Why Nuts and Seeds Should Be Part of Your Diet

By HumanWindow
Updated on 23 May 2019
Expert Content

Nuts and Seeds can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

They are packed with flavor and nutrients and are easy to incorporate into any snack or meal.

But what makes them so special and just why is it a good idea to incorporate them into your diet.

In this article, we’re going to take a close look at nuts and seeds and the specific benefits you can get by incorporating them into your diet.

We’re going to break this article up into the following sections:

• What are Nuts and Seeds?
• Nuts and Seeds Nutrition Facts
• Expert Comment
• Anything Else to Consider?
• Wrapping Things Up – Final Thoughts

So, with the introductions out of the way, it’s time to start taking a closer look at Nuts and Seeds and the benefits they can bring.

What are Nuts and Seeds?

A nut is a fruit composed of an inedible hard shell and a seed, which is usually edible.

A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food.

Both nuts and seeds are nutritionally dense and can be included as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

If you find yourself hungry for a snack, a handful of nuts and seeds is usually always a good choice.

What you may not know is that peanuts are not nuts. They are actually legumes which grow underground and not on trees.

Some examples of healthy nuts include Macadamia Nuts, Pecans, Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios and Brazil Nuts.

Two popular and healthy types of seeds are Pumpkin Seeds and Sunflower seeds.

So what exactly is in nuts and seeds to make them good for you? Let’s take a look at the nutrition facts to find out.

Nuts and Seeds Nutrition Facts

Nuts are usually rich in Magnesium, which is an essential mineral that plays an important role in a number of bodily processes.

Types of nuts that are high in Magnesium include Almonds, Cashews and Brazil Nuts. For example, a 28 gram serving of Cashews contains around 82mg of Magnesium, which is around 20% of the recommended daily intake.

In case you didn’t know, most Nuts are also a good source of monounsaturated fats and fiber.

Almonds have become much more popular in recent years. A small handful of Almonds contains vegan sources of protein, fiber and Magnesium, as well as Vitamin E.

Pistachio Nuts are high in fiber and are also commonly consumed in the western diet. One 28 gram serving of Pistachio Nuts contains around three grams of Fiber.

Walnuts are a great source of the Omega-3 Fatty Acid Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA).

So, now that we’ve covered some popular nuts, what about the nutritional benefits of seeds?

Flaxseeds, also known as linseeds, are a good source of Fiber and Omega-3 fats, and in particular Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA).

Flaxseeds are also high in important nutrients such as Magnesium, Manganese and and Fiber.

Chia Seeds have also become more popular in recent years. They are also good sources of Fiber and Omega-3 fats.

Pumpkin Seeds are also popular options. They contain a wide nutrient profile including Fiber, Monounsaturated Fats and Phosphorus.

The bottom line here is that both nuts and seeds are good vegan sources of protein, fiber and healthy fats.

Expert Comment

Yasmin Muswell

Nutritional Therapist Yasmin Muswell (Photo: Yasmin Muswell)

We spoke to Nutritional Therapist Yasmin Muswell to get her thoughts on nuts and seeds and why they can be enjoyed as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Here’s what she had to say about Nuts and Seeds:

“Nuts and seeds can bring loads of different micro and macronutrients into the diet. In terms of macronutrients, they’re a really good source of protein.

“So especially for those who might be following a plant-based diet, adding some nuts and seeds, say to porridge, can really boost the protein in that meal.

“Nuts and seeds also provide a good source of monounsaturated fats, which are shown to be beneficial in terms of reducing the risk of heart disease, for example.

“They are also a good source of micronutrients – nutrients that we need in smaller amounts that are really important for overall health – and are things like Magnesium and Zinc.

“Nuts and seeds are also a good source of fiber. Fiber is important for gut health, digestion and keeping bowel movements regular. Nuts and seeds can really contribute to our fiber intake.”

We also spoke to Nutritionist Liz Tucker to get her thoughts on why seeds and nuts are good additions to a healthy and balanced diet.

Here are her thoughts on Nuts and Seeds:

“Seeds are really nutritionally dense, they’re a really important part of our diet – the one we were originally intended to eat, which was a hunter-gatherer type of diet.

“Humans were really designed to eat a lot more nuts, seeds and vegetables.

“If you eat nutritionally-dense food, you can eat the energy value of it and process it immediately, so you’ll feel much more energised throughout the day because you’ll get the resources you need to process energy as you consume it.

“If you eat empty calories, you’ll end up just stockpiling potential energy – you’ll put on weight and feel very sluggish.”

Anything Else to Consider?

Nuts and seeds are high in fat, so it’s important not to consume too much of them.

They are also calorie dense foods, meaning that they are quite easy to over-eat.

Nuts and Seeds can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

The main things to bear in mind is that they are usually high in calories and fat, so you won’t want to be consuming too much of them on a regular basis.

It’s also important that you speak to a certified medical professional before thinking about making any major changes to your diet and lifestyle.

Of course, it also goes without saying that you should not consume nuts and seeds if you are allergic to them.

Wrapping Things Up – Final Thoughts

So, there we have it, our look at nuts and seeds and why it’s a good idea to include them in small amounts in your diet.

We’ve looked through some of the nutritional benefits of consuming nuts and seeds – and we’ve also brought you some expert comment from two leading Nutritional Therapists.

Nuts and Seeds are a great source of Vegan Protein and Fiber, as well as other essential vitamins and minerals.

The key thing to remember is to consume them in moderation, as they are very high in calories and fat.

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