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Eating Nuts… Will They Make Me Fat, How Many, Which Ones? End The Confusion Here.

health benefits of nuts

Guy: If ever there was a post that needed to be written for our blog, I think it would be this one. Even though eating nuts can come with some great benefits, there is often much confusion and misinterpretation too. From fear of making us fat to the newly converted clean eater who has taken up ‘paleo’, who eats nuts by the bucket load as they’ve ran out of snack ideas, this post covers the do’s and don’ts of the nut world.

So if you are wanting the low down nuts, that take five minutes and enjoy this post by naturopath Lynda Griparic. Over to Lynda…

Lynda: Are nuts really that healthy? Can they be eaten on a weight loss program? What about phytic acid? Are nuts too high in omega 6? Are nuts too high in carbs? How much is too much?

These are questions I get asked all the time. Let me pre-empt this article by saying that this is a broad view. You may need to tweak your nut consumption to suit your individual needs. At the very least I hope to reduce your fears and confusion about these multicultural babes.

In general, most nuts;

  • Support cardiovascular health
  • Extend your lifespan
  • Improve lipid profile;lower low density lipoproteins (LDL) and improve high density lipoproteins (HDL) levels.
  • Reduce risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • Improve antioxidant and nutrient status
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Contain a moderate amount of protein
  • And for the most part are a good source of fibre

Before we get nut specific let’s chat about phytic acid (aka phytate). Phytic acid is found in many plants, especially the bran or hull of grains, nuts and seeds. Unfortunately humans cannot digest phytic acid which is a problem because phytic acid binds to minerals such as iron and zinc in food preventing their absorption. Phytic acid disrupts the function of digestive enzymes such as pepsin, amylase and trypsin. These enzymes are required for the breakdown of proteins and starch in our food. A diet rich in phytates, such as grains can cause mineral deficiencies. Some of the phytic acid content can be broken down by soaking and roasting. On a more positive note phytic acid may have anti-cancer properties and can be converted to beneficial compounds in the gut.

How many nuts can I eat a day?

A loaded question that depends on a few factors;

  • your metabolic health and weight
  • your mineral and general health status
  • if you have any serious digestive issues
  • your nut preparation: soaking, dehydrating, roasting before consumption

Those with serious digestive issues may do better avoiding nut flour and nut butters. Even though nut flour does not contain much phytic acid because they are made from blanched nuts and phytates are found in the skin, many find it hard to digest nut flour in large amounts. Nut butters are often made from unsoaked nuts, making their phytic acid levels relatively high.

For most people with a low phytic acid diet, a handful of well prepared nuts daily would be a great addition, providing many amazing health benefits as you’ll soon see.

Which Nuts Should I Invest In?

Here is a list of the most popular nuts along with their pros and cons. If you are simply looking for weight loss tips, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Macadamia Nuts

macadamia nutsI must start with my all time favourite nut, the macadamia. No doubt, many feel the same. For starters macadamias simply taste amazing. They are buttery in texture and flavour, are amazing in raw desserts and offer much goodness such as healthy fats mostly monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), followed by Linoleic acid (LA), Alpha-linolenic acid ALA and saturated fats (SFA). They are low in carbohydrate, harmful Omega 6 fats, phytic acid (no need for soaking) and pesticide residue and contain Vitamin B1, copper, iron and a fair whack of manganese (think bone and thyroid health). Great for those creaky knees. They are worth every pricey penny. Just be mindful of overconsumption. I find these guys slightly addictive. Stopping at a handful may be tricky :)

Interesting fact: Macs have been shown to improve lipid profile; reduce total cholesterol, low density lipoproteins (LDL) as well as increase high density lipoprotein (HDL) levels and may reduce inflammation and prevent coronary heart disease. Macadamias have around the same amount of the health promoting monounsaturated fat, oleic acid as olives.

Almonds

AlmondsAlmonds in moderation are amazing. They contain quality protein, fibre, healthy fats, namely MUFA, LA and SFA. They are rich in vitamin E, B2, copper, l-arginine, magnesium and manganese. The downside to almonds aside from our inability to control the amount we consume is their high phytate content. Soaking for around 12 hours and or roasting can help reduce these levels or purchase skinless almonds where possible.

Interesting fact: almonds and almond skins are rich in fibre and other components which support your gut flora (microbiome) and act as a prebiotic. Almond consumption can improve lipid profile, reducing total cholesterol and LDL. Almonds may also improve blood sugar balance and reduce appetite when eaten as a snack. The l-arginine content in almonds offer many cardiovascular health benefits. The almond skin is typically rich in antioxidants (polyphenols, flavonoids). In fact approx 30g of almonds have a similar amount of polyphenols as a cup of green tea or steamed broccoli.

