Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nuts - A Health Food?

Nuts have been an important part of the human diet since caveman days. And they are still highly valued even today, even when they are not given the respect they deserve.

Calling nuts a health food may be controversial, but that is only because a great many people have no idea just how healthy and beneficial they in fact are.

Nuts in the West often get a bad*rap because everyone is trying desperately to avoid excess fat in their daily food choices. Fats are a big no no. If they are given any credit at all, it is understood to be virtually impossible to avoid them altogether.

Yet fat is absolutely essential, no matter what our public media would like you to believe. And saturated fats, the great fat villains, are no less important. The real dispute is over how much is too much. The neat things about most nuts is that they have both saturated and unsaturated fats, with the unsaturated and the monosaturated predominating.

So the way to deal with nuts is simply to recognize their high fat content and go easy on the portions you allow yourself per day. The terrific health benefits of nuts need to be heralded and honored.

Nuts are nature's storehouse of great nutrients. Think of nuts as trees in making. What does a baby tree need to get a healthy start to life? Well, a lot of things that a baby animal needs and for the same reasons. Loads of vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, fat and calories. A handful of nuts should be a welcome addition to the healthy human diet, for all the nutrients they contain, plus for their ability to lower excessive cholesterol.

As anyone who uses them knows, nuts are yummy and give pleasure like any other good food. You don't have to be a nut to use and enjoy nuts everyday. Look at primitives around the world, who are often free of civilized man's diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc. One thing most have in common is a diet rich in natural foods gathered from the environment, often including nuts and seeds of all kinds. Countless centuries of life in primitive surroundings have taught them what works and what doesn't, as modern scientists are beginning to discover.

So enjoy nuts, and don't fret over them. Look at all the fantastic foods that nuts can make better.
Candy, bread, icings, all kinds of pastries - this could become a really long list. But I imagine readers need no convincing in this regard.

One added benefit concerning nuts. Think exercise. What? Go out into the woods or along the creek bottoms of the US (and other countries) and pick up wild nuts which are abundant in some places. In the US, we easily have well over a dozen wild edible nuts free for the taking. Pecans, hickory nuts, black walnuts, butternuts, wild hazelnuts just to name a few. Walking, stooping and then cracking and extracting the nuts will give you lots of exercise. And in the end, you get a yummy treat! What's not to love?

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