Nuts Nature’s Miniature Power House Treasures
By Joan McDaniel November 29, 2015
Introduction – Where Have I Been?
I have been busy. It has been a little time since my last article. I have no excuse except to say with my new-found health, energy and strength I have become very preoccupied with projects – Like learning more from nature. I have increased the size of my garden, harvesting and stored some real food – not a lot for I’m still just getting started.
I also have begun feeding the birds in my back yard — I love watching my new-found friends. They seem to bring me joy and inner peace.
I have been visiting farms. I am impressed especially with the farmers who raise animals like cows, goats and chickens. This past winter was hard in our area with its cold and ice. I ask these farmers every question I could but decided the only way I would really understand was to get out there. I didn’t want to buy a cow, goat or chicken so, I started by feeding the birds – Summer, Winter, Rain, Snow and Ice in all kinds weather.
I am having a ball. It is a load of fun. My first challenge was the squirrels – to feed the birds you have to feed the squirrels. No matter what kind of squirrel proof bird feeder I found I would watch my crazed tree residents break into it within a week – So I bought them their own lunch box nailed it to a tree away from the bird feeder. They still eat the bird seed but it slows them down a bit.
What does a squirrel eat? Just about everything but they love to eat and hide the peanut.
So this brings me to my subject of Nuts. The subject of nuts isn’t as simple as one would think for it requires an understanding of digestion. Digestion, a subject I am still researching and still have many unanswered question. I have put together my best thoughts on the subject so here goes.
Again I will say, I’m not telling anyone what to do. I am far from being any kind of expert on food or health. My teacher has been my own body once I learned to listen to it. I am simply telling my story of how I got well.
A Word of Warning Nuts are a wonder food but not too many
Nuts are a godsend in a pinch but not the solution. They are very useful when you need a quick source of good protein, fats and nutrients but you need to control how many you eat. For too much protein can be the same as too much sugar.
Nuts as emergency food
I eat nuts daily one or two but I keep nuts with me as emergency food. For an example, if I get stuck and have to eat the Standard American Diet loaded with sugars, I carry a small bag of unsalted mixed nuts to make the food a bit less toxic until I can get home to have a good meal. Nuts are loaded with nutrition you need especially protein and fat. The fat slows down the digestion of sugars reducing the sugar high sugar low crash. It is also very helpful if you run into hot food like hot peppers. You never know around my house I grew them and put them in everything. I love the hot pepper. Fat puts out the fire.
Nuts can trigger food allergies which are becoming more common maybe due to our toxic sugar loaded SADD (Standard American Diet). Peanuts seem to be the most common food allergy. Also people with very weak digestive system with low stomach acid may have difficulty tolerating nuts. START SLOWLY AND WATCH AND LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!
To Get Well, I Started with the Nut
When I was so sick, my digestive system wasn’t working very well. I had Candida Yeast everywhere, I’m sure I had IBS irritable bowl and leaky gut.With Candida overrun in my gut, I was making alcohol and acetaldehyde as a form of digestion (fermenting is another word for it) To get well, I used food. I didn’t know it at the time but I was rebuilding my digestive system.
I avoided all processed food including sugar and started with a plant-based diet, eating food as raw as I could tolerate. I didn’t know much about juicing or juicers but chewing I knew all about.
I Quit Smoking, Drinking, Craving and Eating Sugar and Carbs by Chewing on Nuts
Nuts are very special to me. That is how I got started restoring my health. The first food I found was Coconut Oil — Coconut is a nut — The second thing I found was Himalayan Sea Salt. The third was Walnuts and dried cranberries to help me fight my addictions.
Whenever the urge hit me I would eat a fistful of unsalted walnut nuts and dried cranberries. I would just sit and chew. I would tell my brain to forget thinking and just focus on chewing.
It took a while and some inward battles that included lot of pain. But after it all I became aware of my great taste buds and how to talk to my body. I didn’t realize it at the time, but with the Saturated Fats, minerals in the nuts like Iodine and magnesium I was giving my body the exact what it needed. I was putting out the fire.
