I Gotta Be Nuts
I must nuts to be posting on a beautiful Friday afternoon, when I could be out fishing with the boys. But, if I have to be nuts, I might as well write about nuts.
So, what about nuts? Well, let’s begin by going back to basics. One way of classifying food is into two groups; macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients.
Sometimes it’s really easy to pick a food’s category. Meat = protein and fat, potatoes, rice and bread = carbs. That little pill you take with your breakfast = vitamins and minerals.
Sometimes, though, it’s not quite as clear cut, and that is where we find nuts. Most nuts are high in fat and protein, so they fall into the macro-nutrient category. Of course, when we think macro-nutrients, we consider them to be the components of a meal. Nuts aren’t that.
On the other hand, most nuts are also high in various and sundry vitamins and minerals, so they also fall into the micro-nutrient category.
Which nuts contain which vitamins and minerals? Well, the most common; peanuts (yeah, I know, it’s a legume, not a nut), walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews and Brazil nuts all contain Vitamin E and magnesium.
Beyond that, though, the micro-nutrient levels are fairly small.
So, nuts. Which are they, micro-nutrients or macro-nutrients?
Eh, who cares? Micro or macro, nuts have a few benefits. They:
- Taste great
- Contain that lovely Vitamin E, plus the fats in them are the good kind
- Contain large amounts of fibre
All of which means that nuts are a terrific aid in weight loss.
Yes, weight loss. In order to lose weight, you have to put your body into a calorie deficit, which is a fancy way of saying you have to burn more than you eat. There are two ways to do this, reduce consumption and increase output.
Nuts help reducing your calorie consumption because, first, they are less calorie dense than junk food; if you eat the same volume in nuts as doughnuts or cake, you’re (generally) getting fewer calories.
Second, while they might not taste as good as a candy bar, they do taste mighty yummy, so you can sate the snacking impulse with something tasty and nutritious.
Third, being high in fibre, fat and protein, nuts are slower to digest than a bag of chips, so you’re not ready for more as quickly.
Eating less in total, eat less garbage, and eat less often will help put you into calorie deficit.
Beyond weight loss, nuts have a great track record with improving your health with benefits like:
- Balancing your cholesterol
- Lowering the risk of heart disease
- Reducing the risk of certain cancers
- Lowering blood sugar
- Reducing blood pressure
So, my recommendation to you? Go nuts.