Doing something against all odds is considered pretty insane or very stubborn to put it mildly. Some people would call you nuts. Have you ever thought where does this phrase come from? There are numerous sources on the internet but very few definite answers. I liked the one where nut is a metaphor for head. And from head comes the insanity. It first appeared in mid-19th century. “Nuts” also has a positive meaning – being fond of someone or something. Since this article is in food section, I will not write about etymology of words and phrases, but rather focus on nuts from nutrition point of view.
First things first
I absolutely adore definitions. This s probably old school approach where things need to be cemented into memory first and only in later stages applications of this knowledge could be developed. Read the following and try to memorize it. You will only understand it if you have PhD in Botany or Plant Biology:
Botanically nut is a type of single-seeded fruit in which the pericarp enclosing the seed is a hard woody shell. In common usage the term is used loosely for any hard, oil-rich kernel. Of those commonly eaten, only hazel-, filbert-, and chestnut are strictly nuts. Walnuts, pecans, almonds, and coconuts are really drupes. Brazil nuts, pistachios, macadamias, and cashews are really seeds with a hard shell derived from the testa rather than the pericarp.
Good to know about nuts
Nuts that will help you stay young longer are definitely almonds, closely followed by pistachios. They contain lots of vitamin E (which is an antioxidant, which in turn kills free radicals that make you look older). They are also good for your heart.
The best nuts that will keep your heart in mint condition are walnuts, because of their high content of omega-3 fatty acids.
If you are absolutely in love with Italian food it might be because of the pine nuts. They are believed to be an aphrodisiac. Pesto contains quite a considerable amount of pine nuts.
Modern day diets make us fat. And with fat comes cholesterol. The best nutty way to beat it is to eat pecans and macadamias.
Cashews are rich in magnesium, which is needed for strong bones.
Hazelnuts are richest in fibres among all nuts.
The really geeky stuff
We all know, or at least should know, that we need to eat carbohydrates, proteins and also fat. Oh why fat? My doctor said to reduce fat intake. True, don’t exaggerate on fat, but fat contains taste – without fat food is pretty tasteless. And above all fat contains fat soluble vitamins, like vitamin E for example that will preserve your youth. We know that food contains also vitamins and minerals. We know that balance is essential. What most of you don’t know that there minerals need to be balanced as well. Check the illustration below.
Minerals are interconnected. If your doctor says you have osteoporosis (disease where bones become brittle and chance of fracture is higher), than you would naturally think you need to eat more calcium to strengthen your bones. This is very true. But calcium will not be absorbed to such extent you would like if you don’t get also minerals that are connected to calcium – pretty much all of them, some directly and some indirectly. There is a science behind these, and I will not go too much into details, but it’s good to know.
I hope you are still reading and you didn’t get scared. 🙂 Every nutritionist will tell you the same thing (wrapped in different packaging): eat moderately, preferably many meals per day. Stop eating at six or seven in the evening (assuming you are going to bed at 10).
Muesli bar, hazelnuts, pistachios
Include many fresh fruits and vegetables in your meals, because of vitamins, minerals and fibres. And also include some nuts here and there. If you are a vegetarian or practicing some other diet that is omitting certain types of food, then extra knowledge about food balance is essential for your health and wellbeing. You need to know what nutrients are not parts of your regular diet and where to find them. It could be either dietary supplements or nuts. Nuts contain almost all you need to survive. Go ahead be nuts and enjoy (being) nuts!