I later found dried cranberries are loaded with sugar, and Nuts are loaded with Protein but my body was so nutrition deprived it just kept screaming —-Give Me MORE ——
I now have the energy, endurance, strength and good health I had when I was younger – I am totally amazed, shocked and very grateful. I am in love with life.
Now I don’t eat as many dried cranberries if any, and I don’t eat as many nuts. I use nuts mostly as emergency food but they are still very important to me and my health and provide great backup.
How much Protein?
There are as many options on how much protein in your diet is good and how much is bad. The overall consensus is that the amount of Protein needs to be limited just like the amount of carbs.
I would love to qualify the nut as a superfood but, intake must be limited. I got this information from Dr. Mercola and he has pointed out “Most Americans consume three to five times more protein than they need…”. Nuts should be eaten in moderation not because they are high in calories or fat but because they are high in protein. Too much protein in you diet can have the same effect as too much sugar in your diet. If you consume excess starchy carbs and excess protein you body suffers and you get toxic and sick or sicker.
I don’t know how much is too much but you need to watch the number of nuts you consume.
Here is a website that discusses recommended Protein intake:
Food from Trees
Now lets talk what I have found out about the Tree Nut.
A Tree Squirrel Eating a Tree Nut
A tree nut is a fruit that grows on trees. It is composed of a hard shell sometime more than one shell and a seed. The seed is edible. The shell does not release the seed without extreme effort on the eaters part. I guess God made the nut hard to get into for a reason.
The trick is you either have the jaws of a tree squirrel or find a way to crack the hard shell without damaging the soft fruit inside.
What is more traditional at Christmas then the Prussian German soldier portrayed in Tchaikovsky’s infamous Nutcracker suite? Tchaikovsky’s score has become one of his if the most famous composition and ballet has become a very popular Christmas time thing to see with the children.
Nutcrackers got what would turn out to be their biggest boost when Peter Tchaikovsky adapted an 1816 E.T.A Hoffman Christmas story called The Nutcracker and the Mouse King for the—eventually—famous and wildly successful ballet, first performed in 1892.
A. Hazelnut (Corylus americana), B. Pecan (Carya illinoensis), C. Peanut (Arachis hypogea), D. Macadamia Nut (Macadamia integrifolia), E. Almond (Prunus amygdalus), F. Brazil Nut (Bertholletia excelsa), G. Chestnut (Castanea dentata), H. Kukui Nut (Aleurites molucanna), I. Water Caltrop (Trapa bicornis), J. Walnut (Juglans regia).
Nuts A Closer Look
There are many nuts like Almonds, Beechnut, Brazil, Butternut, Buckwheat, Cashew, Chestnut, Coconut, Hazelnuts (Filberts), Hickory, Litchi, Macadamia, Pecan, Pine (Pignola – not a nut but a seed of the pine cone), Pistachio, walnuts (black/English) and there must be a few others.
Now let’s not forget the peanut. Which we think of a nut but isn’t for it doesn’t grow on a tree but grows in the ground. It is a legume or bean not a nut. Don’t tell that to a tree squirrel.
The Coconut may be considered a nut but I use it so much I consider it just part of every meal it is high in fat (saturated fat the good fat), low in Protein and packed with power and fuel for the immune system.
I have reviewed 11 of the most common nuts
Popular nuts and their protein, calorie, and fat content.
Nuts high in fat: Macademia, Pecan, Pine nut, Brazil, and Walnut.
Nuts high in protein: Peanut, Almond, Pistachio, Cashew, and Walnut.
- Mercona Almonds
- Brazil Nuts
- Pine Nuts
One of the healthiest part of the Almond is its skin which is rich in antioxidants including flavonoids, phenolic acid, and phenols which is normally associated with fruits and vegetables. Almonds have ample amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Be careful how many you eat for they are high in protein.
The only problem with almonds is the due to pressure from the USDA and many state governments most domestic almonds are pasteurized or heated. The process uses a carcinogenic gas called propylene oxide (PPO). Organic almonds are steam-treated. You can find independent farmers, farmers markets, roadside stand that still sell the natural nut.
