Nuts are considered a protein food and have many health benefits. Nuts have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. Also, due to their high fibre, healthy fat and protein content, nuts help by increasing satiety, which can help with lowering body weight.
Women who suffer from Type II diabetes are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease than men and eating nuts as part of a healthy diet can help reduce that risk.
All nuts are considered a healthy protein, but each nut can have unique health benefits. Knowing what these heath benefits are is a good way to determine how to choose healthy nuts for women.
How to eat nuts
1. Know how much to eat
Making the choice to eat nuts every day is a good choice. Nuts are high in good fats, protein, fibre, micronutrients, and B vitamins. Nuts are also high in calories, so do not eat more nuts per day than what you can manage to hold in your closed fist.
2. Always try to eat your nuts raw and unsalted
To preserve the health benefits of the good fats in nuts, try to eat them raw – not roasted. Choose unsalted nuts, since excess sodium can lead to water retention, weight gain, and a greater risk for high blood pressure.
3. Eat nuts as snacks
Nuts make great snacks because they do not need refrigeration and can be popped in a pocket for an emergency hunger pang. Furthermore, nuts are filling and the extra protein provides long-lasting energy.
4. Add nuts to meals
Cashews and peanuts go well in a stir fry or Thai food. They cook like a raw whole bean, so the longer they are cooked the softer their texture becomes. Peanuts (ground nuts) are actually legumes, not nuts, and do not have quite the same beneficial health qualities as tree nuts.
Choosing the healthiest nuts for women
Different nuts can serve specific purposes based on research and nutritional content.
1. Choose walnuts for best overall health effects for women
Walnuts have multiple benefits including almost as much omega 3 fatty acids as salmon. Fatty acids increase brain function, protect against Type II diabetes and decrease risk of cardiovascular disease. Research has indicated that walnuts promote immune health, increase vitamin B6, and could slow the development of breast cancer.
2. Choose almonds for the best cancer protection
Almonds are the most nutrient-dense nuts and contain very high levels of vitamin E which has been shown to protect against stroke and cancer, including breast and colon cancer.
3. Choose macadamias, pecans and cashew nuts for heart health
All these nuts are high in monounsaturated fatty acids. Pecans have the highest amount of unsaturated fatty acids and the lowest amount of saturated fatty acids compared to other nuts. Cashews also offer high in iron.
4. Choose Brazil nuts to help guard against best breast cancer
Brazil nuts are high in selenium. Selenium has been shown to lower the risk of breast cancer â?? an important aspect of womenâ??s health.
5. Choose hazelnuts if you are pregnant or of child bearing age
Hazelnuts are high in folate, which protects against birth defects. They are also high in vitamins E and B, may help delay dementia, and help to lower blood pressure.
6. Choose pistachios to fill you up
Pistachios are high in protein and fibre. They protect against cardiovascular disease and lower LDL cholesterol levels. Pistachios are good healthy nuts for women who need to lose weight.
7. Choose peanuts for high protein and heart health
Peanuts are high in protein, keep cholesterol levels low and protect against cardiovascular disease.
Buying and storing nuts
1. Nuts spoil quickly
Nuts spoil quickly so storing them properly is important for maintaining optimal freshness and health benefits. Roasted nuts have a shorter shelf life than raw nuts since the oil in roasted nuts goes rancid quickly.
2. Buy your nuts in bulk
Itâ??s always more economical to buy your nuts in bulk. Nuts store well as long as theyâ??re kept refrigerated in airtight containers. Itâ??s a good idea to keep small amounts of nuts at room temperature but the bulk refrigerated.
3. Avoid nuts seasoned with chemical food additives
Avoid buying nuts that have been salted or seasoned with chemicals, e.g. MSG, and artificial colourings and flavourings.
Allergic reactions to nuts can be extremely serious and sometimes fatal. Should you detect any tree nut or ground nut allergy in yourself, consult your health practitioner immediately.
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