Nuts are a favourite snack when it comes to Paleo diet and they are generally accepted on this diet. But what do you really get from nuts? Which are the best nuts to eat and which ones you should avoid? What makes nuts unsafe to eat?
When you first encountered the Paleo diet, one thing you will ultimately search for is Paleo diet basics. The basic Paleo food list can be great since it features a wide variety of foods that are proven to be beneficial to the body. But when it comes to snacks, you will find one which you may have a love or hate relationship with nuts. Although most people enjoy nuts, there are some who are skeptical about eating nuts because of the known dangers. Others aren’t fans of nuts because of certain health conditions.
Paleo diet snacks’ lists are not complete without nuts. But if you want to know what makes nuts great and what makes them dangerous, this article should help to explain things further. If you are enjoying nuts at the moment, it would definitely be a good idea to read on and find out more about this staple in Paleo food lists. So if you have been asking “are nuts good for you” repeatedly when doing your food list, these facts will clear the fog and help you pick out the nuts you can put on your list without hesitation.
Nuts are healthy and that is a fact backed up by years of studies by experts. Nuts may have also been part of the diet of our ancestors when they foraged for foods in the wilderness. The Paleo diet includes nuts because of the benefits they provide our body with and is one of the best alternatives when it comes to snacks we can think of, because of the following reasons:
Besides the regular sources of Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids in Paleo, nuts are a great source of these essential fatty acids. These keep your heart in shape and prevent the risk of heart attacks. Pregnant women and their growing babies benefit from Omega-3. It helps the little ones to have healthy brains and reduces the risk of developing ADHD. Meanwhile, Omega-3 helps the mommies-to-be and everyone else have better eyesight, fight inflammation, keep their metabolism in check and fight depression and anxiety.
Omega 6 also plays a big role in the growth of body cells. This makes it an important factor in the development of our muscles and brain cells and this is especially critical during infancy. Omega 6 also affects your nervous system particularly your pain messengers, which can warn your body of any pain and inflammation and prevent further damage.
It may not look like it, but nuts contain a good amount of dietary fibers. Dietary fiber is one reason why your tummy feels full even when you only eat a small amount of food. This means you’re helping your body to reduce its food intake but still have the right amount of energy for it to use. This is why people who want to lose weight often choose nuts as a snack. Dietary fiber is also a great way to make your bowel movement regular and prevents you from having constipation. If you also need to control your blood sugar level, nuts can be of help because of their fiber content.
Unsaturated fats are a source of good cholesterol. A higher amount of good cholesterol in the body means it will help to fight off the bad cholesterol, resulting in you being much healthier. These fats are also beneficial for your skin and hair and help your body to store energy to use throughout the day. These fats also keep your body warm, which can also burn the energy your body stored.
Perhaps the most prominent nutrient you’ll get from nuts is protein, but there is much more than protein in nuts. Protein helps to build the muscles and also provides energy for the body. Calcium is also present in some nuts, which is known to help the bones stay strong. Some nuts also contain iron which is needed for ensuring that blood remains healthy. Vitamin E is also present in some nuts, which helps the body’s immune system to stay in shape and helps skin and eyes to stay healthy. Another vitamin present in some nuts is Vitamin C which is an effective antioxidant.
These two components are common in nuts and help the body, particularly the heart and cardiovascular system. L-arginine or just arginine helps the muscles of the arteries dilate and relax, and helping the body to heal wounds, maintain hormone levels and help the kidneys to get rid of waste. Plant sterols reduces the levels of LDL cholesterol, also known as the bad cholesterol in the body. This benefits your body by reducing the risks of heart disease.
But there are some exemptions to the rules when it comes to many foods, including nuts. You must know by now that peanuts are not nuts but a legume, so these are automatically off the Paleo diet food list. There are also some other reasons why many people think nuts should be the last on their list when thinking about Paleo or any other diet.
Nuts are one of the most common foods that can cause allergic reactions and therefore many people tend not to include them in their food lists, even when on the Paleo diet. Although peanut is one of the most common causes of allergies, there are accounts of tree nuts, which are part of the Paleo diet, causing allergic reactions in people. These allergic reactions can be as simple as itching or can be as severe as death because of anaphylactic shock.
