Nuts about Nuts!

Nuts. The pantry staple generously snacked upon by office workers. Your perception of the nutritional benefits of nuts will no doubt be influenced by something you have heard (depending on who you ask!) or what you have read. You may label these delicious little dry fruits as a ‘superfood’ or simply a convenient snack for when the munchies kick in. If you are either A) avoiding nuts or B) gobbling them by the truck load, then this article will be of great benefit to you! So grab a (small) handful of nuts and read on!

Here’s the good news right off the bat – Nuts ARE healthy! But here’s the kicker, it depends on how you consume them.

Eat them by the packet full – not so healthy

Eat them salted – still not so healthy

Eat them chocolate coated –definitely not so healthy

Portion control – Don’t go nuts!

But it is true, nuts really are healthy….if you can keep your portion size at a small handful. And what is a small handful you ask? It does not depend on the size of your hand, because if that’s the case I’m at a serious disadvantage with my mini-size hands. So how much? The answer is 30g, which is approximately 10 to 20 nuts depending on the type of nut (and yes, that is 10 to 20 nuts per day, NOT per minute!). So, can you stop at 10 to 20 nuts?

If not, here are a few handy hints to achieve this magical portion size:

  • Portion them into little containers or buy them in snack packs
  • Buy nuts in their shell – shelling them one at a time most definitely slows down how many you can eat in one sitting
  • Buy your least favourite variety so you are less tempted to polish the packet
  • Add them to salads and stir-fries
  • Combine them with another healthy snack such as fruit, low fat cheese or low fat yoghurt
  • Mix them through breakfast cereal or sprinkle them over porridge
  • Blitz them through your favourite smoothie

Eating nuts has been shown to have health benefits, some of which include beneficial for weight management, protective against certain types of cancers, protection against and management of diabetes and heart disease, to name a few.

And now that you have read this much, I bet you are thinking, but which is the best type of nut to eat? Well there is no exact answer to that. When we look behind the scenes, this is what there is to know:

 Nutritional component Nut(s) Content #
Lowest fat almonds and cashews ~50% total fat
Highest fat macadamia nuts ~74% total fat
Highest protein almonds and pistachios ~20% protein
Highest iron cashews ~5% iron
Highest calcium almonds ~250mg per 100g
Highest omega 3 (as ALA) walnuts ~6280mg per 100g

# reference values obtained from Nuts for Life, Nutrient content of unsalted nuts http://www.nutsforlife.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/NFL678-NFL-Ready-Reckoner-2014-HR.pdf

So whether you are nuts about nuts, or whether you about to discover the deliciousness of nuts, now you know that including 10 to 20 nuts per day (as part of healthy balanced diet, of course!) is going to have nutritional benefits for your body!



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