18 reasons to start using more nuts

Acceptance of nuts by many consumers still is hindered by the fact that they are calorically dense, in spite of their having earned a reputation as a healthy food among nutritionists and health professionals.

As a way to get consumers more interested in nuts, processors would do well to focus less on apologetic marketing of nuts and more on the concept of replacing high-fat, nutrient-poor modern snacks with better quality fats from these nutrient-rich little sources.

Epidemiological evidence reveals a different picture from the one still adhered to by many consumers and processors of better-for-you foods.

Nuts are seeds that store energy as fat, and fat yields 9 kcals/g. Calories, however do not tell the complete story of nuts as a beneficial food. That’s where we come in. We’ve uncovered 18 fun and interesting facts about nuts and how processors can use them in their next new products.

  • Nuts are among the healthiest ingredients around. In moderate amounts (we all know how easy it is to eat an entire 1,280-calorie tin of roasted salted cashews in a single sitting) nuts are a boon to health from multiple perspectives and deserve their place on the plate of those looking to maintain health and a healthy body weight.

Ongoing studies continue to add notches to the nut knowledge belt. According to a recent review published just a few months ago in the scientific journal Nutrition, the benefits of nuts span four interrelated areas:

  • Nuts contain powerful antioxidants that can lower the impact of dangerous free radicals, molecules that can be damaging to membranes, proteins, and even DNA.
  • Nuts tend to reduce plasma cholesterol levels among persons who enjoy them as routine dietary components.
  • Nuts tend to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease independent of lipid profiles.
  • Nuts aid in weight control, specifically through a satiety factor that outweighs the caloric load.
  • Nuts are a good source of minerals — especially potassium, calcium, selenium and iron — plus bioavailable protein.

The American Heart Association has recommended use of nuts for their cardioprotective benefits since 2000 due the consistent link between nut consumption and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. This brings us to…

  • Frequent nut consumption has been associated with lower BMI, lower blood pressure and protection against fatal and non-fatal coronary heart disease.

The FDA recently recognised nuts as “heart-healthy,” and for good reason.

  • By weight, nuts are 45-75 percent fat; however, the fat content in perennial favourites such as almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews, peanuts, macadamia nuts and pistachios is made up of primarily unsaturated fatty acids from the omega-6 and omega-9 families…..

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