Nuts eaten on a daily basis, in moderation, has many benefits for the human body. They are inexpensive and keep for long time on the shelf. They are easy to throw in a purse for easy snacking. Take a can to your office and eat a handful when you feel your energy is low.
Nuts are rich in energy, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. They are crunchy and each different kind has a unique flavor. Nuts are nutrition loaded with an excellent source of monounsaturated-fatty acids which help to lower LDL and increase HDL.
Nuts also contain antioxidants. Antioxidants offer protection against cancers, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and viral/ fungal infections.
Nuts are a rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, fluoride and selenium. They contain very good levels of vitamin-E. Nuts provides many vital B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates.
The question remains, which have the best nutritional value? There are many different kinds to choose from, like walnuts, pistachios, cashews, and almonds, to name a few.
They are rich in calcium; therefore, they are a good choice if you avoid dairy products. Almonds are also a good source of Vitamin E. Vitamin E is great for your skin, helping you look younger. The skin on the almond is full of flavonoids that protect your heart.
If you have a low acting thyroid, these nuts are chalked full of the mineral selenium, which is needed to produce the active thyroid hormone. Selenium also supports our immune system.
These nuts have a good amount of protein, magnesium, and zinc. Magnesium helps with memory.
This nut has the lowest fat and calories. Chestnuts are rich in starchy carbs and fiber, and in their raw form, are a good source of vitamin C. They are lower in protein than other nuts but have plenty of B vitamins.
Eat hazelnuts if you’re concerned about high levels of homocysteine which has been associated with heart problems as well as conditions like Parkinson’s. Hazelnuts are packed full of folate, which help with your homocysteine levels.
These nuts contain one of the highest fat contents. Macadamias are great to add flavor and texture to your recipes. They do have a good supply of healthy mono-unsaturated fats. They are rich in fiber and minerals including magnesium, calcium and potassium. However, these do not have near as long of a shelf life as other nuts.
If you want a Heart-friendly nut, pecans contain plant sterols. These are helpful at lowering cholesterol levels. Pecans are antioxidant-rich which help prevent the plaque from forming in your arteries. They also have vitamin B3 in them. Another great thing about pecans is they fight off fatigue.
Pistachios are rich in vitamin B6. If you are looking to keep your hormones balanced, pistachios are a good option. They’re the only nut to contain reasonable levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that help with protecting your eyes. Pistachios also contain potassium and fiber.
These nuts are full of antioxidants. Walnuts are great in the fight against cancer. They have a good source of mono-unsaturated fats which help to lower the bad form of cholesterol (LDL). They are also rich in omega-3.
I am someone who is always looking for healthy snacks to eat when a craving strikes. I am trying to find snacks with very little sugars and high in nutritional value. Although the recipe does have sugar in it, I think for the most part, that the nutrients out weight the sugars. These would be a great snack for summer activities with the family. After reading all the different vitamins and minerals in the above mentioned nuts, pick and choose the one that best suits you and incorporate them in this recipe.
Fruit and Nut Bars
1/3 cup (45 grams) all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (70 grams) light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (145 grams) walnuts (can also use pecans, hazelnuts, or almonds), chopped Try and put multiple kinds of nuts. That way you can get the health benefits from them all.
1/2 cup (65 grams) dried cherries or cranberries
1 1/2 cup dates, figs, and/or prune s(pits removed and cut into quarters)
1 cup (165 grams)dried apricots, cut into bite size pieces
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Have ready an 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) square baking pan that has been lined across the bottom and up the two opposite sides with aluminum foil. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in the brown sugar, walnuts, and dried fruit. Use your fingers to make sure that all the fruit and nuts have been coated with the flour mixture.
In a separate bowl, beat (with a wire whisk or hand mixer) the egg and vanilla until light colored and thick (this will take several minutes). Add the egg mixture to the fruit and nut mixture and mix until all the fruit and nut pieces are coated with the batter. Spread into the prepared pan, pressing to even it out.
Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until the batter is golden brown and has pulled away from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. When cooled, lift the bars from the pan by the edges of the aluminum foil. Use a sharp knife to cut into 16 squares.
Can be stored for about 10 days at room temperature or longer if refrigerated.
Makes 16 – 2 inch squares