There’s a reason why nuts have been classified as a superfood. Despite their small size, it’s no secret that these little guys are power-packed with nutrition and vitamins that are generally good for your health. Other than eating them as they are, you can even incorporate them into your daily diet by tossing them into your salad, baking them into bread or adding them as a yoghurt topping. Just be careful not to overload on the snacking – a handful of nuts is all you require!
Here are 5 lesser known but equally important reasons why you should consume nuts.
1. For Better Sleep
Being too active at night can make it harder for you to fall asleep so what your body needs to do is to slow down. The amino acids in almonds and walnuts create a chemical called melatonin to help your body enter a more relaxed state which makes you fall asleep more easily. Additionally, these nuts balance out your blood sugar level while you sleep.
2. For Weight Management
While it is often thought that nuts have a relatively high fat content, it’s good to know that eating them in moderation can actually go a long way. Snacking on a handful of nuts before mealtime will make you feel full faster, thus reducing your appetite and need to eat a larger portion of food. A study on pistachio nuts showed that their high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids helped to cut down cholesterol and target belly fat. Another nut you can consume for weight loss is macadamia nuts - they contain palmitoleic acid that reduces your body’s ability to store fats by speeding up your fat metabolism rate.
3. For Brain Power
Due to the busy and fast-paced lifestyles that so many of us lead in Singapore, we often have to keep up with both our physical and mental wellbeing. Nuts like brazil nuts, cashew nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts and even peanuts help to keep our brain functioning at an optimum level and boosting our memory. In particular, walnuts are known to be “brain food” and the antioxidants in them help to fight the onset of age-related cognitive diseases and such as Alzheimer’s.
4. For Good Skin & Hair
Nuts like hazelnuts and walnuts which are rich in minerals like vitamin E and selenium protect our skin cells from damaging. They also enable our skin to remain firm by keeping up the collagen levels in our body. For good complexion, consider pecan nuts as well because they prevent premature ageing through the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation. In addition, pecans are rich in iron and can combat hair loss and stimulate hair growth by increasing blood flow through the hair roots.
5. For A Healthy Pregnancy
Although it was previously believed that eating nuts during pregnancy was bad, new research suggests that eating nuts in limited portions (20 to 25g a day) is actually good. Nuts containing omega-3 fats like walnuts and pistachios are essential for the brain development of a growing foetus while almonds lower the risk of the mother developing pre-eclampsia. Additionally, a study done by the Dana-Farber Children’s Care Center in the US showed that children of women who ate more peanuts while pregnant had a lower tendency of developing peanut allergies.