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Ain't Nuttin like Nuts for Healthy Snacks!

July 25, 2017

 

Almonds – Almonds are tasty and quite healthy, and yes, they do have a high fat content, up to 60%.  3 ½ ounces of almonds provide almost 600 calories.  This does NOT mean to avoid them, just eat them in moderation or use them as additions to other dishes such as salads or vegetables.

 

Because of their high fat content (healthy!) it is important to buy them selectively and store them correctly in order to prevent rancidity.  While best purchased in shell, this may not be terribly convenient.  As mentioned above, store them in dry cool place, tightly sealed.  They may be kept in the refrigerator or even freezer to prolong freshness.

 

Cashews – Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts with about most of their fat being oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.  They are a good source of magnesium that helps to regulate nerve and muscle tone, preventing muscle spasms.  The pyhtosterols and phytonutrients in cashews help block cholesterol absorption and lower cholesterol levels.  They also promote bone and digestive health and the tryptophan content promotes sleep!

 

Buying and storing cashews is similar to other nuts and seed as mentioned above.  If you want to buy them roasted, buy dry roasted to make sure they were not roasted in oil.  But it is much healthier and nutrients are more powerful in raw cashews.  Due to their high oleic acid content cashews are more stable than other nuts, but keeping in a sealed container in the refrigerator is recommended.  They can be frozen as well for up to a year.

 

Soaked cashews are an excellent substitute for cream or milk in recipes when blended.  If roasting, keep temperature below 170 degrees.

 

Walnuts – These nuts are extremely nutrient dense and are one of the few nuts that contain omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).  They are the main non-fish source of ALA.  They offer antioxidants properties, vitamin E, manganese, copper, phosphorous, magnesium, protein and dietary fiber.  As a bonus they have no dietary cholesterol.  They also contain the sleep-promoting tryptophan.

 

Walnuts are extremely perishable and best when bought and stored in their shells.  Otherwise the recommendations above all apply.  Be careful about storing with other foods as they tend to absorb odors.

 

Other nuts to consider incorporating – Pine nuts, Pistachios, Pecans, Hazelnuts, Brazil, and Macadamia.  All of these nuts offer similar qualities as the others and a variety of nuts in the diet will bring a variety of nutrients and benefits.  Storage is also similar for all nuts.

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