• 06Dec

    Good things come in small packages when it comes to the nutrition benefits of pistachios.  These bite-sized and crunchy nuts have numerous health benefits and make for great mid-meal snacks.

    The vibrant colour of pistachio indicates high antioxidant content. Pistas are also high in beta-carotene and the compound oleanolic acid, both of which are potent anti-inflammatory compounds. They also contain phytosterols, a type of anti-inflammatory plant hormone associated with improved immune function.

    6 Health Benefits of Pistachios (Pista): From Weight Loss to Heart Health

    One ounce of pistachios provide:

    – More dietary fiber (3 grams) than 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli
    – Six grams of protein – the same amount as 1 ounce of soybeans
    – Good’ fat—7 grams of monounsaturated and 4 grams of polyunsaturated fats, which are considered heart healthy
    – Less than 2 grams of saturated fat
    – Phytosterols, which may decrease the risk of heart disease
    – As much potassium as 1/2 of a large banana
    – Vitamin B6
    – Copper
    – Thiamin
    – Phosphorous
    – Manganese
    – No cholesterol
    – No trans fat

    Pistachios also have more antioxidant power per 100 grams than blueberries, blackberries, garlic, and pomegranate juice.

    Lutein, an antioxidant found in green and yellow vegetables, is also found in pistachios. This antioxidant has been widely studied and shown to support eye health. Pistachios have more lutein in them than any other nut.

    Health Benefits Of Pistachios

    1. Healthy Heart
    One of the biggest health benefits of pistachios is that they are heart-friendly nuts. Research suggests that regular pistachio consumption can decrease the levels of bad LDL cholesterol in the body. The antioxidants, phytosterols, and unsaturated fatty acids (both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids) are great for promoting a healthy heart.

    2. Weight Management
    Pistachios are also the first choice of people who are dieting. Evidence suggests that pistachios, with their lower calories, high protein, low saturated fat, and high unsaturated fats, are a perfect contender for ideal weight management.

    3. Pistachios Contain Beneficial Antioxidants
    As our cells grow older, they accumulate oxidative damage. This can be related to the presence of free radicals, which can cause considerable damage to cells. A class of molecules called antioxidants can sweep up these free radicals and reverse some of the cellular damage.

    Pistachios are an excellent source of antioxidants, including lutein, beta-carotene, and gamma-tocopherol (Penn State News, 2010). Beta-carotene serves as a precursor to vitamin A, while gamma-tocopherol is used as a precursor to vitamin E. Both vitamin A and vitamin E themselves have very high antioxidant activity, making pistachios a great way to reap some of the oxidative damage-fighting effects of these vitamins. In a randomized study of the effects of pistachios, researchers found that incorporating these nuts into the diet was associated with lower levels of harmful LDL cholesterol (Penn State News, 2010), possibly because of the antioxidants present in pistachios.

    4. Pistachios Contain Vitamin B6
    Vitamin B6 has myriad health benefits. Failure to get enough vitamin B6 has been associated with elevated risk of cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and cognitive dysfunction (Office of Dietary Supplements, 2015). Thus, getting vitamin B6 through your diet may improve your cardiovascular health and keep your brain sharp. Women need 1.5 mg of vitamin B6 per day, while men need 2 mg per day. A 1-ounce serving of pistachios contains 0.4 mg of vitamin B6, helping you reach your daily recommended intake of this beneficial vitamin.

    5. Weight Control
    Snacking on pistachios can help you to lose weight as well as maintain a healthy weight. By snacking on a serving between meals, the healthy fats, fiber and protein of pistachio nutrition can help you to fend up hunger between meals. Snacking on pistachios can also help you not begin your next meal feeling so ravenous because they help you achieve satiety.

    Research from the UCLA School of Medicine showed that subjects who substituted pistachio nuts for food such as candy bars, dairy products, microwave popcorn, buttered popcorn and potato chips, with pistachios accounting for 20 percent of total calories for three weeks, did not gain any bodyweight, lowered their overall cholesterol and increased their good cholesterol.

    6. Eye Health
    Pistachios are the only nuts that contain a significant amount of the carotenoids known as lutein and zeaxanthin. (4) Dietary carotenoids are believed to provide health benefits to the body by decreasing the risk of disease, particularly certain cancers and eye disease.

    Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids found in the retina and lens of the eye. The results of epidemiological studies suggest that diets rich in lutein and zeaxanthin may help slow the development of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Carotenoids are best absorbed with fat in a meal or in the case of pistachio nutrition, good fat is already part of the package, making it easier for the body to absorb pistachio’s lutein and zeaxanthin.

