Which nut do you most identify with? 

Nuts are a very complete group of foods, which is why they are recommended for all groups of the population: children, adolescents, adults and old people, as well as for people with specific problems who can benefit from the nutritional composition of nuts, as in cases of constipation, high cholesterol, low iron and tiredness, among others.

The many nutritional properties of nuts in general are well-known. They are foods with a high calorie content (400-600kcal per 100g), though this is due to their (healthy) unsaturated fat content, vegetable protein, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals. It should be pointed out that, contrary to popular belief due to the high energy content of nuts, eating them does not lead to excessive weight gain, and is even associated with a reduction in adiposity (fatty matter) thanks to their satiating effect which can reduce intake of foods rich in energy or empty calories (high added sugar content).

When should you eat them?

Nuts should therefore be a basic, practically daily part of your diet. The key to not eating more calories than you should is to watch the amount and type of nuts you eat, i.e. avoiding those that are fried or have added salt. You are recommended to eat the nuts that fit in your closed fist (a daily intake equal to 25-30 grams a day).

A scientific study proved that volunteers following a Mediterranean diet enriched with nuts (15g of walnuts, 7.5g of almonds and 7.5g of hazelnuts a day) had a 50% lower risk of suffering a cerebral infarction.

Among other health benefits, we would stress their potassium content, which helps to regulate blood pressure, and folic acid, which is highly beneficial during pregnancy. Their content of vitamins, vitamin E (antioxidant) and vitamins in the B group (B1, B2 and B3), makes nuts a very complete food in terms of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).

 

WALNUTS

Walnuts (Juglans regia) come from what is believed to be one of the most ancient trees known to man.

Who hasn’t heard it said that walnuts stimulate the intelligence because of their marked similarity to the shape of the human brain? This rather unscientific myth was nevertheless backed up years later by science. Walnuts are rich in phytochemicals and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are healthy and beneficial to the brain. The phenolic compounds in walnuts not only reduce oxidative and inflammatory stress on the brain cells, but also improve interneuronal signalling. Moreover, eating 30g of walnuts a day helps to improve the elasticity of the blood vessels.

They have a high calorie content: a portion of walnuts (20g) contains about 130kcal, but this is not so much if it is compared to some of the cereal bars or snacks with added sugars and fats to be found on the market today.

Some walnut highlights…

Their high content of fibre, alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3), magnesium, phosphor, zinc, thiamine (vitamin B1), vitamin B6 and folic acid. They are also a source of proteins, potassium and iron.

One portion of walnuts (30g) is about 5-7 nuts.

ALMONDS

Hippocrates, considered the “father of science”, wrote the Corpus Hipocratum, a collection of medical works which mentioned, for the first time, the beneficial effects attributed to almonds.

Some almond highlights…

They have a high content of proteins, fibre, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphor, zinc, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin E. They are also a source of iron, folic acid, thiamine (vitamin B1) and niacin (vitamin B3).

One portion of almonds (30g) is about 15-18 nuts.

HAZELNUTS

Hazelnuts come from a series of trees of the genus Corylus, which are native to Asia, Europe and America. In ancient times hazelnuts were used as a medicine and a tonic. Greek physicians thought they were highly nutritious, though they recommended them roasted, as they believed they were hard to digest raw.

Some hazelnut highlights…

They have a high content of fibre, iron, magnesium, phosphor, potassium, folic acid, vitamin E and thiamine (vitamin B1). They are also a source of proteins, zinc and vitamin K.

One portion of hazelnuts (30g) is about 15-18 nuts.

 

 

 

As you have seen, nuts are a group of foods with a macronutrient and micronutrient content that is highly beneficial for your body. We therefore encourage you to make nuts part of your diet – a 30g portion a day is enough.

 

 

Bibliography:

  • Casas-Agustench P, et al., 2011. Mediterranean nuts: origins, ancient medicinal benefits and symbolism. Public Health Nutrition: 14(12A), 2296–2301.
  • Poulose SMMiller MG et al., 2014. Role of walnuts in maintaining brain health with age.  J Nutr. 2014 Apr; 144 (4 Suppl):561S-566S.
  • EU regulation no. 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and Council of 25th December 2011.
  • EU regulation no. 432/2012 of the Commission of 16th May 2012.
  • EU regulation no. 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and Council of 20th December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods.
  • Ros E, 2015. Nuts and CVD. British Journal of Nutrition (2015), 113, S111–S120.