Welcome to part 2 of my series about the nutritional value of nuts. Last week we learned about walnuts, cashews, and almonds. Today, we’ll explore my all-time faves. Let’s dig in!
Let’s start with a nut that many people forget or may not recognize, the Hazelnut or Filbert. They can be purchased with or without shells and make an appearance in some nut mixes. I prefer to buy them shelled.
These taste delicious when roasted and combined with vegetables like green beans in hot or cold salads. They’re also great for munching as they contain a bunch of wonderful nutrients including vitamins, minerals, antioxidant compounds, and healthy fats.
Hazelnuts may also help decrease blood fat levels, regulate blood pressure, reduce inflammation and improve blood sugar levels. They were my favorite when I was pregnant with my daughter, so she was nicknamed “Filbert” (I ate a lot of them before she was born).
Wondrously rich in monounsaturated fats, Macadamias are low in carbs and sugar. This means they are not likely to raise your blood sugar levels and are included on the popular Keto diet. Their “buttery” taste makes them somewhat high in calories, but they offer many health benefits that may outweigh their caloric content.
Macadamia is a genus of four species of trees indigenous to Australia. I was delighted to visit a plantation while on vacation in Southeastern Queensland, where I bought and ate a gazillion of them. They are high in manganese and thiamin (B2), also contain copper, magnesium, iron, and B6. Macadamia nuts are also loaded with flavonoids, tocotrienols, and antioxidants that safeguard your body against cellular damage and metabolic syndrome. They are delicious, nutritious, and a wonderful addition to salads, soups, cookies, and other foods, and add a richness and soft crunch that’s unique.
Pecans, ah, how Texans LOVE their Pecans. I lived in Texas for over 25 years and when in season, the local trees (native to Mexico and the Southern United States), produce thousands of the softly crunchy nuts that go well with just about anything; especially when baked into pies, roasted, candied, and crumbled over salads, veggies, or just munched raw as a snack.
We’re all familiar with pecan pie, a holiday delights. And should your friends offer you a “bag of pecans,” don’t hesitate to say Yes! They are high in protein, healthy fats, and fiber which can help keep you feel energized and satisfied. Pecans are a good source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which help lower blood pressure, and vitamin-E and zinc in pecans also give them anti-inflammatory properties. Most of the fat found in pecans is monounsaturated, the good kind. They also contain Omega-3 fats, which can help ease the pain of arthritis by reducing inflammation. In other words, pecans are truly “good for what ails ya.”
Walnuts vs Pecans
Walnuts and pecans look so much alike, you might be wondering what’s the nutritional difference between them? They both are extremely rich in monounsaturated fat. Walnuts are higher in Omega 3 and Omega-6 fatty acids while pecans are slightly higher in fiber, protein, and amino acids, yet they are lower in sodium and have a low glycemic (sugar raising) index. Walnuts are slightly higher in minerals, but pecans are higher in zinc. In the vitamin department, pecans win except for the B6 found in walnuts. Both are good for lowering cholesterol, vasodilation, and hypertension, and walnut oil may be good for lowering blood glucose levels in type II diabetes, it tastes great in salads and cooking. It’s often considered a good flavorful change from olive oil.
In terms of taste and texture, pecans are drier and sweeter, walnuts may be a little bit bitter due to their rich oil content, that’s why sometimes they are roasted. Both of them are widely used not only in raw form but also as an ingredient in pastries, candies, salads, cookies, pasta, as well as in the production of walnut butter and oil.
In my opinion, they are both great for snacks in any form! Roasted or eaten raw, you can cook with them or add them to fruit and yogurt and enjoy!
KEEP ALL YOUR RAW AND ROASTED NUTS REFRIGERATED in air-tight containers. They all contain oils which after a while may go rancid and ruin the taste and nutritional value of the nut.
Have you tried hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, or pecans? How do you like to eat them? Next week, I’ll have a bit of a surprise for you, we’ll add a seed to the mix! Make sure you meet me back here in a week’s time as we conclude our investigation of the wonderful world of nuts. See you then!
Contact me at https://www.thewellnessuniverse.com/world-changers/rickimckenna to receive a free copy of my eBook: “Yes, You CAN Eat Well and Eat Right, A Quick Guide to Organics and Stretching Your Food Dollar”
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