Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Eat Raw Nuts

Are nuts one of the foods you eat every day? A good source of healthy fats comes from nuts and seeds. To reap maximium benefits of these foods, they should be eaten raw. Roasted nuts are not healthy because in order to achieve that roasted flavor, nuts are heated and their delicate fats are denatured, rendering them less absorbable by the human digestive tract. Two handfuls daily are a good rule of thumb. Eat nuts on salads, in casseroles, hot cereals, or by the handful.

Raw nuts are contain good levels of unsaturated fats, which is useful for the cardiovascular system. They contain magnesium which supports bone structure and chromium which regulates proper insulin function. Also found in nuts is zinc for growth and wound healing, and manganese which protects against free-radicals. All nuts are a good source of vitamin E, an important antioxidant. Like all plant foods, they are high in fiber and phytochemicals—both of which help protect against cancer and other chronic diseases.

A good place to find nuts that are less expensive is the bulk aisle of your food store. They are generally fresher and have a better flavor, too. Avoid buying nuts in containers as there is no way to tell how long they have been sitting in the store or somewhere else in storage.

Buy organic whenever possible to avoid unnecessary toxins from pesticides and other chemicals. The only instance where organic is not superior is in peanuts. Peanuts are not one of the best choices since they contain aflatoxins - a mold that tends to infest these nuts more than any other. This toxin has also been found in wheat, soy, corn, and soybeans as well. There have been various concerns raised about consuming even low levels of aflatoxins, especially with the enormous amounts of allergies people have to peanuts. For this reason, eliminating peanuts entirely from your diet is not a bad idea.

No comments: