Go Nuts! The Health Benefits of Nuts

Go Nuts! The Health Benefits of Nuts

Should you include them in your diet?

There’s some confusion when it comes to nuts. Some people think they’re bad and should be avoided, others think they’re good and must be included in their diet.

Perhaps all the different nutrition information we’ve been told over the years has made us a bit nutty when it comes to healthy eating. Don’t fret, after reading this article, you can feel confident about whether nuts can suit your healthy diet.

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What Nutrients Do Nuts Provide?

Nuts offer many nutrients which are beneficial for our health and body. They are rich in fibre, protein, unsaturated (“healthy”) fats and low in saturated (“unhealthy”) fats. Nuts are a source of vitamin E, vitamin B6, folate and niacin and also contain thiamine and riboflavin (these are also types of vitamin Bs). They also contain a range of minerals including iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, copper and manganese. Nuts also naturally contain polyphenols (antioxidants) and plant sterols (a substance which has been found to help reduce cholesterol levels). 

Research has found an association of higher intakes of fibre(0.09g), iron(0.01mg), magnesium(1.83mg), Vitamin E (0.07mg) and phosphorus (0.71mg) for every 1g of nuts consumed. 

Different types of nuts also have their own unique nutrient profiles, so it is difficult to say which one is better than the other. Incorporating a variety of different nuts into your diet can help you gain the different benefits they offer.

What Does the Research Say About Nuts?

Over recent years, there has been increasing research looking into the effects of nut consumption in various health aspects and medical conditions. 

Research shows that a small handful of nuts (30g) is linked with many health benefits including:

  • Reduced risk of heart disease and heart-related conditions
  • Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Reduced risk of death
  • Weight management
  • Reduced risk of cancer

There is also recent research suggesting the health benefits of nut consumption in other areas of wellbeing including:

  • Better cognitive function
  • Prevent or reduce symptoms of depression
  • Improve gut health and balance in the gut
  • Improve sperm quality
  • Prevent food allergies (when introduced within the first year of life)

How Can You Get Your 30g of Nuts Per Day?

It’s great to know nuts contain essential vitamins and minerals and that there’s lots of research to show the various health benefits, but the research also shows that only 2% of Australians eat 30g of nuts per day. 

So if you don’t usually have nuts in your diet, how can you get your 30gs per day?

Here are some practical ways you can increase your nut intake:

  • Add them to your salads for some extra protein and texture
  • Have it as a snack 
  • Add them to your stir fry for extra flavour
  • Use a 100% nut spread on your toast
  • Use ground nuts in your baking like this banana and walnut slice 

Nuts are a great addition to a healthy diet. If you like nuts or are considering whether you can include them in your diet, rest assured they all offer various health benefits. There is a combination of nuts out there for you, ready to offer you exceptional health benefits. 

As with any health advice, it’s important to ensure your body has the nutrition it needs to thrive! If you are struggling to find your yummy and balanced diet, reach out to your preferred healthcare practitioner to help you find your balanced diet without missing out on your favourite foods.

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Perri Yiu, Dietitian