Are you on a mission to find the best superfood to add to your vegan diet? Well, if you are, I’ve got one word for you – nuts!
Yes, you heard me right! While there are so many different varieties out there, we will focus our attention on the best vegan nuts that pack both nutritional value and flavor.
For us to have a better understanding of what makes these nuts the best among the rest and worthy to be added to your shopping list, we will also look into the benefits they can give to our bodies.
A nut native to the Middle East, Pistachios have long been a favorite since ancient times. They were a favorite among traders and explorers of yesteryears because of their high nutritional value and long shelf life.
Interestingly enough, pistachios aren’t technically nuts. Now before you go up in arms, allow me to explain! While we call Pistachio “nuts”, the truth is that they are actually seeds of the Pistachio trees.
They are popularly referred to as nuts because they do resemble “nuts”. And also, add the fact that they belong in the cashew family.
Regardless of its origin, people have come to know pistachio nuts and the health benefits they contain.
- Filled With Nutrients
Pistachios are known to have high levels of fiber, protein, and antioxidants. They also have one of the highest vitamin B6 content.
Vitamin B6 is an important factor in regulating blood sugar as well as in the formation of hemoglobin which carries oxygen in our red blood cells.
In addition, pistachios are also known to have high levels of potassium.
- High Levels of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are very important for our bodies. According to a study, pistachios have more antioxidants than most seeds and nuts.
These antioxidants help in preventing cell damage and in reducing the risks of some diseases.
To add, pistachios also contain levels of zeaxanthin and lutein which are important for our eye health.
Also, pistachios also have antioxidants called tocopherols and polyphenols that help fight heart diseases and cancers.
- Lower Calorie, High Protein
Most nuts are known to be high in calories. However, pistachios are on a different level as they are low in calories among other nuts.
Pistachios also have a good amount of protein. They contain a high ratio of essential amino acids which are important in protein production.
As our bodies are not able to produce these essential amino acids, you can get them from the foods you eat.
- Lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Apart from the health benefits that were mentioned earlier, pistachios are also known to improve blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol, and lower your risk of heart disease.
There have been numerous studies that focused on the ability of pistachios to help lower the level of cholesterol.
In most of the studies, they have determined that the level of “bad” cholesterol lowered and the level of “good” cholesterol increased.
- Help Lower Blood Sugar
Compared to other nuts, it might appear that pistachios have higher carb content. However, they also have a low glycemic index.
This means that when you eat them, they won’t cause a sudden increase in blood sugar level.
Apart from its rich fiber and antioxidant content, pistachios also have carotenoids, magnesium, and phenolic compounds. All these are helpful in controlling blood sugar.
Pecans can easily be tossed in just about anything. For example, pecan pie is a classic South American dessert which of course uses pecans for a flavor-packed bite as a main ingredient.
According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, pecans have more antioxidants than any other tree nut.
Pecans are loaded with vitamins and minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
Here are the health benefits of pecans:
- Support Weight Loss
Healthy fats found in pecans can help keep you full and leave you satisfied. Additionally, pecans contain several B-complex groups of vitamins that enhance the rate of metabolism.
- Improve Digestion
Pecans are packed with fiber that helps ease constipation and promote colon health.
- Reduce Blood Pressure
Eating pecans can help lower blood pressure because they contain high levels of magnesium and good fats.
- Promote Heart Health
Adding a handful of pecans in your diet can help improve total cholesterol levels, prevent stroke, and reduce the risk of heart disease because pecans contain monounsaturated fatty acids.
- Strengthen Your Immune System
Pecans provide phytonutrients (powerful antioxidant benefits) that help boost your immunity and protect against free-radical damage.
- Prevent Hair loss
Lack of iron can lead to anemia which is one of the causes of hair loss. Pecans have a good source of iron that helps improve the blood iron levels and hence, fight hair loss.
- Reduce Inflammation
Pecans are high in magnesium that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Several studies have shown that increased magnesium intake reduces inflammation in the arterial walls, thus minimizing the risk of heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and more.
- Prevent Aging
Pecans have so many antioxidants such as ellagic acid, vitamins A and E. These powerful antioxidants fight and get rid of the free radicals that cause premature skin aging like fine lines and wrinkles.
- Reduce Symptom of PMS
Pecans have manganese and when you eat them with calcium, it will have great impact on PMS symptoms like mood swings and cramps.
Another nut of Middle Eastern origins, almonds have been enjoyed by people since ancient times.
The great thing about almonds is that they can be eaten raw, toasted or on their own. They can also be flaked, sliced or made into different products like:
- Almond Milk
Apart from their versatility, almonds are also very beneficial to vegans who are looking for healthy additions to their diets.
- Lower Cholesterol
In one study, they discovered that when eating almonds, it increased the levels of vitamin E in the bloodstream and in the diet in a significant fashion.
