While they are popularly known for being calorie-dense food items, nuts are also valued the world over for their awesome nutritional content. If you are crazy about nuts, you’d be delighted to know they are also a rich source unsaturated fats, which are known for being the “healthy” type of fat. When they replace saturated fats in a person’s diet, unsaturated fats can help reduce the health risks associated with high blood cholesterol levels. This is because unlike saturated fats, unsaturated fats—both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated—don’t appear to raise the levels of LDL cholesterol (or “bad” cholesterol) in the body.
Moreover, studies have also shown that unsaturated fats actually lower bad cholesterol levels in the body. This is important since high bad cholesterol levels can cause fatty deposits to form in a person’s arteries. This is also great news for people who want to reduce their risk of developing heart disease or experiencing stroke.
Aside from unsaturated fats, nuts are also rich in other nutrients. According to the Mayo Clinic, they contain significant amounts of vitamin E, plant sterols, L-arginine, and omega 3 fatty acids, all of which also contribute to heart and cardiovascular health.
Taking all these into account, it’s clear that should make it a point to include nuts in your diet more, if you haven’t already. Here are some great tips on the different ways to enjoy these little powerhouses of health.
Drink Them as Nut Milk
These days, nuts don’t always come in solid form. Nut milks have become increasingly popular in recent years because of their great flavor and creamy texture that rival dairy milk. Delicious almond milk, for instance, can be easily substituted for dairy milk when you’re making other treats like cakes, cereals, and smoothies. And although almond nut milk products seem to be getting the lion’s share of the limelight at present, plant-based milks also come from a variety other nut sources, including hazelnut, peanuts, and walnuts.
Spread Them on Whole Grain Bread
One of the quickest ways to enjoy nuts is by spreading them on breads and pastries in their nut butter form. Peanut butter and hazelnut butter spreads, for instance, are widely available in supermarkets everywhere, but you can also make your own by processing a nut of your choice and some vegetable oil in a food processor. You can use roasted, dehydrated, or fried nuts.
Texturize Your Salads and Pasta Dishes with Them
If you desire to give your salad bowls or pasta dishes a hint of nutty or earthy flavor, sprinkling them with nut bits is the way to go. Not only will these nuts boost your meals’ protein and fiber content, they are also a great way to add a little bit of pleasant, gritty texture to the food.
Add Them to an Asian-Inspired Stir-Fry Noodle Dish
Nuts are a staple in many Asian dishes. It’s a culinary ingredient that you can also make use of when concocting your own Asian-inspired stir-fry noodle dish. You simply have to panfry cashew and peanuts along with other fresh ingredients like coriander, spring onions, garlic, chili, carrots, zucchini, basil, ginger, cooked noodles, and your choice of meat. Season the dish with soy sauce and fish sauce, and you’re good to go!
Create Sweet Treats with Them
Naturally, a list of how to enjoy nuts will not be complete if we don’t talk about desserts! Nuts and sweet treats like cakes and cookies are a match made in heaven, as are nuts and cereal delights like muesli and granola. Additionally, you can also substitute almond meal or hazelnut meal for flour when baking your favorite goodies.
Nuts are little nuggets of nutrients that can power your health on a daily basis. All it takes is a little imagination and creativity in order to make them take a more prominent role in your everyday diet.
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