Brazil Nuts

Brazil NutsSeriously great tasting, slightly sweet nuts that are mostly known for their selenium rich bodies. Per 30g they are comprised of 88% selenium. They are a good source of healthy fats (MUFA, LA, SFA). Are low in carbs and rich in other nutrients such as copper, magnesium, manganese and B1. A little bit goes a long way with these nuts, which is just as well because they are not the cheapest nut out there. A modest brazil nut or two a day will give you a good dose of selenium. Selenium is an extremely important antioxidant essential for thyroid health and for a healthy immune and cardiovascular system. It’s worth mentioning that Brazil nuts are high in phytates however eating small amounts to get your selenium and nutrient dose should not cause a problem.

Interesting fact: at small doses these nuts can improve selenium levels in the body. They are also a great anti-inflammatory food with the capacity to improve lipid profiles.

Cashews

Cashew NutsAnother dangerously delicious nut, creamy and sweet in texture and flavour. These nuts do not have as amazing nutrient profile as some of its nut colleagues but alas they do make for a great cheese substitute. Think raw cheesecake.

They are a little higher in carbs than the other nuts averaging around 8.6g per 30g. They contain healthy fats, quality protein, B1, copper, manganese, iron, magnesium and zinc. These guys are notorious for being over consumed and causing allergic reactions. You can soak cashews for 2-4hours.

Chestnuts

ChestnutsChestnuts are in a little league of their own. They are quite starchy in comparison to their fatty friends containing around 22 g of carbs per 30g. They are low in fat and protein and contain copper, manganese, Vitamin B6 and folate.

They are however low in phytates and are quite flavoursome raw, roasted or steamed. I would treat these guys as you would a starch and have them in moderation.

Hazelnuts

HazelnutsHazelnuts, also known as filberts, are not a popular nut, unless you consider Nutella your hazelnut source. God knows why, because roasting these and sprinkling them onto salads makes for an an amazing experience. They might be worth your attention though given their nutrient profile. Hazelnuts are rich in healthy fats (MUFA, LA, SFA), manganese, copper, vitamin E and have a decent amount of magnesium and iron. Hazelnuts have moderate levels of phytates and can be soaked for 8-12 hours.

Interesting fact: Hazelnut skins are rich in antioxidants (polyphenols) with total antioxidant capacity richer than dark chocolate, espresso coffee and blackberries. As most nuts they have the capacity to improve cardiovascular health, lipid profiles, reducing LDL and may have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Pecans

Pecan nutsPecans are an underrated, under-consumed nut and another favourite of mine. These quirky looking nutrient giants are packed full of antioxidants, healthy fats (MUFA, LA, SFA) with a decent whack of fibre and nice dose of protein, manganese, copper, B1 and Zinc. Apparently pecans have the highest level of antioxidants of any nut. You can soak pecans for 6 hours.

Interesting fact: aside from their impressive antioxidant status, whole pecans are fantastic for reducing inflammation and oxidative stress and improving lipid profile. Try them in your salads, have them raw or activated. Pecans are the nuts that make my raw brownies a healthy signature dessert. CLICK HERE for Healthy Pecan Chocolate Brownie Recipe.

Pine Nuts

Pine NutsPine nuts play a starring role in any good pesto and taste amazing, raw or toasted on salads. They are rarely eaten as a snack and are a wee bit pricey due to the labour intensive harvesting process. As most nuts, pine nuts contain healthy fats and other vitamins and minerals namely manganese, vitamin B1, copper, magnesium and zinc. You can soak pine nuts for a few hours.

Interesting fact: Pine nuts may suppress the appetite and lower LDL levels. Some may be prone to “Pine mouth”, a condition caused by pine nut consumption that makes everything you eat taste bitter and metallic.

Pistachios

Pistachio nutsPistachios look aged and strange and often come with a barrage of complaints such as “there is not enough nut-meat in the shell” and “the darn shell won’t open”. I dare say though that they are worth the effort for both taste and benefits. They are low in phytic acid and you can soak them for up to 8 hours.

Interesting fact: Pistachios act as a natural prebiotic (even more so than almonds) because of its non-digestible food components such as dietary fiber. This fibre stays in the gut and feeds our good bacteria, stimulating their growth. They also contain phytochemicals that have the potential to positively improve the balance and diversity of your gut microbiome.

