Easy Ways To Include Nutritious Nuts And Seeds In Your Diet

Organic super foods - Pumpkin seeds, nuts and chia seeds

It’s the festive season, and many of us will be looking forward to roasting chestnuts over the fire or maybe treating ourselves to baked goods topped with seeds or sugared almonds. However, nuts and seeds are one of the best organic super foods to include in your diet, and should not be reserved for an occasional treat. 

 Here’s a look at how they can benefit you, and some simple and easy ways to include them in your everyday diet. 

  • Supporting heart health

Seeds and nuts such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts and almonds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are a source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are ‘good fats’ that can help to reduce low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the body. 

When there is too much LDL present, it can cause a build-up in the arteries, increasing the risk of developing coronary heart disease. Nuts and seeds are also high in antioxidants, which help to reduce inflammation in the body and maintain healthy blood vessels, reducing the risk of heart attacks.

  • Supporting weight management

Nuts and seeds have a winning combination of healthy fats, protein, and fibre that is very filling, so they can help to keep you feeling fuller for longer and reduce the temptation to snack. Certain seeds such as chia and flax seeds may help to regulate blood sugar levels, which can aid the management of diabetes.

  • Healthy skin, hair and bones

Nuts and seeds are packed with minerals and vitamins such as zinc, magnesium, and vitamin E, which contribute to healthy skin and strong hair and bones. 

  • How to include more nuts and seeds in your diet

Nuts and seeds are a very simple and quick way to add flavour and texture to your food. They can easily be sprinkled onto soups, stews, or salads, or mixed in with rice or quinoa. Another easy way to eat more nuts and seeds is to add a handful to your breakfast cereal or porridge, or mix them with yoghurt, sauces, or stir fries. 

A good tip if you want to manage your weight is to swap a sugary snack such as biscuits with a handful of filling and flavoursome nuts. 

However, avoid the temptation to buy nuts that are coated in sugar or chocolate, as you will undo some of the health benefits by taking in unhealthy fats and empty calories. This can lead to weight gain and a buildup of bad cholesterol in the arteries. Also beware of eating too many salted nuts, although they are fine in moderation. 

If you are vegetarian or vegan, nuts are a good source of protein that is normally provided by meat, fish and eggs. Some people dislike the texture of nuts and seeds or find them too tough to chew. In this case, try grinding them to make pastes such as nut butter or tahini. This is the best way to introduce nuts to young children to avoid the risk of choking.

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