Welcome to our third and final installment of the wonderful world of nuts! Last week we added hazelnuts, or filberts, and pecans to the mix. Read on to find out what nutty yumminess I have in store for you today.
Pine nuts, my go-to for Pesto and adding a toasty sweet crunch to salads, chicken, turkey, hummus and other delicious dishes, are also called piñón, pinoli, or pignoli. They are the edible seeds of several different species of pinecones. The logical answer to “why are they so expensive” is the time and effort needed to grow and harvest them is longer and more labor intensive than for others nuts.
However, in my humble opinion, they are worth the price, especially if you buy them in bulk. They are mildly sweet, delicious, provide a high amount of protein (4.5 grams in a ¼ cup), and a bunch of healthy fats. Pine nuts can increase your energy levels due to their protein, iron, and magnesium. They are considered “heart-heathy” due to polyunsaturated oils and a good balance of fats, fiber and proteins, and the antioxidant power of
Vitamin-E contained in them may help keep your skin healthy and young in appearance. Not bad for a tiny but powerful nut. When blended with fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper, they make an incredibly tasty and special treat (pesto) combined with so many herbs and other foods making life and eating wonderful. Do keep them refrigerated and the pesto should last for about 5 days unless you’re like me and spread it on everything from crackers to pasta, fish, and chicken salad (way better than mayonnaise) and occasionally consumed directly from a spoon.
Brazil nuts are native to the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, Bolivia and Peru, thus their name. They are highly nutritious and energizing, with a smooth, buttery texture and nutty flavor. They are “one of the most highly concentrated dietary sources” of selenium, a trace mineral that is vital for your thyroid, cell growth, and your immune system to function properly. “Higher levels of Selenium have been linked to enhanced immune function and better outcomes for cancer, infections, infertility, pregnancy, heart disease, and mood disorders.” They are also the largest of the nutritiously dense nuts and are a wonderful addition to any mixture you can make yourself. One study of 60 people found eating one or two Brazil nuts daily may be as effective as taking a selenium supplement for raising selenium levels in your system. Richly crunchy and delicious raw, they also may help regulate your thyroid, reduce inflammation and support your brain, and heart health.
And now, TADA! The Pistachio! Last on this list and certainly not the least.
Sometimes it is considered the most nutritious nut of them all. Versatile, rich in nutrients, people have been eating them for thousands of years in everything from ice cream to salads. Low in carbohydrates, sugar, and calories, High in protein, fats, Potassium, Phosphorous and Magnesium, a little B6 and Thiamine, they are good for overall health, energy and a good food for vegans and vegetarians. Chockfull of antioxidants, they are beneficial for your gut, eye, and healthy heart. Pistachios can even be helpful for weight loss. That is like any other nut or food, when eaten as a snack in moderation.
About 49-50 are equal to one ounce which is about ½ cup or so, unshelled. From a large amount of research, this is about the recommended daily amount for Pistachios. For me, it’s an exercise in eating slowly since it takes time to open each nut and extricate the kernels. If I’m feeling hungry, I try to gather about a dozen or so shelled before popping them into my mouth. I have used them in salads, soups, with sausage to stuff acorn
squash, or even chopped them into meatloaf. Haven’t made ice cream with them as our favorite ice cream shops do a great job of that. Besides, after shelling about 50 or so, my fingers are ready for a break!
Nuts are a healthful addition to any eating lifestyle
There you have seven of the most nutritious and yummy foods you can add to your daily regimen. For vegans and vegetarians, they are often a healthful addition as a protein source. Most are great for crunchy satisfying snacks as well as adding flavor, nutrients and interest to many dishes in your kitchen. They all contain nutritious fats, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins, and more necessary nutrients for your brain, energy, muscle building, digestion, and overall health.
Salted or unsalted, raw or roasted, nuts for most of us are a great snack food and travel well mixed with dried fruit or just by their nutritious selves. Make yourself a mix of your favorites, toss them into salads, cookies, soups, chicken, stuffing, and even smoothies or just chew and enjoy their health benefits all year round.
I hope this series inspired you to explore nuts and enjoy their amazing taste and wonderful health benefits. Let me know in the comments below which are your favorites and how you like to eat them. You can even share your favorite recipe!
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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