Many people exclude nuts and seeds from their diets because they think they are fattening…but quite the reverse is true. Nuts and Seeds are nutritional powerhouses that are tasty, extremely versatile and scientific research has shown them to actually help with weight loss not cause it…Let’s dive deeper and look at Why You Need More Nuts and Seeds in Your Life and Amazing Ways to Eat Them.
Its about a 5 minute read, here’s a brief outline
- Nuts and Seeds – Nutrition
- The Benefits of Eating Seeds and Nuts in a Nutshell
- Amazing Ways to Eat Them
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Nuts and Seeds – Nutrition
There are lots of different types of nuts and seeds which all contain similiar amounts of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat) but each have differing amounts of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) dependant on the variety.
Generally, we can say that nuts and seeds are:-
- High in monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
- Low in saturated fats.
- High in protein (a good choice for non meat eaters).
- Contain zero cholesterol.
- High in fibre so great for good gut health.
- A fantastic source of antioxidants.
- Good source of vitamins E and some of the B vitamin group.
- Contain minerals i.e. magnesium, zinc, plant iron, calcium, copper, selenium, phosphorus and potassium.
Common varieties of nuts and seeds to eat:-
- Brazil nuts
- Cashew nuts
- Pine nuts
- coconut (read more)
- Pumpkin seeds
- Flax seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Poppy seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds.
The Benefits of Eating Seeds and Nuts in a Nutshell 😁
- Healthy and highly nutritious.
- Help with weight control.
- High in antioxidants, fibre and healthy fats.
- Great Taste.
- Satisfying and Satiating – They fill you up for a long time.
- They are relatively inexpensive.
Highly nutritious and healthy.
Eating nuts and seeds will reduce the risk of many diseases including heart disease, diabetes and other lifestyle diseases caused by oxidative stress and inflammation. This is due to their excellent nutritional profile which contains much of what our bodies need to help us thrive and protecting us from disease. There is nothing in nuts and seeds that will harm us or cause disease.
An Ace in the Whole for Weight Control
Nuts and Seeds keep you feeling full up but it’s a different kind of full. You don’t feel bloated or stuffed and uncomfortable, there is just this lovely full satisfied feeling which lasts a long time. Being full for longer and not feeling hungry is a winner if you are fighting to loose weight.
There has been much scientific research. Click here for more on how nuts and seeds help in weight control.
Amazing Ways to Eat Them
- The more variety of nuts and seeds you take in your diet the better because your body will receive more variety of nutrients. Variety is the spice of life as they say.
- For top nutrition try to eat them raw or dehydrated but light cooking is also fine and can make some recipes easier and tastier.
- Avoid all processed packets of nuts of any variety.
Obviously you can just take a handful of nuts or seeds and eat them and thats great but below are some great ideas for delicious and easy ways to get them into your diet.
Raw Sweets and Treats
The internet is awash with raw sweets, treats and desserts recipes and most of them contain nuts and/or seeds. Just google your favourite dessert with the word raw in front.
My ‘go to’ raw sweet treat is Chocolate Brownies. I eat these every day, they are amazing, moreish and healthy too. The main ingredient of these is almonds. Subscribe to my blog this week to receive the recipe direct to your inbox.
Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seeds are touted as a superfood, such is the magnificence of their nutritional profile. Chia seed pudding is a regular on my breakfast menu.
My Favourite Chia Seed Pudding recipe
- 2.5 tablespoons Chia Seeds
- Homemade coconut milk enough to cover seeds by about an inch
- Half teaspoon raw honey (Vegan can use coconut sugar)
- 5 frozen organic raspberries
- 3 organic strawberries cut up
- 1 portion of fresh pineapple cut up
- 5 dried sour cherries (soaked overnight if I remember)
Put chia seeds in bowl cover with milk then stir. Stir in the rest of the ingredients except the honey and allow to set. (10 minutes to overnight whatever suits you) Spread the honey over the top of the pudding or stir in.
Why It’s so great:-
- Chia seed pudding sets so can be portable easily with the right container
- You can make them ahead of time by soaking them overnight or you can make them with just minutes to spare
- They are extremely healthy, in fact they are a superfood
- They can’t help but be tasty, you make them to suit your own tastebuds. You might also want to adjust the setting time so that the texture is to your taste. Note: if you dont like the texture you can blend them to a mousse texture.
- Chia seeds are great for weight control, they form a thick gel which expands in your tummy making you feel full. They also contain healthy fats and protein keeping you full for longer and are low in calories.
Nut or Seed Butters
There are some good brands on the market but homemade is best in terms of deliciousness, cost and nutrition.
My go to recipe is sunflower or pumpkin seed butter. Simply because they are much less expensive than nuts especially as I always buy organic. Besides that the seed butter is absolutely delicious anyway.
The recipe for seed butters or nuts butters are interchangeable. You can use either nuts or seeds, whatever you fancy or have in your cupboard.
Homemade Seed/Nut Butter
- 2 cups sunflower/pumpkin seeds or Almonds
- A sprinkle of salt
- Coconut sugar (1 teaspoon or to taste)
- Vanilla to taste (pod, paste, extract)
- Spreads seeds/nuts evenly over a baking tray and lightly sprinkle with salt. Place in oven at 180 degrees celsius for around 10 minutes. Check after 5 minutes some seeds are more delicate. You don’t want them to colour.
- Remove and leave to cool completely
- In your high speed blender ( I use a Vitamix) blitz the nuts using your tamper to continually press the nuts or seeds down into the blades until it turns into nut butter consistency. It will first be a paste, stick with it, it will eventually become nut butter. It may take some time.
- Remove carefully from blender into large bowl, it may be very hot, stir in the coconut sugar and vanilla and then transfer to sterilised jar.
Please Note: if you use pumpkin seeds your nut butter will be green.
Almonds, Hazelnuts and Coconut all make amazing nut milks. You can try anything though. Using coconut is more cost efficient which is why I use this on a daily basis. You can also use seeds which is very cost effictient but I don’t think the result is as delicious.
Nut Milk Recipe
- 2 cups of any nuts (including coconut)
- Vanilla (pods, paste, extract)
- Blend everything for around 3 minutes in your high speed blender.
- Strain through a nut milk bag into a large jug
- Pour into a bottle and place in the fridge ready for use
Please Note: You can if you wish sweeten with raw honey or coconut sugar and any other flavourings or spices you fancy like turmeric, cinamon, ginger etc
These make an amazing healthy alternative to bread and savoury biscuits. Homemade is best of course. I make mine raw using the dehydrator. but you can if you prefer make regular seed crackers. There are loads of recipes online.
These are a regular on my breakfast table with spicy avocado dip and my homemade seed butter. My raw crackers I make contain a mixture of flax seeds (also called linseeds) sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.
Sprinkle over salads, stir frys, stews and casseroles
Nuts and seeds are awesome included in main meals, Seeds can easily be sprinkled over salads. Sesame seeds are especially delicious sprinkled over an asian style salad but you can get creative and try different things.
Pesto sauce is traditionally made using basil and pine nuts… but you can swap these out and use nuts like walnuts or almonds, and instead of basil you can use rocket or kale. Get Creative. Delicious served with simple grilled meats, fish and chicken.
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