    7. Aphrodisiac Properties
    Pistachios have been shown to have a positive effect on men’s sexual vitality. A 2011 study conducted by the Department of 2nd Urology at Atatürk Teaching and Research Hospital in Turkey had subjects consume 100 grams of pistachio nuts at lunch every day for a period of three weeks, which was 20 percent of their daily caloric intake. These subjects were all married men ranging in age from 38 to 59 who had erectile dysfunction (ED) for at least 12 months prior to the study. The men were instructed to maintain similar daily dietary intake, similar physical activity and other lifestyle habits so the only major change was the addition of pistachios to their diets.

    The results of the study, published in the International Journal of Impotence Research, showed that these men with ED had a significant improvement in erectile function as well as improvement in their serum lipid levels. One reason pistachio nuts likely help ED and work as a natural remedy for impotence is the fact that they’re relatively high in the non essential amino acid arginine, which appears to maintain flexible arteries and enhance blood flow by boosting nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes blood vessels.

    8. Prevents Diabetes
    Pistachios may also have benefits for people with diabetes. In a study published in the Review of Diabetic Studies in 2014, diabetic subjects who ate 25 grams of pistachios, or about an ounce, daily for 12 weeks improved their blood glucose levels. They also reduced their blood pressure, body mass index and C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in the body.

    9. Absorption of Iron
    Pistachios have a high copper content, which helps in the higher absorption of iron into the body from food sources. This can help combat conditions like anemia.

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  • 15Aug

    Of all the nuts, I love Brazil nuts the most. I eat about 3 to 4 pieces of Brazil nuts every morning. I am nuts over these nuts!

    Brazil nuts contain a significant amount of selenium, a trace element your body needs to function properly. Selenium acts as an antioxidant, which means it protects your cells from damage caused by exposure to toxins and other harmful substances. In 2008, researchers from New Zealand tried to determine if eating Brazil nuts would increase plasma selenium levels. Some study participants ate two Brazil nuts per day for twelve weeks. The researchers asked other participants to take a 100-microgram selenium supplement or a placebo daily. Plasma selenium concentration increased by 64.2 percent in the people who ate Brazil nuts and 61 percent in the people who took a selenium supplement. The Brazil nuts also helped enhance the activity of substances that act as antioxidants in the human body. The antioxidant effects of Brazil nuts are what make them a superfood.

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    Additional Nutritional Benefits
    A 1-ounce serving of Brazil nuts contain 27 percent the RDA for magnesium which helps with the functioning of muscles, the production of protein and absorption of energy from food. They also offer 25 percent of the RDA for copper which can help the body use iron, maintain bone and connective tissue health, promote thyroid function, support the production of melanin and protect and repair tissues. With 20 percent of the RDA for phosphorous, Brazil nuts also support bone and teeth health. Brazil nuts also provide manganese, zinc, vitamin E, potassium and riboflavin.

    Considerations
    The high fat content of Brazil nuts means they go rancid easily. Store them in the refrigerator or freezer to maintain their freshness. Regularly eating multiple servings of Brazil nuts may cause negative health effects. The CIDPUSA Foundation notes that more than 10 times the RDA of selenium can cause brittle hair and fingernails, stimulate skin rashes, affect the nervous system, make you feel fatigued and disrupt digestion causing diarrhea. Remember, moderation is the key.

    Organic Brazil Nuts (Raw, No Shell)

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  • 06May

    Eating a handful of nuts is a part of my healthy diet everyday.  Nuts, which contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients are a great snack food, too.  Though some nuts like almonds, pistachios, macadamia and pecan are expensive in our country, I do not mind spending a little more on these healthy snacks.  Nuts are way healthier than chips, candies and fries.

    The type of nut you eat isn’t that important, although some nuts have more heart-healthy nutrients and fats than do others. Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, you name it – almost every type of nut has loads of nutrition packed into a tiny package.

    My kids have been trained to eat nuts everyday.  I pack a handful of roast almonds,  cashew nuts, walnuts or broad beans into my children’s lunch boxes almost daily.  They add nuts into yoghurt, cereals or eat them as they are.  In the early days, nuts were not my children’s kind of snacks.  I  keep telling them that nuts are healthy and since they do not drink dairy milk, nuts are an excellent alternative source of calcium for the health of their bones and teeth.

    In our kitchen larder, hardly do our children see chips or crackers.  Instead, the larder is always well stocked with an assortment of nuts, organic brown rice rings, organic seed and nut crackers and the occasional ‘healthy’ low-sodium multi-grain tortilla chips with zero MSG.

    As you can see below, these are our comfort snacks to run to in between meals:

     

    Eating Nuts Benefits Your Heart

    People who eat nuts as part of a heart-healthy diet can lower the low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol level in their blood. High LDL is one of the primary causes of heart disease.

    Eating nuts may reduce your risk of developing blood clots that can cause a fatal heart attack. Nuts also appear to improve the health of the lining of your arteries.

