Tips

Nuts and dried fruits, great allies for a healthy diet

Tip ellaborated by Dr Eulàlia Vidal, member of the Nutrition and Health council of Ametller Origen, collaborating entity of BBHI in the field nutrition.

 

Thanks to their nutritional content, nuts are associated with a decrease in mortality and a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease. Nuts include hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts, pistachios, chestnuts and pine nuts.

Their nutritional composition makes them very interesting for their daily inclusion in our diet:

  • They have a high protein content, especially almonds and walnuts (20-25g/100g). Although peanuts are not nuts (they are legumes), they are included in this group because of their similarity at a nutritional level, with a protein ratio of 28g/100g. Thus, by incorporating a portion of about 30 grams of nuts per day we are providing between 6 and 9 grams of protein to our body.
  • They have approximately 500 to 600 calories per 100 grams. This means that 30 grams would provide about 120 kcal, so they can be a good choice for mid-morning or mid-afternoon.
  • They are rich in healthy fats (42-67%), such as monounsaturated fatty acids that we also find in olive oil, and polyunsaturated fatty acids that we find in legumes, fish and avocados, among other cholesterol-free foods. These fats are one of the reasons why nuts are attributed a protective role in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.
  • Their mineral content is very diverse, with calcium standing out: around 240 mg/100g for almonds and around 190/100g for hazelnuts. This means that 30 grams of almonds provide about 70 mg of calcium, 57 mg in the case of hazelnuts. They are also rich in magnesium, among other minerals.
  • Vitamin E is one of the most remarkable vitamins in their composition, playing an antioxidant role against cellular aging. Some vitamins of the B group, such as vitamin B9 or folic acid, also stand out.
  • They provide between 6 and 7 grams of fiber per 100 grams, which makes them play an important role, together with other foods of vegetable origin, in the prevention of digestive pathologies and in the maintenance of the intestinal microbiota.

Recommendations

– The World Health Organization recommends including nuts in a healthy diet. A good option is to take between 3 and 7 portions of 30 grams per week; raw or lightly roasted and without salt.

– Nuts are recommended at any age from one year onwards.

– To avoid the risk of choking or chewing difficulties, they can be crushed and included in yogurt, puree or any other dish.

– They can be included in salads and can even be a good alternative to enrich cereals.

 

Bibliography

Cervera, Pilar, Andreu Farran, and Raul Zamora-Ros. Tablas de composición de alimentos CESNID = Taules de composició d’aliments del CESNID. Barcelona: Universitat de Barcelona, 2004.

Estruch R, Ros E, Salas-Salvadó J, Covas MI, Corella D, Arós F, Gómez-Gracia E, RuizGutiérrez V, Fiol M, Lapetra J, Lamuela-Raventos RM, Serra-Majem L, Pintó X, Basora J, Muñoz MA, Sorlí JV, Martínez JA, Fitó M, Gea A, Hernán MA, Martínez-González MA; PREDIMED Study Investigators. Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet Supplemented with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil or Nuts. N Engl J Med. 2018 Jun 21;378(25):e34.

Tindall AM, Johnston EA, Kris-Etherton PM, Petersen KS. The effect of nuts on markers of glycemic control: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2019 Feb 1;109(2):297-314.

World Health Organization [Internet]. Alimentación sana. [Consultat el 21 de abril de 2021].

 

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