We all know that Omega-3 and 6 are important for our health, but too much or too little of one omega fat can cause havoc in our bodies. When Omega 6 exceeds the amount of Omega-3 in the body, it can be a cause of heart issues which defeats the purpose of having it in the diet. In most tree nuts, Omega 6 may exceed Omega 3, so a person needs to watch the number of nuts they consume.
All plants have lectins and phytates. These are the natural animal and insect repellants or poison and provide natural protection for the plants, so you need to expect these in nuts. The toxicity levels of lectins and phytates in nuts will depend on the type of nut, although it is known that nuts contain little of these, it is still best to prepare nuts properly since lectins and phytates can cause the next item on the list.
Because our bodies cannot break down lectins and phytates, it causes our bodies to react, particularly our immune system and our gut. You may have heard people talk about these conditions when talking about foods such as beans, legumes, and foods full of gluten, and yes, the effects are the same. Leaky gut can cause autoimmune disorder and can cause death if not treated early. Since it is autoimmune, you will find your body fighting itself and reversing this condition may not be possible.
We often look for foods that can provide essential minerals for our bodies to function well. However, whilst there are great minerals like calcium, zinc, and iron, there are minerals we also ingest and can affect our health. With nuts, selenium is a dangerous mineral present in some nuts. When nuts high in selenium are consumed in a large amount, you will see changes in your body like excessive hair loss, upset stomach, difficulty with your respiratory system, deformed nails, and skin discoloration, to name a few. Although selenium poisoning is known to be rare, being cautious about this mineral is never a bad idea.
If you need the calories, then consuming more than enough nuts is fine. But if not, then the extra calories can offset your aim to have a healthier body. Calories can cause weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease. If you burn thousands of calories, eating nuts regularly can be great, but if you can’t burn all the calories you get from eating more nuts than you need, then stick to having just a few in your diet.
Not all nuts are made equal, so you must know which ones you can include in your Paleo diet food list and which ones you can’t go nuts with (no pun intended). Though nuts are healthy, these Paleo diet nuts have proven their worth in the Paleo world.
Has cancer-fighting properties, has powerful antioxidants, keeps your heart healthy, decreases risks of diabetes, can help you lose weight, keeps the brain healthy and improves the reproductive health of men.
Brazil nuts are gluten free, contain lots of calories to provide your body with energy, and also contain magnesium that helps the body with the production of protein. However, you need to eat this nut in moderation since they are known to contain a high amount of selenium.
If you are looking for Paleo diet nuts that will help make bones stronger, promote brain and heart health and help you lose weight with its antioxidants and dietary fiber, then go for macadamia nuts.
Pine nuts can help improve your energy levels and vision whilst suppressing your appetite which can help you lose weight and reduce your risks of heart disease.
If you want a nut that does not contain cholesterol, then the cashew nut is your best choice. Cashew nuts contain antioxidants, dietary fiber and lots of copper. All of which are vital for your blood vessels, bones, and joint health.
Almonds are filled with nutrients including protein, Vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium. Almonds are also great for controlling your blood sugar levels, lowering your cholesterol levels and maintaining your blood pressure.
Having digestive problems? Eating pecans can help! Pecans can also boost your heart health, reduce inflammation, risks of stroke and even cancer.
Nut lover or not, you surely cannot deny the fact that the benefits of nuts are great but the dangers are also big factors in choosing not to have any or just include a few in your diet. As with any food, someone should eat these in moderation. If you eat more than the recommended amount of nuts, you are in danger of suffering from the negative effects. The benefits overcome the danger if you know how to manage your intake of nuts, just the same with any other food on the Paleo diet list.
To reduce the risk of ingesting poison from the nuts soak them. When soaked most of the phytates in the nuts are removed. Helping to reduce the risk of these causing damage to your body. If you have any allergies, always seek professional help. If you suspect you are allergic to nuts, consulting a physician can be helpful in determining how you can overcome your allergy. Experimenting with which nuts won’t cause an adverse reaction is really a good idea given the risks associated with reactions you may encounter if allergic to any of them.
This and all the information above about nuts can help you develop a better food plan that can include this Paleo diet food in your meals. The benefits of Paleo diet nuts can overshadow the dangers as long as you don’t forget that even with these small treats, moderation is key.