Often the simplest foods are best for your health, and this is certainly the case for nuts, in which Mother Nature has crafted a nearly perfect package of protein, healthy fats, fibre, plant sterols, antioxidants, and many vitamins and minerals. Nuts are healthy snack options. Although they’re usually high in fat, the fat they contain is a healthy type. Many studies have shown that nuts provide various health benefits — especially in regards to reducing heart disease risk factors.
Seeds contain all the starting materials necessary to develop into complex plants. Because of this, they are extremely nutritious. Seeds are great sources of fibre. They also contain healthy monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and many important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. When eaten as part of a healthy diet, seeds can help reduce blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure.
Try adding a handful of nuts and seeds to your daily food intake, either as part of breakfast, sprinkled on a salad or as a snack during the day. Variety is key.
Almonds – these are rich in monounsaturated fats, which, when included in the diet can help reduce heart disease. They are high in magnesium and blood-pressure regulating potassium. Almonds are among the world’s best sources of vitamin E. Getting plenty of vitamin E from foods is linked to numerous health benefits.
Brazil nuts – Brazil nuts are low in carbs and one of the best natural sources of selenium, a mineral essential for health. Selenium is a mineral involved in many critical bodily functions like metabolism, DNA production and immune response. As these nuts are extremely high in selenium, it’s recommended that adults keep intake to under four nuts per day to avoid surpassing the upper limit of 400 mcg.
Cashews – these are one of the lowest-fibre, highest carbohydrate nuts, they’re packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Cashews contain high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, which act as antioxidants. When consumed daily, these antioxidant compounds can protect the eyes from the type of damage that can lead to blindness as we get older.
Chia Seeds – these seeds contains a fantastic blend of protein, carbohydrate, fat and fibre making it an ideal energy booster. They are high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which help the body stabilise blood sugar and slow carbohydrate digestion. They are a good source of iron, calcium and zinc.
Flax seeds – Nutty, crunchy flax seeds are king of the omega-3 fatty acid-rich seeds and offer a great alternative to chemically derived omega-3 supplements. They also supply a healthy dose of dietary fibre and contain compounds that help lower cholesterol and strengthen bones.
Pumpkin Seeds – these seeds are good sources of phytosterols, which are plant compounds that may help lower blood cholesterol. They are especially noted for their high zinc content and they are a good source of protein and iron. Pumpkin seeds are one of the most commonly consumed types of seeds, and are good sources of phosphorus, monounsaturated fats and omega-6 fats.
Sesame Seeds – these tiny gems are packed with nutrients. They contain the plant compound sesame which has been shown to lower cholesterol, prevent high blood sugar anthill protect the body against liver damage. Sesame seeds may also help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which can worsen symptoms of many disorders, including arthritis.
Sunflower Seeds – these seeds contain high levels of both monounsaturated and omega-6 fats, and may help reduce inflammation and cholesterol levels. They are rich in phytosterols which have the power to help lower LDL cholesterol. They also contain vitamin E and selenium.
Walnuts – Walnuts contain gamma-tocopherol, an especially heart-healthy form of vitamin E. Walnuts also boast the highest antioxident content of any nut and contain anti-inflammatory compounds as well as omega-3 fatty acids making them powerful tools in everything from fighting inflammation to slowing the ageing process.