    In A Nutshell, Why Are Nuts Healthy?

    Besides being packed with protein, most nuts contain at least some of these heart-healthy substances:

    • Unsaturated fats.  The “good” fats in nuts — both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can lower bad cholesterol levels.
    • Omega-3 fatty acids.  Many nuts are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are a healthy form of fatty acids that may help your heart by, among other things, preventing dangerous heart rhythms that can lead to heart attacks.  Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in many kinds of fish, but nuts are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
    • Fiber. All nuts contain fiber, which helps lower your cholesterol. Fiber makes you feel full, so you eat less. Fiber is also thought to play a role in preventing diabetes.
    • Vitamin E. Vitamin E may help stop the development of plaques in your arteries, which can narrow them. Plaque development in your arteries can lead to chest pain, coronary artery disease or a heart attack.
    • Plant sterols. Some nuts contain plant sterols, a substance that can help lower your cholesterol. Plant sterols are often added to products like margarine and orange juice for additional health benefits, but sterols occur naturally in nuts.
    • L-arginine. Nuts are also a source of l-arginine, which is a substance that may help improve the health of your artery walls by making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots that can block blood flow.

    assorted-nuts-bazzini-500x900.png

     

    What amount of nuts is considered healthy?

    As much as 80 percent of a nut is fat. Even though most of this fat is healthy fat, it’s still a lot of calories. That’s why you should eat nuts in moderation. Ideally, you should use nuts as a substitute for saturated fats, such as those found in meats, eggs and dairy products.

    Instead of eating unhealthy saturated fats, try substituting a handful of nuts or a tablespoon or two of a nut spread. The American Heart Association recommends eating four servings of unsalted nuts a week. Select raw or dry-roasted nuts rather than those cooked in oil.

    22100414-walnuts2.jpg

    Does it matter what kind of nuts you eat?

     Possibly. Most nuts appear to be generally healthy, though some more so than others. Walnuts are one of the best-studied nuts, and it’s been shown they contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts and pecans are other nuts that appear to be quite heart healthy. And peanuts — which are technically not a nut, but a legume, like beans — seem to be relatively healthy.

    Keep in mind, you could end up canceling out the heart-healthy benefits of nuts if they’re covered with chocolate, sugar, flavors, MSG or salt!

     

    Nuts Help You To Live Longer!

    The largest study of its kind, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, finds that people who eat a handful of nuts every day live longer than those who do not eat them at all.

    Scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Harvard School of Public Health came to this conclusion after analyzing data on nearly 120,000 people collected over 30 years.

    The analysis also showed that regular nut eaters tended to be slimmer than those who ate no nuts, putting to rest the notion that eating nuts leads to weight gain.

    Previous studies have already shown links between eating nuts and lower risk for many diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, colon cancer and diverticulitis.

    Eating lots of nuts has also been associated with lower cholesterol, reductions in inflammation, oxidative stress, body fat and insulin resistance.

    Each nut variety contains its own unique combination of nutrients and is generally rich in a few nutrients such as:

      • Almonds: protein, calcium and vitamin E
      • Brazil nuts: fibre and selenium: just two brazil nuts a day provides 100% RDI for selenium for an adult
      • Cashews: non haem (plant based) iron and a low GI rating
      • Chestnuts: low GI, fibre and vitamin C (although much vitamin C is lost during cooking)
      • Hazelnuts: fibre, potassium, folate, vitamin E
      • Macadamias: highest in monounsaturated fats, thiamin and manganese
      • Pecans: fibre and antioxidants
      • Pine nuts: vitamin E and the arginine amino acid
      • Pistachios: protein, potassium, plant sterols and the antioxidant resveratrol
      • Walnuts: alpha linoleic acid: plant omega 3 and antioxidants

    A healthy daily intake of nuts is 30g (a small handful) or approximately:

    • 20 almonds
    • 15 cashews
    • 20 hazelnuts
    • 15 macadamias
    • 15 pecans
    • 2 tablespoons of pine nuts
    • 30 pistachio kernels
    • 9 walnut kernels
    • a small handful of mixed nuts or about two of each of the ten nut varieties (except chestnut which isn’t eaten raw)

     

    Should I avoid nuts if I Am Concerned About Gaining Weight?

    A small handful of nuts (30–50g) each day is not associated with a weight gain, and may also help reduce the risk of obesity. The healthy fats in nuts can help you feel fuller, which helps to control appetite.

    And since some fat is trapped in the fibrous structure of the nut, it passes through the body rather than being digested.

    Nuts can be part of a healthy diet to maintain or even lose weight, as long as your overall calorie intake does not increase.  Eating a handful of nuts is an excellent substitute for less healthy foods such as deep fried foods, biscuits, cakes, chips, chocolate and so on.  And don’t forget that apart from incorporating nuts in your diet, you must also include exercise in your daily regimen. And don’t forget to eat everything in moderation!

