We’ve all heard that old piece of “advice” to avoid eating nuts if you’re trying to lose weight because they’re full of fat. But honestly, that’s so 1980s!
Most healthy, lean and energetic people I know eat these little nutrient bullets regularly and science clearly tells us a small handful of nuts a day keeps the scales at bay. I for one am a big fan, going so far as to suggest nuts as a regular part of the nutrition plan for my contestants on this year’s The Biggest Loser: Transformed.
Here are 5 reasons I think it’s time to throw out the old rules and admit Mother Nature knew best when she created her very own little vitamin-packed pieces of goodness.
They boost your health big time
Nuts are nutritional powerhouses, and can improve the quality of your diet by providing a wide range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy fats, all bundled up with protein, and plenty of fibre. They even lower the GI of a meal. The fats are there for a reason – they help your body absorb important vitamins and antioxidants in nuts, while also keeping you fuller for longer and protecting your heart’s health. The protein repairs your muscles, the fibre aids digestion and a lower GI meal give you lasting energy and helps control appetite.
They can help you get a rocking bod
Scientific studies are now proving that it’s the quality of whole, real foods you eat that really matters when it comes to leaning down. Eating a handful of nuts each day can help keep you full and satisfied, curb cravings and keep your appetite hormones happy. This makes them the perfect food for your health kick, assisting with weight loss by giving you a little shot of all the things that fill you up; protein, healthy fats and fibre.
You can do a lot with them
If weight loss and optimised health is your goal, you want to stick with raw, roasted or activated nuts rather than the salted kind, but there are lots of other ways to spice up your nuts! Add them to salads, crush them and sprinkle them on steamed greens, create your own homemade muesli with them, or spread a little nut butter on sliced apple or banana.
Your heart and hormones love them
Eating a 30g handful of nuts every day as part of a healthy diet can reduce total cholesterol as well as the risk of death from coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. Nuts are also the kind of food that wards off type 2 diabetes and keeps your hunger hormones at bay.
They’re nature’s convenience food
Snacking right on-the-run can be hard! Before we had packaged foods, nuts must have been our ancestors’ go-to fuel on the road. No preparation or gentle handling required, just pop a handful of nuts in a paper bag and hellooooo snack time. One of my favourite delicious, iron-boosting combinations is a handful of almonds with a piece of fruit high in Vitamin C to increase iron - apricot, kiwi, berries or citrus are perfect.
Nuts For Life
Why am I banging on about nuts? I'm so proud to support the @nuts_for_life initiative because I truly believe nuts are nature's little vitamin pills and make up such an awesome part of a healthy diet, in moderation of course, a small handful does the trick! Make sure you keep sharing your own nutty snaps with the hashtag #nuts30days30ways to win some cool prizes.