9 Brazil Nuts also called Cream nut or Paranut,
This large nut named for it is a native to Brazil and the Amazonian rain forest. Eating just two of these power houses will provide a good dose of antioxidants, selenium and Vitamin E. Brazil Nuts have the highest natural source of selenium, a powerful antioxidant-boosting mineral that may be beneficial for the prevention of cancer. These nuts are crunchy as in all nuts and mild-flavored. Brazil nuts are an excellent source of magnesium higher than other nuts with 107 mg .
Cashew nuts are a significant source of iron, which is essential for red blood cell function and enzyme activity. They also contain magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.
A funny thing about the cashew is that it comes from a fruit called a cashew apple. Originally native to northeastern Brazil, and now cultivated in Vietnam, Nigeria and India. Traditionally it has been used for snake-bites and other folk remedies. Excellent source of B-vitamins
2 Hazelnuts – Alternate Name: Filbert, cobnut
Characteristics: This round nut is used in the sweet spread called gianduja or Nutella. This nut has a woodsy taste and it brings out the crunchiness in food especially chocolate. It is best eaten roasted and with the bitter skin removed. The hazelnut is one of the richest sources for folate
6 Macadamia Nuts – Alternate Names: Queensland nut, Australian nut
Originally could only be found in Australia, or Hawaii. These nuts are large and have a palpably rich buttery flavor. This nut is backed with nutrition rich in phytosterols.
5 Marcona Almonds
Like an almond but flatter, rounder and sweeter. Marconi almonds are from Spain. They’re usually sold pre-cooked, fried or roasted.
7 Peanuts – Alternate Name: Goober
The peanut is not a nut but technically a legume (like a pea or bean). Its considered a groundnut because it doesn’t grow on a tree it grows in the ground. The peanut is available all year round and is reality inexpensive. It is loaded with protein making it the highest of either a nut or a bean. They are also high in Calories 284. They are packed with vitamins especially niacin and other B vitamins. Peanuts come in raw and roasted.
The pecan is native to North America. This nut has been well established in traditional Southern dishes like Pecan Pie and it is grown in Georgia and Texas. The Pecan is sweeter than the walnut and is used mainly in baking especially sweet treats. Pecans are high in fat and low in Protein and are naturally sweet to the taste. Pecans are an excellent source of vitamin E. Rich source of phytosterols, especially beta-carotene and zeaxanthi. Pecans have over 19 Vitamins and Minerals.
10 Pine Nuts – Alternate Names: Pignoli, piñon nuts
A pine nut is not a nut but a seed of the pine cone. It mostly is imported from China and Italy. It has a mild favor of pine and a soft chewy texture. Pine nuts are high Fat 23g and high in Protein 10.9g.
Pistachios aren’t a nut but a seed. Pistachios come from parts of Western Asia and the Middle East. The pistachio is a favorite in many Greek dishes like baklava. ma’amoul, haroseth, and halvah. California pistachios is a little different from the Persian or Turkish varieties. Pistachios have the highest phytosterol content among what we consider to be tree nuts. Research has shown Pistachios to be helpful in reducing systolic blood pressure, by reducing vascular responses to stress and maintaining a healthy weight. Pistachios beat the other nuts if fiber and polyphenols, Almonds are next. They help the digestive system’s microflora by producing a biome richer in butyrate-secreting bacteria. Note they are high in Protein.
4 Walnuts Alternate Name: English walnut
Walnuts are considered the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powerhouse king of kings. Walnuts contain the highest amount of antioxidants. Just a few like a handful (7 to be exact) is enough to arm your immune system with 100% of what it needs to fight free radicals.A walnut is almost as good as a dose of Vitamin C. Also did you know Walnuts are best eaten after dinner as
Health Benefits of all Nuts
Each nut as with anything in nature has its own special benefit but below is listed nuts general benefits.
The amazing thing about natures foods is that there isn’t one single nutrient that can be isolated and pinpointed it takes the whole food to be beneficial. The problem with manufactured foods is you cant’ remove just one nutrient for the same power you get from nature. In other words you cannot manufacture the whole food’s benefit, nor can you improve on Nature. This benefit can not be manmade.
