With Christmas fast approaching, the temptation to eat your own body weight in nuts is going to be way too real.
Now, as with any type of food, balance and moderation is key, especially during the festive period, when you’re more likely than ever to overindulge. If you’re looking to avoid a glut of salted peanuts and honey roasted cashews – but still want healthy nuts to eat – then we’ve put together a list of our five fave alternatives. Tasty and convenient, these are the best nuts for energy, too, making them perfect for snacking and cooking with not only over Christmas, but all year round.
As far as taste and nutritional benefits go, it’s hard to beat the macadamia. A good source of Vitamin A, iron and protein, these bad boys also contain monounsaturated fat: the kind of fat that helps lower cholesterol and reduce potential risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Great on their own, they’re also a seriously tasty addition to granola, hummus and homemade pesto.
The fibre, Vitamin E and protein in almonds make them the versatile all-rounder you should always have in your kitchen cupboard or snack drawer at work. As with all of the nuts on our list, almonds are a perfect, tasty standalone snack – but truly come into their own as an ingredient. Whether you’re blending them into smoothies, crumbling them into a crust for meat and fish, or simply throwing them into rice dishes; almonds really are your nutty best friend.
Let’s face it: Brazil nuts are usually out in force over the festive season. And, packed full of selenium – as well as Vitamin E and B – you’d do well to take advantage of their seasonal presence. Perhaps not as versatile as some of the other nuts in our list, Brazils are, nevertheless, a fresh way of jazzing up salads, couscous and burritos.
Another Christmas classic, pistachios only contain around three calories per nut, and are also a top source of Vitamin B6, protein and potassium. And, according to a study from Pennsylvania State University, they can also potentially prevent high blood pressure by reducing cholesterol levels in those that are at risk of cardiovascular disease. Making totally worth the hassle of deshelling, we’re sure you’ll agree.
Worth their weight alone for the fact that a Waldorf salad is incomplete without them, walnuts are yet another great all-rounder. Containing more antioxidants than any nut, they help fight inflammation (which leads to good brain function as you get older), thanks to their high content of omega-3 fatty acids. Likewise, the wonderful walnut can help promote a healthy gut, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of some cancers and support weight control. And, just in case you weren’t sold by now, they taste absolutely awesome to boot.