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Where nutrition is considered, edible nuts have high value, as they are rich in protein, essential fats, vitamins and minerals. A handful of nuts can enrich your daily diet with many essential nutrients. Just make sure that they are unsalted and not additives in rich, creamy desserts so that you can derive only benefits to boost your health.
As already mentioned, nuts are packed with nutrients, which include antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. They also have some advantages. They have a longer shelf-life than vegetables and fruits. You can have them as they are. They don't need any preparation or cooking. Also, they come in their own protective shells. Doctors say that having nuts daily may even help you to live longer. Research has revealed that people who have nuts regularly live longer and are less likely to die of heart and respiratory ailments, and even cancer.
Nuts are actually good for both health and beauty. Being rich in antioxidants, they actually help to delay ageing and degeneration of the body. The antioxidants help to protect the body from degenerative diseases, as well as heart disease. They also contain Vitamin E, which itself is an antioxidant. It also protects the skin and delays the visible signs of ageing. They are rich in B-Complex Vitamins, which are essential for our good health and mental well-being. They are also a rich source of fatty acids, which lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. In fact, nuts actually play an important role in maintaining a healthy blood lipid profile, thus helping to prevent heart diseases and strokes. They are said to also help in lowering blood pressure. It goes without saying that if you are suffering from any particular disease or condition, you should consult your doctor before making changes in your diet.
Your choice of nuts can be influenced by many of their particular properties. For example, Almonds are a good source of calcium and Vitamin E, both of which protect the heart and also the good health of the skin and hair. Pista or pistachios can also be a good choice because they are rich in Vitamin B6, which helps to maintain good health and the functioning of the hormones. They also protect the eyes and contain a high level of potassium. Another important nut that may be taken daily is walnuts, which are rich in antioxidants and omega-3 acids, needed by the body. They are said to keep the heart healthy and help to maintain the desired blood sugar level. Again, it is important to consult your doctor before discontinuing medication and including new items in the diet.
One aspect that may be of concern is the question of weight gain on a high diet of nuts. The daily consumption of nuts should be about a handful. Studies have shown that a regular diet of nuts has not caused weight gain. Although nuts are high in fat, it is most of the healthy kind. Certain nuts contain more saturated fats and they are to be taken in less quantity. Among these is the cashew nut, while walnut has less saturated fat than cashew nut. Almonds are low in saturated fats. Peanuts are the most popular in India. They are cheaper and more easily available. They are actually legumes but contain most of the properties that nuts have. Peanuts are rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. So, let nuts be a part of your daily diet.
(The article is contributed by Shahnaz Husain, a Padma Shri Award recipient and pioneer of the Ayurvedic beauty movement and the head of a global network of franchise ventures and 375 formulations)
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