Antioxidant – Nuts are a rich source for Vitamin E an and other antioxidants that helps heart ailments, inflammation and free radical damage. Depending on the nut, just a few can provide half or more of the body’s daily requirements for antioxidants.
Blood Pressure – Help reduce blood pressure. Nuts are a source of l-arginine, a substance that improves artery walls by making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots. This is good for lowering blood pressure and heart health. This also reduces arterial inflammation which is a source of heart disease.
Blood Sugar – Helps lower blood sugar due to it fat content. Help treatment for Type 2 diabetes. Nuts help reduce the speed at which sugar is converted reducing the metabolic Syndrome and diabetes. The calories in the nut are released in the system slowly and help starve off sugar and other cravings.
Bone Health – The anti-inflammatory nutrients in nuts especially walnuts may play a special role in the support of bone health. A study recently showed decrease blood levels of certain kind of collagen compound indicates less mineral loss and bone stability or stronger bones.
Brain health – Polyunsaturated fatty acids in the form of omega-3, linoleum acid (LA), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
Cancer – Most nuts contain phytochemicals. Phytochemical’s are biologically active compounds that effectively prevent the formation of tumors.
Cell membrane support – linoleum acid and alph-linolenic acid
Chewy – Nuts promote Satiety. Nuts increase a feeling of fullness or satiety. They keep you busy chewing and forgetting your cravings. Also see Weight Loss
Reduce high cholesterol – Nuts help improve LDL/HDL ratios and reduce very high cholesterol. Also see phytosterois.
Constipation and digestion – Nuts are loaded with fiber.
Cravings – see weight loss
Boost Energy –
Fast Instant Food – Nuts are fast food that is once you get it out of its shell. Nuts are portable put some in a bag and carry them with you, put some in the car. They are non-perishable except for maybe the cashew. They are available in case of an emergency or traffic jam. I carry a bag of salt free mixed nuts to work incase I have to stay and eat someone else’s food at least I have the nut that will provide me with healthy nutrition.
Heart Health – Nuts help reduce the risk of Heart Disease and reduce many heart health risk factors. Nuts are a good source of fats and help reduce cholesterol and help Heart Health. High in the heart healthy vitamins of E, K, copper, iron and manganese. Also see Blood Pressure.
Immune System Booster – Antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Inflammation – See Immune System.
Insulin resistance – Nuts help reduce insulin sensitivity which creates insulin resistance which helps maintain blood sugar and metabolic disorder disease.
Low Carb – Nuts are a great way to reduce a high-carbohydrate snacking or cravings. Take a few nuts and just chew away.
Low Glycemic Index – I don’t adhere to the Glycemic Index for I feel it is inaccurate but nuts are low in sugar content therefore low on the Glycemic Index. Glycemic index is a determinant of how quickly the sugars in foods are absorbed, digested and released into the bloodstream. High GI and high sugar overwhelms the body and Metabolic Syndrome leading to diabetes can result.
Metabolic disease – Nuts help reduce cardiovascular and metabolic disease like diabetes.
Protein – This may be a benefit or a high risk for too much protein. To a Vegan the nut is a perfect food for it adds the necessary fats, protein, minerals and vitamins the vegan diet may be without. It helps balance a vegan diet but to those who consume meat, eggs and other proteins the nut must be taken in small amounts.
Sleep – Did you know A Walnut taken before bedtime help you sleep? That is because they contain the highest amount of melatonin.
Suppress Your Appetite – See Weight Loss
Weight Loss – Nuts may be high in fat and protein but are low in carbs, sugar and bad fats. Nuts are loaded with chewiness and fiber reducing the desire for cravings or munchies. After chewing on some nuts the individual will have a feeling of fullness or satiety and may actually lose weight.
You will find a numerous lists of benefits at www.3Fatchicks.com under the food section for specific raw nut types.
Vitamins and Mineral in Nuts
Antioxidants – Nuts are loaded with plant-derived antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals. Nuts contain a wide variety of polyphenols including resveratrol, lutein, cryptoxanthin and many others.
