We all have heard and read about the amazing facts about nuts. Let us first understand what a nut means. Nut is a one celled fruit encased in a dry shell for e.g. chestnuts, hazel nuts etc., are true nuts. But the term “nut” is also loosely applied to seeds or edible fruit kernels which are enclosed in hard shells, for e.g. almonds, pistachios, cashews etc.
Nuts have been used as a source of food and oil for centuries. We find nuts predominantly used in many cuisines like Indian, Middle-East, Turkish, Mediterranean, European, Chinese etc. Nuts like almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts etc., are used in many exotic dishes, including deserts. In many savoury dishes, nuts have affinity with spicy curries and chillies while in the case of deserts and sweet dishes, nuts go well with cinnamon, honey and chocolate.
7 amazing facts about different types of nuts
The Almond tree is primarily grown in the eastern Mediterranean region for more than thousands of years. There are two basic types of almonds – sweet and bitter. The bitter almond is often confused with an apricot kernel or often called as Chinese almonds. Raw almonds can be toxic in large quantities and must be blanched or roasted before use.
Almonds contain fibre, vitamin E and have very good anti-oxidant properties. Modern research has indicated that almonds help in weight loss. Almonds also help in boosting the immune system by raising the level of good bacteria in the body. Blood sugar is also controlled by the regular intake of almonds.
The Cashew tree originated in South America and is now vastly grown in India and Asia. Roasted and salted cashews are a favourite item for all. Cashews are widely used in many Indian curries and Chinese stir-fry dishes. Cashew paste is often used to thicken the gravy and give it a rich aroma and flavour.
Cashews are a good source of magnesium and they help in improving memory. Cashews also protect against age related memory loss. They are rich in iron and zinc, which helps in preventing anaemia.
The Walnut tree originated from Asia and is now grown in most parts of the world. French walnuts from the Dordogne region in the Southwest are one of the finest varieties of walnuts. The colour of the walnut shells represents its quality. The lighter the colour, the higher is the grade. Walnuts are used in different dishes, including various deserts. They are also used to produce flavoursome and highly prized oil.
Walnuts contain the highest level of antioxidants as compared to all the other nuts. Walnuts are high in Omega3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation. As it looks like the brain, it is extremely nourishing for the brain and helps in increasing memory power. Walnuts are a healthy way of getting unsaturated fats, which are otherwise only available in fish. Walnuts help fight cellular damage and thus protects against heart diseases, cancer and pre-mature aging.
Pecan is a type of a hickory nut, which was originally cultivated in parts of America and Australia. The whole process of growing, harvesting, shelling and sorting is a lengthy and complicated process which also involves a high cost. Pecans have one of the highest fat content, so we need to be careful of its portions. Pecan pie is a favourite American classic.
Pecans are rich antioxidant nuts. Modern research has indicated that they may help to prevent plaque formation in the arteries. Pecans also boost brain health due to high vitamin E and helps in delaying the progression of neurological diseases.
Brazil nuts are not actually nuts, but seeds that come from the tropical rain forest of Brazil. They have a very high oil content, which gives richness to their sweet flavour and also limits the storage time.
Imagine just one Brazil nut having the amount of selenium needed for your body. It helps in preventing cancer, bone diseases etc. Remember to eat less of Brazil nuts as the high amount of selenium is not good for your body.
Pistachios originated from the Middle East. Their vibrant green colour makes them ideal for garnishing any dish. Chopped pistachios are used in gravies, sweet dishes, deserts and exotic rice or biryanis.
Pistachios have one of the lowest calories per nut. They are rich in antioxidant, potassium and are a good source of vitamin B6, which helps in boosting the immune system.
Macadamia is one of the best nuts for the heart. They have a good amount of Mono saturated fats (MUFA) per serving. This good fat lowers the LDL i.e. the bad cholesterol and blood pressure. Further more research has indicated that Macadamia nuts help in reducing the triglycerides level and the overall total cholesterol level.
These are some of the Top 7 amazing facts about nuts for a healthy life. Expert doctors and nutritionists encourage people to include a good amount of nuts in their daily food intake, which will help them to be healthy.
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