I work out pretty regularly and one thing I’m always looking for is protein and good ways to satisfy those munchies in-between meals. One of my big go-to munchies are nuts, especially almonds.
Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut…
Now, I’ve never had any allergies to nuts so I have never really thought twice about eating them except for fat content from time to time. But let’s face it, I’m a guy and at the end of the day, I don’t really care much about a few grams of fat here and there. Well, recently I got some trail mix from Trader Joe’s and it has peanuts, almonds, cashews, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and cranberries in it, very yummy. However, after eating a few handfuls I found myself feeling bloated. At first I thought I must have eaten something odd other than the trail mix, but later found that when I tried eating it again, I had the same problem. After doing some research, I found that peanuts are not as good for the digestive tract as I always thought they were. In fact, different nuts have very different properties. I tried cutting out peanuts from the mix (ate the rest that was in it), and voila, no problems. Here are a couple interesting facts I learned about peanuts along the way:
- Peanuts can get a fungus that generates poisons called aflatoxins. Apparently aflatoxins can cause liver damage.
- Peanuts are not actually nuts, they are legumes, edible seeds.
- They are not only high in protein, they are high in vitamins and minerals.
- Some people may not have severe allergic reactions to peanuts such as anaphylaxis, but may in fact have allergic reactions that present themselves in digestion issues.
Which Nut is the Right Nut?
So… that brings me to the next question. What are the best nuts to eat, and why? I thought it would be best to lay out some of the facts I found along the way first:
- Raw nuts, especially almonds, cashews and walnuts have been linked to lower cholesterol and help with weight control. That’s right, eating nuts can actually help you lose weight.
- Walnuts help fight inflammation because of the omega-3 fatty acids (brain food) they contain.
- Almonds are high in fiber and very good for your digestive system. They also are high in antioxidants.
- Brazil nuts are very high in selenium, which has been proven to prevent some cancers such as bone, prostate and breast cancer.
- Pistachios contain less than four calories each, making them the “skinniest” nut you can eat. They’ve also been shown to reduce lung cancer.
So which nut is my favorite? Well… If I have my choice, cashews are my favorite. Why? Because they they are high in iron and magnesium (which helps with your neurological system) and doggone it, they just taste great! Which nut is your favorite?
I grew up on pistachios! Often times waking up in the morning to bowls full of shells left by my family from the night before. Not only are they yummy, there is something about good conversation, laughing, and the cracking sound of getting that yummy nut opened!
So true! Pistachios are a lot of fun to eat (and even more fun to spell!)