     

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  • 02Oct

    Nutritionists and paeds will often tell parents to include protein in each of their child’s meal. A child needs protein to grow and without sufficient protein, your child’s growth may be stunted. To ensure that my pint-size Baby gets enough protein, I give her an egg a day for breakfast. At times, I replace the egg with Edamame beans and boiled peanuts. For lunch and dinner, there will always be either fish, chicken or pork for my girls. And lots of greens too for the much-needed fibre.

    Did you know that peanuts are not really nuts but a member of a family of legumes related to peas, lentils, chickpeas and other beans? Peanuts pack a serious nutritional punch and offer a variety of health benefits. Not only do peanuts contain oleic acid, the healthful fat found in olive oil, but new research shows these tasty legumes are also as rich in antioxidants as many fruits.

    Studies have shown that eating peanuts lower a person’s risk of weight gain and promotes heart health. By and large the best benefit of peanuts is their ability to prevent against certain cardiovascular diseases. Magnesium, along with sodium and zinc are beneficial minerals that are useful in preventing heart disease. Anyone looking to cut down on their intake of red meat can benefit from the protein found in just a handful or two of peanuts. When considering this along with their mineral content, peanuts offer tremendous cardiovascular benefit. Additionally, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce a person’s risk of coronary disease. Peanuts also contain omega 6 fatty acids, which is one of the “good” fats commonly known as “essential fatty acids.” These aid in lowering the amount of “bad” cholesterol in the bloodstream.

    With just a handful of peanuts, you are ingesting almost 10 percent (2 grams) of the daily recommended amount of fiber. Eaten peanuts just a few times each week can prevent the formation of gallstones, and lowers the risk of colon cancer.

    Niacin, folate and other B vitamin complexes may decrease the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s and other degenerative brain disease. They are also important in preventing birth defects, which makes them a good snack for pregnant women.

    Peanuts contain small amount of calcium and vitamin D. Together these two promote good bone health, including healthy teeth. Studies have shown that people who maintain healthy levels of calcium and vitamin D before age thirty, are less likely to develop osteopenia or osteoporosis later in life.

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  • 25Sep

    I have been nuts over almonds ever since I went on a high protein-low carb diet 8 years ago, due to PCOS. Almonds are my all-time favorite snack, apart from walnuts, hazelnuts, cashew nuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.  I love roasted almonds but they are not as healthy as raw almonds as the beneficial almond oil would have been destroyed in the heat during roasting.

    Almonds are one of the most nutritious nuts. One teeny ounce of almonds contains 12 percent of your daily allowance of protein. And there is absolutely no cholesterol. You’ll also get 35 percent of your daily allowance of vitamin E, that valuable antioxidant with so many cancer-fighting qualities. And most of the fat in almonds is monounsaturated, also known as the “good” fat.

    I bought a tub of ground almond the other day.  I would sprinkle it on my toasts, my eggs and on Baby’s eggs and porridge too.

    This little super nut is also loaded with minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, folic acid and zinc, as well as lots of healthy fiber.

    Of all the newly discovered benefits of almonds, one of the most exciting is the potential they may have to reduce cancer risks. Many of the nutrients found in almonds are believed to have positive effects on several different types of cancer. The monounsaturated fat in almonds may have a positive impact in the reduction of colon cancer. The phytochemicals in almonds can also inhibit tumor cell growth. A one-ounce serving of almonds provides more than 35 percent of your daily value of vitamin E. Many studies suggest this powerful antioxidant may protect against prostate and cervical cancers.

    Reduce Heart Attack Risk – A Loma Linda School of Public Health study showed those who consumed nuts five times a week had a 50% reduction in risk of heart attack.

    Lower Cholesterol –  almonds added to the diet have a favorable effect on blood cholesterol.

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About Me

I am a WFHM with 3 beautiful girls - Alycia, Sherilyn and Cassandra. I quit the job that I love to stay home with my 3 angels as that's what I've always wanted to do. I am a health freak, fitness freak and a clean freak too. I love to eat and live healthily and I want my kids and hubby to do the same too. Apart from being obsessed with good health, I am obsessed with fashion! I own an online store that sells ladies and kids clothing. Check out my online store at Old & New Stuff For Sale

I always believe that your health is your wealth and if you have good health, that's the best gift you can ever ask for from God.

Do check out my other blogs Health Freak Mommy and Health Freak Mommy’s Journal too!

I have been writing product reviews, food reviews / restaurant reviews and product advertorials since 2007. Please email Shireen at shireenyong@gmail.com to inquire if you are interested to place an advertorial or review in this blog.

Thank you!

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