Like eggs or dairy, the consumption of nuts it has always been surrounded by some confusion, fueled by some myths that still persist. Science supports the benefits provided by nutritionists and experts, with numerous benefits for the general population. In addition to being rich in healthy fats, they are a great source of vegetable protein, thus becoming a fundamental food for the diet of vegetarians and vegans, also for those who seek to lose weight or increase muscle mass.
It seems like a paradox, but although nuts are very caloric, they can help you lose or maintain weight, and they are also a valuable source of energy and nutrients for athletes. In fact, it is also recommended to increase your consumption to gain weight, understanding it as muscle gain healthy.
There are many studies that discard the direct relationship between the habitual, moderate consumption of nuts, and being overweight or obese, while the numerous benefits they bring to health are confirmed. They are like little nutritious bombs, which in small portions they concentrate large amounts of essential nutrients.
They provide us healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, lots of slow release energy, fiber and great satiety. Always choosing them in their natural way, raw or, at most, toasted, without salt, sugar or other unhealthy accompaniments, they have a place in the diet of any person, specific pathologies or allergies aside.
Due to their high nutritional richness, they are foods considered essential in vegetarian and vegan diets. Do not forget that they not only provide fat and energy, they are also very rich in good quality plant proteins. They thus become key products for those who have special protein needs, or for anyone who has more difficulty ingesting the recommended daily amounts of protein.
The ideal is to give variety to the diet by alternating the consumption of the greatest variety of nuts -as we should do with fruits, vegetables or legumes-, since not all offer the same amounts of macro and micronutrients. This is the list of the most protein nuts and the best ways to add them to our daily diet.
Botanically they are legumes, but for food and consumption purposes we consider them a dried fruit, since they are much more similar to these in terms of nutrients and way of consumption.
Peanuts concentrate more than 25 g of protein per 100 g of edible portion. If we want to consume them as a snack, we can also buy them with the peel, to entertain ourselves a little more when opening them and consuming them very fresh, tastier than when they come already packed peeled.
Lightly toasted or natural, they are one of the most versatile nuts when it comes to enriching salty dishes of all kinds, due to a more neutral and less sweet flavor than other varieties. It is a common ingredient in asian cuisine, delicious in salads, stir-fries, soups and stews, as a crunchier dressing that combines very well with vegetables, fruits, legumes, tofu, or cereals.
The peanut butter It is a convenient and quick way to take advantage of its properties, always bearing in mind that it concentrates its nutrients even more in less volume of food. We can buy it already prepared, always 100% natural without any additives, or make it homemade if we have a good robot or food processor.
Perhaps it is the other large dried fruit with the highest consumption, long tradition in our country and closely associated with traditional pastries, but also with snacking. Raw almonds are already quite crunchy and we will hardly have to toast them a little if we want to make them tastier, since that crunchier point increases palatility.
With or without skin, largueta or marcona, the almond gives us between 18 and just over 20 g of protein per 100 g of edible portion. The most comfortable thing is to consume them whole between meals, and in the form of minced or rolled when adding them to any dish. In our cuisine, it is a common ingredient in minced meat to enrich stir-fries, stews and sauces.
Another easy format to find in the market is almond or ground almond flour, an essential ingredient for keto or celiac diets seeking avoiding gluten or carbohydrates of cereals such as wheat. We can also make butter or almond cream, although in the market it is more difficult to find it in its unsweetened format.
As a snack to replenish energy between meals, after a workout or to calm anxiety, shelled pistachios are unrivaled – unless you don’t like them. They are tremendously tasty, and adding salt would do them more harm than good, since they only need a small touch of toasting to release their unmistakable aromas.
The pistachio has some 17-19 g of protein -the exact amount varies depending on the variety-, and they stand out for being somewhat less caloric than most nuts, in addition to offering the highest proportion of vitamin A. Due to their peculiar color and aroma, they are a common ingredient in sweets and pastries, so we can also find them packaged raw and peeled, chopped or in granules, to add to a multitude of dishes that are also salty.
4. Cashew nuts
A very popular dried fruit among vegetarians and vegans, which raises true passions among its lovers, although it is still not so popular in our country. The cashew gives us a similar amount of protein to pistachio, between 17-18 g, and stands out as a source of vitamin K, magnesium and selenium. Thus, we can easily complete a basic preparation of any vegetable.
The peculiarity of the cashew is in its ability to substitute for dairy and other fats when it is hydrated, because when crushed, alone or with a vegetable drink, it becomes a very thick cream perfect as an alternative to cream or butters. It is a very common ingredient in raw vegan diets and is very convenient to eat naturally anywhere, as it is sold already peeled.
With some 15g protein per 100 g, raw walnuts are also a great source of omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, great allies against cardiovascular diseases and with protective effects on the brain and neurological functions.
The best way to take advantage of them is by buying them locally in season, in their shell, to open them at home every time we want to consume them, thus limiting their consumption to avoid the effect of ease of access to a jar full of them. In addition, they will be fresher and tastier, easily enriching a simple salad.
Walnuts are tender due to their high percentage of fat, which is why they are perfect for crushing them raw and thus obtaining an alternative to flour or, if we crush them more, a kind of cream. Its sweeter taste can be mitigated in savory dishes with spicesThey do very well with the spiciness or aromas of Indian cuisine, and are a great ingredient for making minced meat and filling vegetables or making hamburgers and vegetable meatballs.
With, approximately, 12-15 g protein, hazelnuts make it a bit more difficult for us to open their shell, becoming an entertaining task for a snack or snacking at home, using a nutcracker adapted to them.
We can also buy them already shelled, raw or toasted, being a fruit that shares many uses with almonds in terms of its use in desserts and sweets. We know that combines wonderfully with chocolateThat is why we can use them to make our own nutritious cocoa cream, or to prepare small homemade energy snacks with dark chocolate that has a minimum of sugar.
In Spain it is more difficult to find hazelnut flour or ground hazelnuts, but we can make it homemade and use it like almond, especially if we are looking for a much more powerful and differentiated flavor and aroma. In the same way, they are a very interesting base to make snacks, sauces and pestos.
7. Brazil nuts
This species of giant almond provides us with a similar amount of vegetable proteins to hazelnut, also standing out in its content of selenium, magnesium and vitamin E. Still not very widespread in Spain, they can be found in bulk in certain stores or as part of mixed nuts.
His big size makes them especially suitable to consume between meals occasionally, to supplement the diet or take anywhere, for example after a training session or at work.
How much to eat?
We have indicated the approximate proteins of each dried fruit per 100 g of edible raw portion, but, obviously, eating such a quantity of any variety in one sitting would be far-fetched. Although healthy, they are still very energetic and they could be too indigestible.
A serving of between 15 and 30 g per day is usually recommended, according to specific needs and the total balance of our diet or physical activity. In the case of vegetarians and vegans, especially if they practice sports regularly and intensely, it is advisable to round the figure up to ensure that the daily protein needs are covered. And always in addition to the proteins provided by legumes.
As always, if you have any specific questions to improve our diet, we recommend going to a professional dietitian-nutritionist that can help us plan an optimal diet according to our objectives.
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