Nuts and seeds are a great addition to your diet, I always add seeds and nuts to my breakfast bowl and salads, raw or toasted. Here are some reasons they are so good for you, they are a great source of protein which we all need. Protein makes you feel full, collagen is protein and we want bouncy plump skin, so nuts and seeds are good for your skin too. If you are eating a plant based diet, nuts and seeds are going to be an important part of your diet.
Get to know your Nuts
Peanuts are actually not nuts—they’re legumes which grow underground, so they are in the same family as chickpeas, soybeans and lentils.
Almonds are part of the cherry, peach, and mango family, since they are a drupe (a fleshy fruit with skin thin and central seed). When you eat a peach or mango, see how the pit looks similar to an almond. There are over 30 different varieties and eight out of 10 almonds are grown in California.
Pistachios are one of the oldest nut trees in the world. Humans ate pistachios as early as 7,000 B.C. They spread across the Middle East to the Mediterranean and were once viewed as a royal delicacy.
Cashews: These tree nuts start out as apples. Harvesters then take the seed from the bottom of the apple and before the seed is roasted, it is usually green. Roasting or steaming the cashew neutralizes the oils and makes them safe to eat—meaning raw cashews aren’t actually raw.
Walnuts contain more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other nut, so they are an excellent brain food to boost memory, they even look like mini brains. To keep them fresher longer, store walnuts in the fridge or freezer, since they have a tendency to go stale quickly.
Hazelnuts contain healthy doses of fibre, folate and vitamin E. Hazelnut oil is so rich it’s used in combination with palm oil for cleaning and polishing wood.
It is illegal to cut down a Brazil nut tree, which live for up to 500 years. These are like the candy of the nut family since a cup has 876 calories, and each nut is 85% fat and 14% protein. They’re rich in selenium, a mineral prized for thyroid support. I eat 4/5 a day to give me my selenium for my thyroid issue.
Pine nut is another type of seed that is thrown in with the nut family. They are so expensive because of the long process it takes to harvest them. They grow in the pine cone, but you generally can’t consume pine nuts from a pine cone you’d find in your park. The pine seeds are found in the pine cones and take about 18 months to mature. Since the pine nuts are ready to harvest 10 days or so before the cone begins to open, they are very difficult to remove. To speed up and ease the process, the cones are placed in a burlap bag and left in the sun to dry for 20 days. Next, the cones are smashed, releasing the seeds, which are then separated from the cone by hand. This is another very time-consuming and patient-testing task. Most of the pine nuts you eat come from the stone pine tree in Asia, Europe and North America.
French people who settled in New Orleans created the first pecan pie, since pecans are native to the southern US. On average, 78 pecans are used in one pie. There are over 1,000 varieties of pecans, and many are named after Native American tribes.
Macadamia nuts are actually seeds. It takes 12-15 years for a macadamia tree to grow to its full size. Most of the world’s macadamia nuts come from Hawaii. They are high in carbs and protein, but keep these nuts away from dogs since they make them sick.
Flax seeds are better digested if they are ground up. Whole seeds are harder to digest because of their shells. Quick tip: If you buy whole seeds, use a coffee grinder to make your own ground flax seeds and store in an airtight container for freshness.
The nutrients in a pumpkin seed are actually in the white shell. Bake them in a 300 degree oven with light seasoning or just salt for a minimum of 45 minutes and snack as you carve away.
Hemp seeds and marijuana come from the same plant, Cannabis sativa. The difference is that they are extracted from different parts of the plant (pot is the leaves, hemp is the seed). Hemp seeds also have .3% traces of THC, the euphoria-producing ingredient in pot, whereas marijuana contains anywhere from .4% and up depending on the strain.
Because they can be used as an egg replacement, chia seeds make vegan baking easy. Combine one tablespoon of chia seeds with two to three tablespoons of water to make a single egg replacement for your next cake or brownies. You can also do the same with Flaxseeds, very handy if you are an egg short making your courgette and banana bread.