Food Focus: Nuts

Almonds text

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My go to ingredient for baking. Almonds are native to the Middle East, but you can buy them almost anywhere. Almonds are very rich in calcium, with 265mg of calcium per 100g of almonds. On top of that, per 100g of almonds, you get 27mg of vitamin E, great for keeping your skin healthy, and 20g of plant based protein.

Almonds are a great source of antioxidants, which you may know help to fight against oxidative stress against our body’s cells. The antioxidants found in almonds are mostly contained within the dark outer skin of the almond, meaning pale blanched almonds are not as antioxidant rich as standard almonds.

It is common for people to avoid certain nuts because of their fat content. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, which are one of the good healthy fats that can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood, which in turn can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Monounsaturated fats are just fat molecules that have one unsaturated carbon bond in the molecule, also known as a double bond.

Recipes using Almonds

Cashew text

Cashews are not actually a nut, but the seed of the cashew apple. But in my head it’s a nut, so we’ll go with that. They are not so high in vitamins, but are high in the minerals magnesium, with nearly 300mg of magnesium per 100g cashews, and zinc, with 6mg per 100g of cashews.

Cashews contain high levels of lutein, a caratenoid found in the macula, a small area of the retina which is responsible for central vision. This caratenoid protect our eyes from light damage, acting like small sunglasses over our retinas. Over time the levels of lutein can deplete, and so to help prevent the long term damaged caused by the sun, it’s a good idea to includ sources of lutein in the diet.

Cashews are great for making cream and cheese alternatives, provided you soak them overnight first. Soaked cashews are very soft and when blended can make thick cashew milk, or with less water will make a cream, and then with even less water can make a thick cream cheese like paste. Dairy free cheesecakes commonly use soaked cashews as a substitute for cream cheese.

Recipes using cashews

Walnuts text

Walnuts are a great source of your essential fatty acid omega-3, which is great for improving circulation and memory. On top of that, omega-3 lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol, and increases the production of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as good cholesterol. Because of this, snacking on a handful of walnuts per day can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Walnuts are also rich in skin healing vitamin E, as well as both manganese and copper, minerals that are essential for destroying the free radicals that cause cell breakdown. These antioxidants are essential to keeping your skin glowing and putting off premature aging.

Recipes using Walnuts

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