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8 Healthy Nuts And Seeds You Should Eat Every Day

8 Healthy Nuts And Seeds You Should Eat Every Day

Nuts and seeds are important additions to our daily food consumption. These tiny gifts from Mother Nature are super heart-friendly thanks to a group of fatty acids called monounsaturated fats that protect against cardiovascular diseases. There’s a long list of benefits you can acquire from eating nuts and seeds. To name a few:

  • They are a great source of antioxidants
  • They are good for the skin’s elasticity and tissue repair
  • They are a natural source of iron, phosphorus, and magnesium
  • They are rich in fiber for good digestion
  • They can help with weight loss
  • They are gifts from Mother Nature — be thankful!

Aside from eating them as a snack, the following nuts and seeds can also be a great addition to your favorite dish, be it sweet or savory. However, as common food allergens, these nuts and seeds should only be eaten if you are sure you’re not allergic to them.

The recommended serving listed is the minimum amount you can consume daily to achieve the health benefits of these nuts and seeds. You can also try the featured recipes as an alternative take on these wonder foods.

1. Almonds

The flavorful and healthy almond is fortunately available throughout the year, but mid-summer when you can harvest the freshest batch. It blends perfectly with both sweet and savory dishes. From salads to pastries, the almond is one versatile ingredient.

Most of us think that the almond is a nut, which is technically incorrect! It’s actually the seed of an almond tree’s fruit. You only need to consume a handful of almonds to experience its health benefits. Its also a high-fat food that is good for you. Amazing, right? Almonds also have a cholesterol-lowering benefit to your body that reduces the risk of heart illness. Studies speculate that this is because of the vitamin E (an antioxidant) and monounsaturated fats found in almonds.

Recommended daily serving: 28 grams or a handful of almonds.

Here are some sweet and savoury recipes for Almonds:

Healthy Brownie Bites

by Primally Inspired
Full recipe here.

almonds dessert 01

    Six-Ingredient Paleo Fudge

    by Freckled Italian
    Full recipe here.

    Six-Ingredient+Paleo+Fudge

      Massaged Kale Salad with Almonds and Cranberries

      by Rubies & Radishes
      Full recipe here.

      IMG_2854

        2. Chia Seeds

        Chia seeds are truly one of the most underrated foods on the planet. These tiny, mottled seeds are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and calcium, which benefits both your body and brain. It is one of today’s “Superfoods” and has grown beyond its dietary staple label. You are not a legit health conscious person if chia seeds are not part of your everyday life. They are also a gluten-free, whole grain food that can be grown organically.

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        Packed with antioxidants that are good for the heart and skin, chia seeds will have you glowing inside and out. One of the amazing things about chia seeds is that all the carbs in them are fiber! They are hydrophilic and can expand up to 12 times their size. This gives you a feeling of fullness and can be very helpful if you want to lose weight.

        Recommended daily serving: 1 to 2 tablespoons of chia seeds.

        Here are some sweet and savory recipes for Chia Seeds:

        Mocha Chia Pudding

        by The Nourished Caveman
        Full recipe here

        chia seeds dessert 01

          Easy Raw Apple Chia Breakfast Porridge

          by Janice Levitt
          Full recipe here.

          porridge1

            3. Cashews

            Like almonds, cashews are seeds that adhere to the bottom of the cashew tree’s fruit. It adds a delicate nutty flavor to your dishes, and also complements salads and stir-fried dishes. It’s a great source of healthy fats (monounsaturated fats) that are heart-friendly, similar to the fats you get from olive oil. You should consider adding cashews to your diet if you want to keep your heart healthy. Since the healthy fats present in cashews decrease triglyceride levels, it’s a perfect idea to add these to the diets of diabetics. Before consuming the seeds, allow them to expand first by mixing them with enough liquid.

            Recommended daily serving: Small handful of raw cashews.

            Here are some sweet and savory recipes for Cashews:

            Cashew-Leek Veggie Burgers

            by Lukas Volger
            Full recipe here.

            cashew-leek_cr-bklyn-table

              Cashew Milk

              by Cookie + Kate
              Full recipe here.

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              cashews dessert 01

                4. Sesame Seeds

                It was during the Middle Ages that these tiny seeds were literally worth their weight in gold. No wonder – sesame seeds are loaded with astounding health benefits. Health is wealth. They are a great source of protein – high quality protein to be specific – that makes up 20 percent of the seed. If you have a heart problem, diabetes, anemia, or arthritis, adding sesame seeds to your daily food consumption might just be the solution. Not convinced? These small seeds are rich in zinc that helps produce collagen in the body. Collagen gives the skin more elasticity and it helps repair damaged body tissues. Thus, it makes your skin healthier and younger looking.

                Recommended daily serving: 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds.

                Here are some sweet and savory recipes for Sesame Seeds:

                Sesame Truffles

                by Elana’s Pantry
                Full recipe here.

                sesame_truffles

                  Cold Sesame (Cucumber) Noodles

                  by The Clothes Make The Girl
                  Full recipe here.

                  sesamenoodles

                    5. Flaxseeds

                    Flaxseeds were once called the new wonder food. Big gifts come in small packages indeed. Flaxseeds are packed with overwhelming health benefits for such a tiny seed. Some studies show that flaxseeds may help fight heart illnesses, diabetes, and breast cancer. It can be found in all kinds of consumer products like crackers, frozen waffles, and oatmeal. Flaxseeds are primarily rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, lignans, and good-old fiber. It is still considered a powerful seed even 13 centuries after it was cultivated.