Pistachios are also an excellent source of vitamin B6, copper and manganese and a good source of phosphorus and thiamin. Pistachios have the potential to significantly improve lipid profiles and blood sugar status so are a great addition to those individuals who already have or want to prevent diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Walnuts

WalnutsMany primal eating folk have ditched the walnuts concerned that they are too high in Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAS) and contain unstable linoleic acid. You may want to un-banish your banish though as walnuts really do have an impressive nutrient profile and eaten every so often can be a valuable and delicious addition to the healthy diet of most.

Walnuts are a good source of copper, manganese and magnesium. They also contain protein, iron and as mentioned before are quite high in PUFA but if your diet as a whole has a significant amount of Omega 3’s and is relatively low in Omega 6 from other sources (seed oils etc) you should be fine. They are moderately high in phytates and can go rancid quite quickly so buy small quantities from a trusted supplier and store unshelled walnuts in the fridge or freezer. You can soak walnuts for around 4 hours. If you are feeling adventurous and do not mind the somewhat bitter taste eat the skin as up to 90 per cent of the antioxidants are found there.

Interesting fact: Walnuts are capable of supporting cardiovascular health by improving lipid profile (reducing LDL) and reducing blood pressure.

Peanuts

PeanutsIt would be fair to say most people reading this post has got stuck into a bowl of salted peanuts in their time! Would you believe these guys are actually legumes? Sadly there are a few things going against this legume/peanut. For starters peanuts are a common allergen for people. They contain aflatoxin (harmful to the liver) and are often heavily sprayed with pesticides.

The salted variety of peanuts are also a domino food. Very easy to over consume if you’re not careful! I would avoid regular consumption.

Conclusion (& weight loss tips)

In a nutshell (Oh yes I just went there). Given the extensive positive research out there, I believe that a handful (around 2 heaped tablespoons) of well prepared, good quality nuts daily would be a valuable part of a healthy diet and in most cases support fat loss, cardiovascular health and blood sugar irregularities. In fact studies have shown that nut eaters tend to be leaner, more physically active and non smokers.

The problem is stopping at a handful. If you struggle with self control when it comes to nuts try the following to avoid overconsumption.

Weight Loss Tips

If your goal is weight loss and not just health maintenance, then you should bare in mind the following tips.

- Be selective with which nuts you choose to stock: choose nuts with a decent amount of fibre and low carb such as almonds and pecans and stay clear of cashews.

- Avoid nut butters: they are ridiculously good and rarely do we stop at a tablespoon, let’s face it.

- Leave the skins on. Its where you may find protective antioxidants and fibre.

- Buy nuts with shells. If it takes time and effort to de-shell you are more likely to consume less.

- Buy small quantities to avoid temptation. This also ensures your stash does not go rancid too quickly.

- Rather than have a handful, get your quota by popping them on your salads, on top of fish and other meals.

- Chestnuts: probably not a nut to eat by the handful given their starchy profile. Treat them as you would starchy vegetables in your diet.

- They are small snacks. Treat nuts as you would snacks not a main course.

Did you enjoy this post or find it helpful? Do you eat nuts? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below…

lynda griparic naturopathThis article is brought to you by Lynda. She is a fully qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist with over 13 years of experience in the health industry. Lynda specialises in detoxification and weight loss. She has extensive experience in running healthy, effective and sustainable weight loss programs and has expertise in investigating and treating the underlying causes of weight gain and metabolic problems.

If you would like to book a consultation with Lynda, CLICK HERE

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Best Protein Supplements

Protein supplements

Protein supplements are supposed to be a healthy way to get fit and build lean muscle.

Unfortunately, a quick read of most supplement labels will reveal all kinds of additives and preservatives, things no health-conscious person wants to put into his body. But 180 Natural Protein Supplement rejects this approach and gives its customers the natural supplements they crave, producing the super-food of choice for people serious about their bodies.

Full of natural ingredients, such as grass fed whey protein isolate, flaxseed, and almond meal, 180 protein supplement is known to help with lean muscle growth, to regulate body weight, and to aid in digestion. It is gluten-free and can be used as a meal replacement, saving consumers time and money. It also comes in a vegan option to build muscle without animal protein. 180 respects all ways to a healthy lifestyle.

One of the biggest contradictions in the fitness business is the use of unnatural ingredients in supposedly healthy products. Consumers need to be vigilant and check the labels of even popular, well-known brands. 180 Protein Supplement easily passes the label test by using only the best natural ingredients, making it the source for anyone’s fitness food.

