Raw is Best

nuts1Raw nuts are one of the best food items that you can eat for a number of reasons. They are a powerhouse of nutrients and are quite rightly referred to as a superfood. There are a host of health benefits to eating raw nuts.

Raw nuts are higher in natural nutrients than roasted versions, as processing of the nuts effectively destroys the nutritional benefit they have in their raw form. For this reason, most would agree that it’s better to choose nuts in their most natural state, with as little processing as possible. Raw nuts are a good source of these Omega 3 oils and almost every type of nut contains them. The nuts can be easily incorporated into the balance with each meal. Protein is needed by almost every cell in the human body, and raw nuts are an excellent natural source. For those who are working out to build muscle mass, a handful of raw nuts is a fast, easy and tasty way to get the necessary additional protein boost. For those looking to lose weight, protein has also been known to help alleviate hunger pangs, which can help regulate the appetite during the day. Nuts can be a great alternative for vegetarians who derive their protein from sources other than animals. Nuts can also be used in a number of recipes and can take on the texture of meat in some dishes.

The nuts you buy in the store have generally been roasted, often in oil. Nuts naturally contain little sodium, but commercial manufacturers often add salt to their nuts. If you’re watching your sodium intake, look for unsalted nuts. Oil-roasted nuts have more calories than raw nuts, but the difference isn’t significant. Roasting kills about 50 percent of the aflatoxins present in nuts; hand sorting after roasting to remove discolored nuts further reduces the number of contaminated nuts that make it to market, according to the International Food Safety Network.

Roasting nuts and seeds does not significantly change their nutritional value, and claims that roasting nuts changes fat composition or reduces vitamin E are untrue, according to Karen Collins, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., of the American Institute for Cancer Research. Either one is a good source of nutrients so just choose the variety you enjoy more, Collins advises.