                    Recommended daily serving: 2 to 4 grounded flaxseeds.

                    Here are some sweet and savory recipes for flaxseeds:

                    Mini Paleo Blueberry Bread

                    by South Beach Primal
                    Full recipe here.

                    Mini-Paleo-Blueberry-Bread

                      Pecan Flax Paleo Pancakes

                      by Paleo Porn
                      Full recipe here.

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                      Pecan-Flax-Paleo-Pancakes4-960x600

                        Grain Free Chicken Dippers with Buffalo Ranch Dipping Sauce

                        by Primally Inspired
                        Full recipe here.

                        flax seeds savoury 01

                          6. Pine Nuts

                          As early as 300 BC, pine nuts were spreading their healthy benefits and filling up Roman soldiers. Now, pine nuts have expanded their goodness to us health-conscious people of the modern world. Like cashews and almonds, pine nuts are technically pine seeds that you find between the scales of pine cones. These flavorful nuts have actually become a delicacy in many countries.

                          So, what health benefits do pine nuts really have to offer? For starters, they significantly help weight loss because of their appetite-suppressing effects. Scientifically speaking, the fatty acids found in pine nuts release large amounts of a known appetite-suppressing hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK). Pine nuts also contain nutrients that boost our body’s energy levels.They are also good for your heart, skin, and vision.

                          Recommended daily serving: 2 to 3 tablespoons of pine nuts.

                          Here are some sweet and savory recipes for Pine Nuts:

                          Paleo Chicken & Pine Nut Meatloaf

                          by Paleo Foodies
                          Full recipe here.

                          chicken-meatloaf-1050x700

                            Spinach Cake

                            by Elana’s Pantry
                            Full recipe here.

                            spinach_cake

                              7. Walnuts

                              This one is different. It’s neither a seed nor a nut, but a drupe. It’s a simple gift from Mother Nature. It contains a long list of nutrients like protein, fiber, plant sterols, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Perhaps the best health benefit of walnuts is its cancer-fighting properties that significantly reduce the risks of prostate and breast cancer. Like its cousins, cashews and almonds, walnuts are heart-friendly and powerful antioxidants. For the weight conscious, these nuts can increase satiety levels in just three days.

                              Recommended daily serving: 7 shelled walnuts.

                              Here are some sweet and savory recipes for Walnuts:

                              Raw Chocolate Covered Walnuts with Berries

                              by The Paleo Diet
                              Full recipe here.

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                              chocolate-covered-walnuts

                                Paleo Choc Blueberry Cake

                                by The Merrymaker Sisters
                                Full recipe here.

                                the-merrymaker-sisters_paleo-choc-blueberry-cake-640x357

                                  Strawberry Spinach Salad with Sweet and Spicy Walnuts

                                  by Cookie + Kate
                                  Full recipe here.

                                  strawberry-spinach-walnut-salad-550x368

                                    8. Macadamia

                                    Surprised that macadamia nuts made it to this list? Yes, they are loaded with fat and calories, but hear me out first! Studies show that 82.6 percent of the fat found in macadamia nuts are monounsaturated. If you’ve been reading up to this point, you know that monounsaturated fats are healthy fats that are good for the heart. Macadamia nuts also contain fiber that is good for digestion.

                                    Recommended daily serving: 28 grams or one handful of macadamia nuts.

                                    Here are some sweet and savory recipes for Macadamia Nuts:

                                    Cherry (Tomato) Bombs

                                    by Paleo Foodies
                                    Full recipe here.

                                    CherryTomatoBombs41-e1415762017362

                                      Candied Macadamia Nuts

                                      by Elana’s Pantry
                                      Full Recipe here.

                                      candied-macadamia-nuts-DSC_27501

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                                        Last Updated on February 21, 2019

                                        Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

                                        Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

                                        Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

                                        If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

                                        When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

                                        In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

                                        1. Salmon

                                        Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

                                        It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

                                        Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

                                        Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

                                        Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

                                        Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

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                                        2. Blueberries

                                        Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

                                        Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

                                        Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

                                        Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

                                        Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

                                        3. Turmeric

                                        Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

                                        Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

                                        Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

                                        Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

                                        Curcumin has also been shown to:

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                                        • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
                                        • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
                                        • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
                                        • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

                                        4. Coffee

                                        Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

                                        Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

                                        Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

                                        Coffee can also:

                                        • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
                                        • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
                                        • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
                                        • Improve your memory.
                                        • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

                                        5. Broccoli

                                        What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

                                        Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

                                        Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

                                        Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

                                        Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

                                        6. Bone broth

                                        Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

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                                        Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

                                        Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

                                        Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

                                        Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

                                        With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

                                        Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

                                        7. Walnuts

                                        Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

                                        Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

                                        Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

                                        Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

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                                        8. Eggs

                                        For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

                                        Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

                                        Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

                                        9. Dark chocolate

                                        You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

                                        Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

                                        Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

                                        Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

                                        Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

                                        Conclusion

                                        Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

                                        In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

                                        If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

                                        More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

                                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                                        Reference

                                        [1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
                                        [2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
                                        [3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
                                        [4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
                                        [5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
                                        [6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
                                        [7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
                                        [8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
                                        [9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
                                        [10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
                                        [11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
                                        [12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
                                        [13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
                                        [14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
                                        [15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
                                        [16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
                                        [17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
                                        [18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

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