Health Nut Benefits
Why Nuts & Seeds?
While one of the world’s greatest flavour combinations truly is peanut butter and chocolate (followed closely by peanut butter and jam) there are so many other delicious nuts (almond, hazelnut, pecan, macadamia etc.) that provide delicious, decadent and more sophisticated flavour profiles… and offer increased and diverse health benefits too!
The Health Benefits of Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are extremely nutritious. They are excellent sources of protein, rich in vitamins, essential fatty acids like omega 3 and omega 6, mono and poly unsaturated fatty acids, amino acids, minerals, fibre, and other chemicals that may prevent cancer and heart disease. In particular, the trace elements found in nuts and seeds are a vital part of any vegan or vegetarian’s diet.
Almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds…these foods are more than just a quick, healthy snack; studies have shown that nuts and seeds are heart-healthy and can help lower cholesterol levels.
In the 1980s the diet industry created a misguided “low fat” and “no fat” craze that’s caused many people avoid nuts and seeds because of their high fat content. However, nuts and seeds are dense in the right kind of calories. They’re rich in good fats, and the health benefits far outweigh these concerns.
Current research is now differentiating between “good fats” and “bad fat.” Good fats are the healthy Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs) and omegas that occur naturally in nuts and seeds, whole bad fats are trans fats or excessive amounts of saturated fat. Thank goodness the world is now wiping out those old anti-fat misconceptions. Most people now recognize the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil, but nuts, seeds, olives, other healthful oils, avocados and dark chocolate are all fabulous sources of Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acids.
It’s essential to get enough good fats in our diet, at least 20% to 35%. For example, unsaturated fats are essential for women who are pregnant and breastfeeding to ensure normal development of the fetus and baby. Other benefits of good fats include preventing inflammatory conditions such as Chrohn’s disease, arthritis, and asthma. Unsaturated fats also help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and actually decrease the chances of developing heart disease.
Since the majority of the fat in nuts and seeds are healthful unsaturated fats needed to fuel our bodies, the fact that they’re also very high in protein makes nuts and seeds an ideal food. Protein is needed to build muscle, cartilage, skin, blood, nails, and hair. It helps provide energy, maintain a strong immune system, and repair damaged tissue.
Nuts and seeds have a low glycemic index which helps to keep blood sugar levels regular. Unlike foods with a high glycemic index which cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and insulin, foods with a low glycemic index slowly release sugar into the bloodstream, protecting vital organs like the kidneys from being impaired by excessive amounts of sugar. Consuming more nuts and seeds can also have a positive impact on the glycemic load of a snack or meal, helping to balance other foods that are consumed at the same time.
Vitamins, Minerals, Fibre
Nuts and Seeds are rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that prevent many age-related diseases and can help slow the aging process. They are also high in B vitamins and a number of important minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. Selenium has been shown to help prevent the formation of tumours, particularly in the prevention of prostate cancer. And since iron and zinc are the trace minerals of greatest concern when considering the nutritional value of vegetarian diets, consuming nuts and seeds is essential. Nuts and seeds are also high in fibre which is helpful to the body in many ways such as preventing constipation, certain diseases, and keeping weight under control.
Probiotics for Healthy Stomach Flora
Our cheese wedges are made with dairy-free probiotic strains L. Acidophilus & B. Bifidum. Probiotics play a key role in human nutrition and health in balancing the intestinal microflora naturally and improving digestive and immune processes.
Another advantage to consuming more nuts and seeds is that they are extremely satisfying. They can provide a sense of fullness that actually helps us to eat less of other high-calorie, high fat foods. As a result, consuming more nuts and seeds in the proper portions is often healthy way to help you lose weight.
And did you know that chocolate cravings are often linked to a need for more good fats in the diet… just make sure that you’re reaching for high quality dark chocolate (or some of our natural, low glycemic, Notella) and not a candy bar!
Adding balanced portions of nuts and seeds to your diet has enormous health benefits. Of course, as with any food, they should be eaten in moderation. One to two servings of nuts and seeds (one or two tablespoons of nut butter) per meal will go a long and delicious way. Enjoy!