Essential Fats – Nuts are loaded with good fats like alpha linolenic acid, linoleum acid, monounsaturated like (Olive Oil), Oleic acid, omega-3, and saturated. Note: the word essential means The body needs these fats and cannot make them on it own. Lack of these oils causes disease, dry skin, inflammation and illness.
Nuts do not contain non-essential fats or bad fats like polyunsaturated or hydrogenated vegetable oil, margarine, Omega-6, or shortening.
Fiber – Nuts are high in soluble fiber. Fiber is good for your digestive system. Almonds, Pecans, Pistachios, Peanuts, and Macadamia Nuts are high in fiber.
High in Minerals – Especially Magnesium and including calcium copper, manganese molybdenum, potassium, selenium, zinc,and more. When you talk about minerals there always seems to be a long list but the minerals you should pay the most attention to are magnesium, and maybe potassium and in some cases Iron. Magnesium is the energy mineral and many if not most people are very deficient in Magnesium.
Phytosterols – Nuts are a rich source of plant sterols called phytosterols which are thought to bind to the bad cholesterol and help to sweep it out of the body.
Polyphenols – A plant-derived antioxidant. Nuts include a wide variety like cryptoxanthin, luten, resveratrol, and many others. See Antioxidant.
Protein – Maybe this is why the nut is so hard to get into because it is a high source of protein which most American have too many proteins in their diet. One ounce of nuts (28 grams), contain as much protein as lean meat, or eggs. Vegans or other plant-based diets are low in protein and nuts can be added to help balance their diet
Selenium – A powerful antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals that cause inflammation, loss of oxygen and illness. Nuts are loaded with Selenium especially Brazil Nuts.
Vitamins – Nuts are rich in the B vitamins.
B6, folate, niacin, thiamin, tocopherols (make up vitamin E),
B Vitamins – Nuts provide many of the vital B-complex vitamins such as folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and thiamin.
Vitamin E – Vitamin E is an important antioxidant. Natural forms of Vitamin E available in nuts contain tocopherols and tocotrienois.
Fat Soluble Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, D and E without fats saturated, monounstarated, Omega-3 your body cannot dissolve and use these vitamins. This Vitamins also help the immune system fight free-radical damage.
Other Forms for Nuts
Nut butters, and nut oil contain many, but not all, the benefits except the fiber of raw nuts. Just as with the nut, oils are high in protein and should be used in moderation. Nuts are a good source of saturated as well as unsaturated fats. They are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, and Vitamin E. Consider using nuts oils made by your local farmer or are homemade for the store-bought has many additives including sugar.
To Roast or Not to Roast
Roast or Raw? There is the school of thought that all nuts must be roasted if you not using the nut for baking and then there is the school that doesn’t think it is as important and they stress eating the nuts raw not cooked.
Roasting above 180 degrees F destroys the nuts nutrition. Hot-air dried is a better option, Nuts may need to be soaked for eight to 12 hours. Soaking or using a dehydrator will rid the nut of physic acid and other enzyme inhibitors . Enzyme inhibitors prevent the seed from sprouting prematurely, but can cause irritation to the human digestion. I guess that is why so many people have allergies or can’t tolerate digesting nuts.
According to Dr. Mercola the macadamia nut and other white nuts have negligible amounts of enzyme inhibitors and soaking is not necessary.
For a complete discussion of roasting and/or soaking see his article on nuts: “What are the Best Nuts and Seeds?
It is important to stress nut and seed allergies for they are becoming more common due maybe to our toxic sugar loaded SADD (Standard American Diet). Peanuts seem to be the most common food allergy in children who up to 80% do outgrow it but you need to be aware of it. Also people with very weak digestive systems with low stomach acid may have difficulty tolerating nuts start slowly while you system is recovering. Stop at the first sign of a side effect like pain or a rash.
A few common symptoms might be abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing or itchy throat, or impaired breathing in the form of anaphylaxis? I have found this web site which can provide some a useful biofeedback sensitivity test
Till Next time