There are around 25 kinds of nuts grown around the world today as food crops with evidence that they have been a source of nutrition to man from a long ago as 10,000BC.
They give us an array of nutrients ranging from protein to iron, zinc and calcium to essential fats and vitamin E.
Six fresh Brazil nuts provide about four times a man’s daily requirement of selenium. A 50g helping of cashew nuts provides a fifth of a woman’s daily iron needed for energy, while twenty fresh cashews give us over 10 per cent of a man’s daily zinc requirement. 50g of almonds supply about 15 per cent of a teenage girl’s calcium needs. Nuts are high in fat and therefore calories. Stick to a handful to keep calories to around 200 per serving and benefit from the filling protein.
If you eat a handful of almonds in place of your usual snack, research shows that you will not gain, and may lose weight. You will also be likely to benefit your heart health by improving the balance of saturated to unsaturated fats in your diet.
Always check the “use-by” date on nuts and avoid buying any nuts in their shell that seem light in weight for their size. Nuts in their shell should not rattle when shaken, as this indicates ageing and dryness. Avoid buying nuts that smell musty or rancid.
Nuts make a good snack and can be eaten roasted or raw. Grate and chop nuts and use in added to breakfast cereals, sprinkled on salads and in stir fries.