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“Nature has offered us wonderful small packaging of minerals and vitamins along with their disease fighting ability in the form of nuts. Ayurveda recommends a balanced intake of all six tastes – sweet, sour, salt, bitter, pungent and astrigent — to provide well-being and reduce cravings. Nuts in general are high in calories, but moderation is the key.
Nuts are considered an important part of the vegetarian diet as they supply fiber, minerals, and vitamins. They contain beneficial phytochemicals. Some contain many different forms of plant sterols, which are believed to help moderate blood cholesterol. Some of the volatile oils in nuts contain antioxidants that help counter free radical damage. Tree nuts like almonds, walnuts and pecans contain no cholesterol. Most of the calories in nuts come from fat, but mainly unsaturated fat, and fat performs some essential functions in the body. Consume some almonds and walnuts on a daily basis.
According to ayurveda, nuts of all kinds, in moderation, nut milks and nut butters, and sunflower and pumpkin seeds are excellent for pacifying Vata. Blanched and peeled almonds in moderation, and coconuts, are good for Pitta, as are sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Nuts increase Kapha, but sunflower and pumpkin seeds in moderation are acceptable in a Kapha diet.
FDA Approved Health Claim for Nuts
In 2003, the FDA recognized the benefits of nuts and their role in heart disease prevention by approving a health claim for 7 kinds of nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts). These seven nuts were approved as they are the only kinds that contain less than 4g of saturated fats per 50g.
The ayurvedic way to eat almonds is first to blanch the shelled nuts and then soak them overnight. Removing the skins removes any Pitta-aggravating qualities and the soaking helps to make them lighter and easier to digest. About ten almonds a day is the general recommendation, but if you have a Kapha imbalance, then eat about five almonds per day at the most. If you are trying to lose weight, it is best to avoid nuts.
Almond decreases postprandial glycemia, insulinemia, and oxidative damage. Almond milk is considered extremely nourishing. Almond milk contributes to its beneficial effect observed in infants having milk intolerance. It recovers sore throat also.
Walnuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants such as Vitamin E. Incorporating walnuts in a healthy diet reduces the risk of heart disease by improving blood vessel elasticity and plaque accumulation. Walnuts help in recovering diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis and gastrointestinal problems.
Peanuts are rich in protein and provide high energy to the body. These nuts contain resveratrol, which is known for its anti-aging properties. Also, resveratrol helps in reducing the risk of cardiovascular and cancer diseases. Peanuts are rich in niacin which proves extremely beneficial for blood flow, brain health and brain circulation. These nuts are highly effective in preventing gallstones. These nuts contain calcium in high content, which promotes the growth of body bones.
These nuts are also good sources of protein & iron. In comparison to other tree nuts, cashew nuts have a lower fat content. They are also, like all other tree nuts, cholesterol free. Cashew nuts also contain significant amounts of phytochemicals with antioxidant properties that protects the body from cancer and heart disease.
Pistachios are rich in potassium, phosphorus and magnesium, and are also a good source of vitamin B6.
Cut heart disease risk, the high monounsaturated fat content lowers cholesterol levels in the blood.
Contain antioxidants in the form of phytochemicals which have been associated with a decreased risk for developing chronic diseases, like cancer. Pistachio helps in recovering anorexia, constipation and nausea.”