The surprising health benefits of nuts


  • Activating or soaking nuts deemed popular by the paleo and wellness blogger community may leach important nutrients from nuts and cause more harm than good. Nuts naturally contain phytates, which bind minerals. Supporters of activated nuts believe soaking breaks down the phytates and improves bio-availability of minerals, making it easier for our bodies to absorb the minerals nuts contain. A recent study shows that common methods used to activate nuts do not reduce phytate levels however important minerals in nuts, specifically iron, calcium and zinc, were leached out during the soaking process, which suggests activating nuts probably does more harm than good. Some studies even report that activating nuts such as almonds may actually increase phytate levels!

  • Research shows that up to 30% of the total calories in nuts are not absorbed. The calories in nuts aren’t as high as you think as your body doesn’t absorb all the calories. The fat contained in nuts is actually trapped in cell walls, stopping your body from absorbing all of it.

  • Nuts can help with weight loss by triggering satiety levels which may help stop overeating. Nuts are rich in healthy fats, fibre and protein. Nuts are fuel for the good bacteria in our gut, particularly the skin of the nut which provides important nutrients such as fibre and polyphenols with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Research has found regularly eating nuts can help protect brain cells which are important for memory. Walnuts are particularly beneficial as they have a high concentration of omega 3 and polyphenols which is particularly important for brain health.

  • 98% of Australians are not eating the recommended 30g daily serve of nuts. Nuts are recommended for an array of health benefits including heart health, brain health, gut health and weight management. Try adding nuts to smoothies, stir frys, salads, baking and fruit with yoghurt to get more nuts in your diet.

References:

1. Kumari S., et al. Does ‘activating’ nuts affect nutrient bioavailability? Food Chemistry 2020 doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2020.126529

2. Taylor H., et al. The effects of 'activating' almonds on consumer acceptance and gastrointestinal tolerance. Eur J Nutr, 2018. 57(8): p. 2771-2783. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28956139

3. Aune, D., et al., Nut consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer, all- cause and cause-specific mortality: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMC Med, 2016. 14(1): p. 207.

4. Afshin, A., et al., Consumption of nuts and legumes and risk of incident ischemic heart disease, stroke, and diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr, 2014. 100(1): p. 278-88.

5. Nikodijevic C. et al. Nut consumption in a representative survey of Australians: a secondary analysis of the 2011–2012 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey. Public Health Nutrition. March 2020 DOI: 10.1017/S1368980019004117

6. Neale, E., et al., The effect of nut consumption on heart health: an updated systematic review of the literature. 2018. Nuts for Life, unpublished.

7. Li, H., et al., Nut consumption and risk of metabolic syndrome and overweight/obesity: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies and randomized trials. Nutr Metab (Lond), 2018. 15: p. 46.

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