New research conducted this year has shown that many Australians need to increase their nut intake six-fold if they’re to reap the significant health benefits associated with regularly eating nuts.
The study revealed that only a mere 2% of Australians eat the recommended handful (around 30g) of nuts a day and 60% of Australians did not report eating any nuts at all.
So why are we hesitant to eat nuts? It seems that for most of us, weight concerns hold us back due to the calorie-dense nature of nuts.
However the research, commissioned by Nuts for Life, actually showed that eating nuts is not associated with a higher weight, BMI, or waist circumference. While they are energy dense, with a high fat content compared to other healthy foods like fruits and veggies, nuts are associated with a decreased risk of being overweight or obese and come loaded with health benefits. Which means that just like fruit and vegetables - they should be considered a vital part of any healthy diet, and enjoyed each day.
Nuts contain an abundance of fibre, protein and healthy fats - a combination of nutrients that helps with satiation and reducing your appetite. This can reduce the number of calories consumed at later meals, as well as unnecessary snacking. Eating nuts can also boost energy and our metabolic rate through their thermic effect on our digestion, making us more inclined to be more active and burn more calories throughout the day - without us even realising!
Nuts are also packed with a unique combination of nutrients, essential vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals like flavonoids and resveratrol. This is one possible reason that they’ve been linked to health benefits such as reducing chronic disease risk (like heart disease and type 2 diabetes) and improving brain health, mood and memory. They’re also naturally gluten-free, low in sodium (if you get the unsalted varieties!), and contain no added sugars.
So where should you start? Including a healthy 30g serving of nuts each day is a great start and there’s so many ways you can achieve this easily. It’s your choice when it comes to which nuts you prefer consume, but choosing raw and unsalted varieties is preferable. It’s also a great idea to mix it up, and make sure you’re obtaining the health benefits unique to each type of nut.
Here’s some simple ways to add more nuts to you day:
- Toss them through your salads or pasta dishes for an added crunch
- Keep a small container in your bag or car so that a healthy snack is always within arms reach when you’re out and about.
- Add a handful to your morning smoothie or as a topping on yoghurt or cereal.
- Grind them into nut butters to use a topping on oatmeal or spreads on sandwiches and toast - or better yet, a dip for celery sticks or apple slices.
- Mix them into your homemade recipes for treats and snacks - here’s some of our favourite low-sugar recipes made healthier with the addition of nuts:
To read more on why you should be including more nuts into your diet, you can read the full report here: https://wisdom-site-nutsforlife-com-au.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2019/08/Nuts-for-Life_HCP-Report-2019_AW_SingleLowRes.pdf