Incorporating the high calorie dense almonds and cashewnuts to enrich the taste of a dish has been followed in the Indian tradition since time immemorial. Our ancestors also strongly believed that nuts helped not only in improving the brain health but also optimizing immunity and building stronger bones and joints. This is the reason why children are almost often fed almonds and walnuts in an Indian household.
Nuts are clubbed in the same group as meat, fish, lentils, beans, and eggs due to their protein content. They provide a range of nutrients including the heart healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Are nuts good for the heart?
Research suggests that consuming a handful of nuts daily may help in reducing the risk of heart disease. This is attributed to the low proportion of saturated fats to the mono and poly unsaturated fats in them. The fiber and the plant sterols in them help reduce the cholesterol re absorption from the gut. The low sodium and high potassium levels in them also assist in keeping the blood pressure in check. Besides this they have a good range of antioxidants in them that assists in reducing the inflammation
What about diabetes?
Nuts with their fat and fiber content have a low glycemic index. This means that they slow the passage of food through the gut and help in regulating the blood sugar levels. For the non diabetic their regular intake reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes which has been substantiated by a number of studies.
And most importantly, what about weight loss?
As against popular belief that eating nuts causes weight gain they may actually help reduce the risk of obesity. The healthy fat and the fiber in them keeps one full thus controlling appetite. If one consumes calories within the recommended amount and nuts are a part of that diet then it will in fact aid in weight loss. They are a healthier option to the other junk which one may have like cookies, chips, biscuits, etc.