Yes, I really am! Nuts are one of my favourite foods. I often just eat them raw, or use them in cooking. For example, I love cashews and almonds in stir-fries, pine-nuts in pasta dishes, and peanuts in cookies. Not to mention of course, a classic veggie dish, the nut roast. (I haven’t made one for a long time actually, but maybe I will soon, and share the recipe here.)
Then there are nut butters, which are awesome. I think everyone enjoys peanut butter, but almond butter is even better (although more expensive) and even more nutritious by all accounts. I haven't tried the other nut butters which are available. Not yet anyway, but I am quite sure I will love them all. There are also all of the available “milks” made from nuts, which are delicious. I particularly love the almond variety.
A nut is actually the fruit of the plant, which consists of a hard shell and a single seed, where the shell does not open to release the seed. There are even some types of small nuts called nutlets. I love that word, and it has inspired me to try to create a vegan recipe: a Nutlet Cutlet!
These hard-shelled fruits are a source of many nutrients, and studies have shown that people who consume them regularly do not normally suffer from coronary heart disease (CHD). Nuts have a low glycaemic index (which is one reason I eat them quite a lot, as I am hypoglycaemic, and they help to prevent me from having blood sugar crashes). For this reason, apparently, recent research shows that they are also good for diabetics, and are recommended to be included in their daily diet. It appears that almonds are particularly beneficial in this respect. They have a very stabilising effect on blood sugar, and promote a feeling of fullness for several hours. Consequently, I have started eating more almonds just lately.
I am sure you will all agree, nuts are a godsend to vegans, as they are packed with protein, vitamins and minerals, and they are very easy and convenient, withno cooking required. You can just eat them raw, which I most often do. I often carry a bag of nuts around with me in my handbag when I am out and about, to have as a snack when I get hungry. It’s much easier than trying to find somewhere that serves a vegan sandwich, for example!
To list some of their, ahem, nut-rition , nuts contain antioxidants such as carotenes, resveratrol, lutein, etc, which help to ward off many diseases like cancers, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, degenerative nerve diseases, and viral/fungal infections. They are also a very good source of essential minerals such as potassium, manganese, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, fluoride and selenium. In addition they are a rich source of vitamin E, which is a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant, and helps to keep your skin looking young, among other things! Since it helps to mop up harmful oxygen-free radicals. Nuts also contain the all-important B-complex vitamins, such as B6, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, pantothenic acid and folates .(It seems like they are all there with the exception of B12, which is a pity!) These vitamins are essential for the brain and nervous system, normal metabolism, energy release from food, and general well-being.
The only real drawback to nuts is that they have a lot of fat in them (it’s the good kind of fat though, naturally, which doesn’t clog your arteries). However, fat being fat, it is still very high in caloric content. The only exception to this is the chestnut, which is relatively low-fat compared to other nuts.
So, even as much as I love this wonder food, I have to try and eat it in moderation, and not overdo it.
Hope you enjoyed this blog. Your votes and comments are much appreciated
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