When you’re on a diet, health experts generally recommend having a healthy snack on hand to keep your hunger pangs at bay. Nuts are a fantastic option and not just because they’re easy to carry with you.
You don’t need a lot, they’re lightweight, don’t require refrigeration and isn’t a spillage-in-your-bag waiting to happen. Better yet, nuts are high in protein and fibre, filling you up quickly to prevent overeating at your next meal.
They’re also replete with nutrients that help to lower cholesterol and even boost your baby’s intelligence if you’re pregnant. One study by Loma Linda University in the United States found that you could eliminate your risk of heart disease by 37% by having nuts four times a week!
Nonetheless, you’re probably hesitant if you’ve heard that nuts are high in calories and fat. Well, you can put those fears to rest.
Research shows that instead of causing weight gain, eating nuts can actually help you get your midsection paunch under control. Of course, the types and quantity of nuts you’re eating matters (a lot), which brings us to our next point.
How many nuts should you eat?
A healthy amount of nuts to include in a balanced diet is a small handful (roughly 30–45 grams). If you’re mindlessly munching your way through a family-sized pack, you’re doing it wrong.
Having them raw or roasted doesn’t seem to make much of a nutritional difference – go for whichever you prefer!
For obvious reasons, you should avoid nuts covered in sugar and chocolate. Salted ones aren’t ideal either as they raise your sodium intake. If you’re going with nut butter, two tablespoons is your daily limit. You’re going to want to pass up on those that contain added oils, sugars or other sweeteners too.
How to add more nuts to your diet
Local Singaporean cuisine offers many opportunities to garnish your diet with nuts.
Beyond satay dips and the sprinkle of nuts you get with nasi lemak (again, not the healthiest ways to eat them!), you can try spreading your breakfast toast with nut butter instead of jam, or sprinkling a spoonful of nuts on your morning oatmeal.
When making vegetable stir-fries or noodle dishes, toss in a handful of cashews or almond slivers for a crispier bite. If stews and curries are your thing, ground nuts can help to thicken their texture.
You can never go wrong with mixing walnuts into your homemade baked goods, but do try out recipes that use nut flours instead of refined white flour for a helpful boost of fibre.
Alternatively, soak your favourite nuts overnight and blend them into crunchy dips or creamy sauces the next day. Your imagination is the limit!
Healthiest nuts to eat
There’s no reason to restrict your menu when it comes to nuts. Many of them contain a wealth of nutrients and minerals. These are some of our top picks.
Almonds: Known as one of the most nutrient-dense nuts, almonds have no shortage of vitamin E, magnesium and copper. Gram for gram, they have even more calcium than milk.
Peanuts: Rich in flavour and exceptionally high in protein, peanuts contain all 20 types of amino acids that can make up for shortfalls in our diet. It being so affordable doesn’t hurt, either.
Pistachios: Singaporeans typically eat about 13g of fibre a day, far short of the recommended 30g. The solution: Pistachios. With 10.6g of fibre per 100g, it’s one of the nuts with the highest component of fibre.
Brazil nuts: Though a little more uncommon, the creamy Brazil nut is gaining popularity. Its claim to fame is its high selenium content, which is about 1.65 times the recommended daily intake. Selenium is essential for heart, thyroid and cognitive health, but consume in moderation! It can be toxic in high doses.
Walnuts: Besides their anti-cholesterol properties, walnuts are an omega-3 powerhouse. Additionally, walnuts are full of polyphenols that prevent cognitive decline. No wonder they’re shaped like brains!
Cashews: Widely featured in vegan recipes, the cashew nut is a crowd-pleaser and for good reason. It’s loaded with the copper, iron and zinc that your body needs for the production of blood, as well as to maintain your immune and nervous system.
Pecans: When we’re stressed, our body creates free radicals. These are unstable atoms that induce cell aging. Pecans can reverse some of that damage with its high volume of flavonoids, plant-based compounds that have powerful antioxidant effects. In fact, pecans contain the most flavonoids of any tree nut!
Hazelnuts: Since Vitamin E supplements don’t quite offer the same health benefits as real foods, opt for hazelnuts instead. In addition to Vitamin E, they’ll supply you with a good dose of antioxidants as well. Most of these antioxidants are buried within the hazelnut’s skin though. Experts recommend eating whole, unroasted kernels to unlock their full benefits.
Support your weight loss efforts with CSH therapy®
Although including nuts in your diet will improve your overall health, you won’t be seeing significant weight loss if a slow metabolism is the root of your trouble. That’s where Absolute Wellness’ signature CSH therapy® can help.
Using a traditional Chinese approach that combines cupping, scraping and heat treatment, CSH therapy® can improve your metabolism in the long run so that your weight not only goes off, but stays off too. The best part: No extreme diets, no supplements, no exercise.
Since 2002, we’ve helped thousands of customers achieve their ideal figure. Book a consultation today to find out how CSH therapy® can help you.
*Results vary between individuals.
Nutritional calculations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodData Central