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Top 10 Must Have Seeds and Nuts in Your Diet

by anjali

One of the most common resolutions people would have taken this new year is to eat right, stay fit and lead a healthy lifestyle. All of you would have added all kinds of fruits, vegetables, snacks and cereals to your healthy shopping list; but what you might have missed, is to add those seeds and nuts. If that’s the case, then its time you included them in your grocery list already, because you might not want to miss them out after reading about their awesomeness.

If you’re switching on to a healthy diet plan, then nuts are a requisite because they’re loaded with nutrients. Yes, they are loaded with fats, but that’s not for you to worry about because, they are monounsaturated fats – good fats that are great for your heart, skin, hair and your body on the whole. Besides being a rich source of fats, nuts are also a rich source of fibre, vitamins, minerals and proteins, satiating your nutritional needs.

Studies say that eating a fistful of nuts everyday is sure to reduce the risk of premature death, heart diseases and cancer. Since different nuts offer different kinds of benefits, it’s better to include a variety of nuts in your diet to reap their benefits.

Here’s a list of seeds and nuts you can add to your daily diet –

Badam / Almonds

These seeds of the almond tree are a rich source of fibre, calcium, magnesium, selenium, copper, zinc, vitamins C & E. They also contain monounsaturated fat that helps to lower cholesterol and improves the functioning of the heart. Consuming almonds everyday helps to improve the brain activity, improve fertility, strengthen bones, and reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer. They are also great for your hair, skin and nails.

The best way to eat almonds is to soak them overnight, peel of the skin and consume them empty stomach the next morning. They can also be eaten plain, roasted, garnished on salads or in the form of almond butter.

 

Walnuts

Munching on these delicious nuts is great for your heart and brain. Walnuts contain higher amounts of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, compared to other nuts. The presence of ellagic acid makes you resistant to cancer. Walnuts also contain melatonin, which helps to cure insomnia. They also aid in weight loss, reduce the risk of prostrate breast cancer and lower soaring blood pressure levels.

You can simply snack on walnuts as the crunchy, nutty flavour makes it everyone’s favourite. You can also chop and add them to your salads, cereals and smoothies that make you full for a long time.

 

Cashewnuts

There’s often a misconception that cashew contains a lot of fat, due to its rich flavour. That’s absolutely wrong. Cashews have the lowest amount of fats than most of the nuts. It’s a rich source of minerals like biotin, copper, magnesium, iron and zinc. The presence of oleic and palmitoleic acids in cashews is great for the heart and in maintaining cholesterol levels. Tryptophan in cashews is a powerful anti-depressant.

Taking a handful of cashews is a great way to kick-start a happy morning. You can also roast them and sprinkle some salt and pepper to it and have it as crunchy evening snack.

 

Pistachio/ Pista

 

This highly nutritional nut has managed to win the hearts of many and continues to be one of the key ingredients in several desserts and snacks.  Pistachios top several other tree nuts in being a rich source of flavonoid and polyphenol. Although having low calorie content, the nutritional value of pistachios keep you full for a long time. Various minerals and vitamins like vitamin B6, manganese, copper and potassium present in pistachios impart several benefits. It reduces the ageing process, controls glycemic index, weight, cholesterol and blood pressure, gives good moisture to the skin and maintains the insulin levels.

Pistachios can be had alone or in combination with several nuts or tossed into pastries, breads and cookies.

 

Brazilnut

Brazil nuts are a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin E, magnesium, fibre, copper and proteins. One of the greatest benefits of Brazil nuts is the presence of selenium which is a great antioxidant that has anti-cancer properties. These nuts detoxify the body, purify blood, prevent heart attacks and ensure proper functioning of the thyroid gland.

Having about one or two Brazil nuts a day plain or In addition with other nuts or dishes improves your overall health.

 

Flax Seeds

This nutty, sweet – flavoured seed is equivalent to the richness and goodness of nuts. It is a rich source of fibre that eases bowel movements, promotes weight loss, and maintains a healthy heart, blood sugar and pressure levels. Lignans an excellent antioxidant present in flaxseeds fights cancer. It also contains omega -3 fatty acids that is great for the skin, hair and nails. It also contains protein, copper, manganese, selenium, phytochemicals, copper and phosphorous.

Taking a teaspoon or two of these seeds is sure to give you all the benefits. Flaxseeds oils are also available in the market these days. These seeds can also be crushed and added to smoothies, breads, oatmeals and porridge. However, consumption of large amounts of flaxseeds isn’t advisable.

 

Sesame Seeds

These seeds are mainly known for their oil. They’re also a rich source of zinc, magnesium, phosphorous, fibre and iron. They also contain sesamin and sesamolin that offer great health benefits. Sesame seeds prevent a series of diseases like asthma, migraines, cholesterol and certain kinds of cancer. They’re also known to prevent PMS and menopause symptoms.

Sesame seeds can be used in various dishes, breads and crackers. These seeds are an essential ingredient in tahini, a popular dip that serves as a great accompaniment.

 

Sunflower Seeds

These edible seeds of sunflower are tasty and nutritious; and prevent several diseases kike arthritis, cholesterol, strokes, heart diseases and cancer. They are rich in potassium, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin E and B6, zinc, phytochemicals, selenium and folate.

Although they’re seeds, they have a nutty and delicious flavour. You can have a handful of these and add them to your cereals, breads, soups, stews or even grind them and have it as butter with your breads.

 

Pumpkin Seeds

These seeds are nutty and creamy, and can be a replacement for any other nuts. These seeds are an abundant source of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, phosphorous, iron and zinc. They contain lower amounts of fats and also contain phytosterols. The numerous benefits of these seeds include – preventing anxiety, depression, cancer and arthritis. It also helps in maintaining healthy skin, hair and eyes.

Pumpkin seeds can be a great snacking option and can also be tossed in your cereals, porridges, breads, salads and gives crunchiness to your bakery items.

 

Being a rich source of omega-3, proteins, fibre, calcium and antioxidants, chia seeds help you to fight depression, arthritis, boost your brain health, improve your digestive system, liver, heart and regulate blood pressure and sugar levels.

It is ideal to have 1-2 tsp of chia seeds daily. Do not take them raw, but immerse them into a liquid like milk or water and let them expand. You can also sprinkle them on your toast, soups and salads.

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