Why you should include nuts and dried fruit in your diet
Its high calorie content and fat content have made nuts and dried fruit banned from the diet for years. Now the opposite is true.
In spite of the fact that nuts have had a bad reputation for years, the latest food guides and pyramids recommend introducing a small quantity of nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts or almonds in the daily intake. The amount of health benefits they have more than make up for their high calorie and fat content.
Nutrition experts make it clear that the fat in nuts and dried fruit is cardioprotective. On the other hand, the energy they provide is very valuable as a healthy snack or complement to lots of recipes. In addition to unsaturated fatty acids (good for cardiovascular health) contain fiber, vitamin E, folate and minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium.
Health benefits of nuts and dried fruit
They’re very satiating. Its high fiber content makes nuts highly recommended as snacks between hours. In fact, more and more nutrition specialists include them, in controlled quantities, in slimming diets, since they help to avoid less healthy temptations. The fact that they are rich in fiber also helps to combat constipation. On the other hand, nuts encourage the proliferation of healthy bacteria necessary for a balanced and healthy intestinal flora.
They protect the heart. Unsaturated fats containing almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts and, above all, walnuts help reduce levels of bad cholesterol in the blood and keep blood pressure at bay. This in turn results in better cardiovascular health. Several investigations have revealed that nuts are especially interesting for type 2 diabetics, as they reduce their propensity to suffer cardiovascular diseases related to this metabolic pathology.
They are neuroprotective. Several studies have linked nuts with better brain function. One of the most recent studies, carried out by the University of South Australia, concludes that consuming 10 grams of nuts a day improves mental functioning, reasoned thinking and memory.
They improve the condition of the skin and hair. The content of vitamin E and phytochemicals that combat free radicals (products derived from cellular metabolism that oxidize tissues) affects a radiant skin and younger appearance. On the other hand, the fact that they contain biotin, folates and minerals such as selenium or zinc makes them very interesting for hair care.
They provide energy. Some nuts, such as pistachios, have fully entered the diet of athletes, as their high content of quality protein and iron help them recover from training sessions. Something very similar happens with almonds, which also provide a lot of calcium and help maintain strong bones.
They take care of eye health. On the other hand, the PREDIMED study (Prevention with Mediterranean Diet) has just placed pistachios at the top of the new nutritional pyramid, recommending their consumption practically every day due to their content in fibre, heart-healthy fat, energy… and because, According to the researchers responsible for this extensive work, pistachios contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two micronutrients essential for preventing eye diseases, especially age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the leading causes of blindness in the elderly.
They improve defenses. The contribution of arginine, potassium, calcium and vitamins helps keep the immune system in shape.
However, in order to be truly healthy, nuts should be eaten raw or roasted in the oven, not have salt and not be bathed in honey, sugar, chocolate or caramel. Preferably, they should be purchased in shell so that they retain their properties for longer and it is better to consume them with skin.