t is a fruit composed of an inedible hard shell and a seed, which is generally edible. In general usage, a wide variety of dried seeds are called nuts, but in a botanical context “nut” implies that the shell does not open to release the seed (indehiscent).
Nuts are technically considered fruits. However, unlike most types of fruit, they aren’t sweet and are high in fats. They contain a hard, inedible outer shell that usually needs to be cracked open to release the fruit inside. Fortunately, you can buy most nuts from the store “pre-shelled” so that you don’t have to crack them open yourself.
Some of the most popular nuts include:
They are rich in vitamin E, a nutrient which helps to improve the condition and appearance of your skin. For some extra heart help, swap flaked almonds for the whole nut – with the skin intact – because the almond’s skin is full of heart-protecting compounds called flavonoids. Also are rich in calcium thus ensure you’re getting enough of this bone-building mineral.
Brazils are a good source of the mineral selenium, which we need to produce the active thyroid hormone. Selenium also supports immunity and helps wounds to heal. You only need three or four Brazil nuts a day to get all the selenium you require.
They’re also rich in the mineral magnesium, which is thought to improve recall and delay, age-related memory loss. Add a handful to a vegetarian stir-fry or use as a nut butter on crackers or bread.
Hazelnuts are a good source of folate, which plays a key role in keeping homocysteine within normal levels.
With one of the highest fat contents, macadamias are often used to add flavour and texture to dishes and work well in both savoury and sweet recipes. Although high in fat, they do supply good levels of the healthy mono-unsaturated variety. They’re a rich source of fiber and make a useful contribution of minerals including magnesium, calcium and potassium. Buy in small batches and store carefully to avoid rancidity.
Other nuts include:
- Pecans: fiber and antioxidants
- Pine nuts: vitamin E and the arginine amino acid
- Pistachios: protein, potassium, plant sterols and the antioxidant resveratrol
- Walnuts: alpha linoleic acid: plant omega 3 and antioxidants