The supplement powder is easily blended with water or milk to make a smoothie. Adding a variety of fruits makes tasty smoothies that anyone can enjoy. The powder can also be put into other recipes to add fibre and natural nutrients to meals. With 180, eating nutritious, easily digested food is simple and affordable. Utilising pepita, chia seeds, and cocoa, 180 makes its products flavorful and of the highest quality.

Building muscle and eating well means choosing pure and natural supplements to augment a sound fitness plan. Working out is only part of the equation. Weights and cardio can only do so much without the proper diet to aid muscle growth and nutrition. Informed people know that additives and preservatives don’t fit a healthy lifestyle. These same people can go natural with 180 Protein Supplement. In a short amount of time, they will be thrilled with the results.

Learn more about 180 Natural Protein Supplement here

High protein snack ideas

high protein snack ideasSprinkling 180 Natural Protein Superfood on your food is one of the best ways to give yourself a healthy boost of protein.

Adding this product to high-protein food items can help your body develop more lean muscle tissue. Here are some of the best high-protein snack ideas:

Eggs

Eggs are very high in protein levels and can be prepared in many different ways. One of the best ways to prepare eggs is to hard boil them or mix up a high protein omelette. Simply add a little 180 Natural Protein Superfood to your eggs and enjoy!

Mixed Nuts

Pistachios and almonds, in particular, are very high in protein. You can add several different types of nuts to the mix in order to treat your taste buds to a variety of flavours.

Protein Shakes

This high-protein treat is a snack and beverage all in one! Mixing 180 Natural Protein Superfood into a smoothie is also one of the best ways to get a maximum dose of protein.

Tuna

This high-protein, low-calorie option is another popular snack choice. Tuna can be eaten right out of a can or added to your favourite salad.

Greek Yogurt

Many people have discovered this refreshing snack in recent years. The high levels of protein and the extra healthy ingredients make this snack particularly popular among health and fitness enthusiasts. Mixing pieces of fruit along with 180 Natural Protein Superfood to your yogurt can give your snack an extra kick of flavour and nutrition.

Whatever type of snack you choose, sprinkling your food with 180 Natural Protein Superfood can give you a healthy dose of added protein.

Order your starter pack today and feel the difference!

Great tasting paleo snacks

paleo snacksBy 180 Nutrition

The paleo diet, also known as the Stone Age or cavemen diet, has been gaining popularity recently as a way to help individual lose weight, with an ever increasing need for alternative paleo snack ideas. The concept is simple. Since cavemen weren’t overweight, humans today should consume the same food that their ancestors did. Since cavemen didn’t have high blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes, the theory is that the diet will help users shed unwanted pounds while also becoming more healthy in the process.

Unfortunately, that’s not always that easy. The cavemen consumed a high level of protein that’s almost impossible to achieve normally. Even for those who are able to reach the recommended levels, the price can add up quickly. Even worse, most protein supplements that could be used to help dieters are loaded with artificial flavoring, colors, or other chemicals, none of which were consumed during the Stone Age.

Fortunately, 180 Nutrition is dedicated to providing their customers with an all natural protein powder that can be used in any diet. While the powder isn’t specifically designed for the paleo diet, it meets all the requirements. Everything in the powder is all natural and there’s only 12 ingredients, none of which are chemically altered. These ingredients include grass fed whey, flax seed, almond meal, sunflower kernels, coconut flour, cocoa flavoring, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, psyllium husk, inactive brewers yeast, and stevia.

While the protein supplement can be blended to create a vegetable or fruit smoothie, that’s not the only paleo snack that can be made. The powder can also be cooked with or added to other meals to help increase the amount of protein the food contains. For those who aren’t natural chefs, that’s okay too. 180 Nutrition has dozens of easy to follow recipes on their website. These recipes include everything from paleo snacks to meals that can be made in less than three minutes.

While most people assume that paleo snacks have to be meat, veggies, or nuts, that’s not the case when using 180 Nutrition’s protein powder. The paleo diet means that users must limit their sugar intake level. This can lead to unbearable cravings that can wreck the entire dieting process plan.

180 Nutrition understands that users may crave something sweet instead of the same boring meat or nut products, and that’s why they’ve created several great tasting, yet still all-natural, paleo snacks. Some of the most popular include high protein chocolate chip cookies and high protein blueberry muffins.

Both recipes are easy to follow and can be made with just a few ingredients. Since the paleo diet doesn’t allow white flour, almond flour and protein powder are used instead. This results in a very tasty and very healthy snack that all ages can enjoy.