a natural source of Fibre, Niacin (B3), Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Iron, Copper, Zinc, Manganese, Vitamin E and Thiamine (B1). 


Every 100g of Pine nuts contains...

ENERGY: 670kcal
PROTEIN: 14.0g
CARBOHYDRATES: 13.0g
OF WHICH SUGARS: 4.0g
FAT: 68.0g
OF WHICH SATURATES: 5.0g
FIBRE: 4.0g
POTASSIUM: 780mg
MAGNESIUM: 270mg
PHOSPHORUS: 650mg
IRON: 5.6mg
COPPER: 1.32mg
ZINC: 6.5mg

MANGANESE: 7.9mg
VITAMIN E: 13.65mg
THIAMINE (B1): 0.73mg
NIACIN (B3): 3.8mg


WALNUTS
I can't tell if walnuts are the tastiest thing on the planet or the rankest. Maybe it is how they're prepared but for me they can be so hit and miss. The walnut tree is native the Persia yet 75% of the world's supply comes from California.

Walnuts contribute to the improvement of the elasticity of blood vessels - this beneficial effect is obtained by a daily intake of 30g of walnuts. Walnuts have a high content of omega-3 fatty acids - 100grams of walnuts may contain up to 10grams of omega-3 oils. Due to this high content it is said to benefit heart health and the effects of high cholesterol. 

NUTRITIONAL VALUE
Walnuts are a great source of FIbre, Potassium, Iron, Zinc, Niacin (B3), Pantothenic acid, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper, Manganese, Vitamin E, Thiamine (B1), Vitamin B6, Folic acid and Biotin. They are also high in unsaturated fats.


ENERGY: 688kcal

PROTEIN: 14.7g
CARBOHYDRATES: 3.3g
OF WHICH SUGARS: 2.6g
FAT: 68.5g
OF WHICH SATURATES: 5.6g
FIBRE: 3.5g
POTASSIUM: 450m
MAGNESIUM: 160mg
FOLIC ACID: 66ug
PHOSPHORUS: 380mg
IRON: 2.9mg
COPPER: 1.34mg
ZINC: 2.7mg
MANGANESE: 3.4mg
VITAMIN E: 3.83mg
THIAMINE (B1): 0.4mg
NIACIN (B3): 4.0mg
VITAMIN B6: 0.67mg
PANTOTHENIC ACID (B5): 1.6mg
BIOTIN: 19ug

I hope this blog post is useful to at the very least one other person. I plan on using it as reference material myself both for my nutrition qualification and as a quick aid to ensure I am getting all the correct nutrients in my diet. It also helps that I find nuts delicious and fulfilling so would be eating them anyway. What's your favourite nut? Why? and how do you like them?
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