Vitamin E is an important antioxidant as it helps fend off damages to cells. It also helps in preventing and stopping the oxidation of artery-clogging cholesterol in the body.
- Improve Bone Health
One of the minerals that can be found in almonds is phosphorus. It helps in making our teeth and bones strong and durable and it also helps decrease the chances of developing osteoporosis later in life.
- Strengthen Immunes System
Almonds are a good source of alkali matters which help in the strengthening of our immune system.
The Vitamin E found in almonds also helps in eliminating free radicals in the body, leading to the reduction of developing chronic diseases.
- Increase Production of Energy
Almonds have significant levels of riboflavin, manganese, and copper. And these are helpful when it comes to the body’s energy production and metabolic rate.
If you’re feeling a little low on energy but don’t have enough time to grab a bite, munch on some almonds and it will help you feel a little more energized!
- Prevent Constipation
Due to its rich fiber, fat and protein content, almonds can help prevent constipation. Also, they have magnesium that helps in neutralizing stomach acid, making it easier for the stool to pass through the intestines.
- Help in Weight Loss
If you are trying to lose weight, one of the best choices is to eat unsweetened almonds. Almonds have monounsaturated fats which can help curb your hunger.
Due to the dietary fiber found in almonds, eating almonds can absolutely make you feel fuller for a longer period of time.
Cashews are perhaps one of the most popular nuts in the world. But more than that, they also have so many health benefits that people should take note off.
- Help Treat Arthritis
Cashew nuts contain magnesium and copper which can prevent age-related bone diseases and arthritis.
If you have weaker bones, you are more susceptible to certain discomforts such as stiffness, injuries, and inflammation.
But with regular consumption of cashews, their magnesium and copper content can reduce the effects of free radicals in the bones.
- Protect Eyes
Cashew nuts have an antioxidant pigment called Zeaxanthin that is absorbed by the retina. When that happens, a layer of protection is formed over the retina that prevents the eyes from the harmful effects of UV rays.
- Great Sources of Dietary Fabric
Our bodies are in need of the dietary fibers – palmitic acid and oleic acid. Since our bodies don’t produce these, we have to find a source for these.
Cashew nuts are a good source of these fibers that help us digest our food better, and decrease the chances of developing digestive diseases.
- Help Prevent Gallstones
When you develop gallstones in your gallbladder, there are often no common symptoms.
According to a study, nuts that are vitamin and mineral rich such as cashew nuts can protect us from developing gallstones.
Cashews generally help keep cholesterol levels healthy which then aid in preventing the development of gallstones.
When we hear the word Macadamia, the first thing that might come to mind would be Hawaii. But did you know that Macadamia is actually native to Australia?
Regardless of where it came from though, there’s one thing that can’t be denied. It’s the fact that Macadamia Nuts have a lot of health benefits.
- Strengthen Hair, Skin, And Nails
Macadamia nuts are known to be rich in the following:
- Dietary Fiber
Combining all these and the low sodium content found in Macadamia, they can give your skin, nails, and hair the nourishment they need!!
- Nourish Brain and Nervous System
Macadamia nuts are rich in manganese, magnesium, B1, and copper. All these are helpful in keeping our neurotransmitters healthy.
When our neurotransmitters are in tiptop shape, it helps in nourishing our brain and nervous system.
- Fight Cancer-Causing Free Radicals
Macadamia has high flavonoid content. If you are not familiar with what flavonoids do, they help prevent cells from damages and protect them from environmental toxins.
What usually happens is that flavonoids are converted into antioxidants in our bodies.
These antioxidants then find and eradicate free radicals. They then protect the body from diseases and certain types of cancer such as:
BONUS: To learn how to make your very own nut milks at home, check out the video below!
Like most nuts, Hazelnuts also have notable health benefits that we should take note of.
- Lower Cholesterol
For starters, diets that are rich in hazelnuts can help reduce cholesterol that is considered “bad” and lower triglycerides. Hazel nuts also help in improving blood lipids and reducing inflammation.
If you’re looking for food that can give your brain the maximum boost it needs, consider adding hazelnuts to your diet. Hazelnuts have a high level of the following:
- Vitamin E
- Fatty Acids
These elements can help keep your brain as sharp as possible. Also, they help in preventing the development of degenerative diseases.
- Help Combat Obesity
Tree nuts such as hazelnuts have high levels of Thiamine. Thiamine is essential in keeping a healthy metabolism.
It assists in the conversion of carbs into glucose. Glucose, as we all know, is the source of the body’s energy.
Thiamine also plays a role in the production of red blood cells which are also important in the maintenance of energy.
If there’s one nut that everyone has tried at least once in their lives, I bet it has to be peanuts. Apart from being a really popular food to snack on, peanuts are also beneficial to the body.
- Rich Vitamins and Minerals
When checking for the different vitamins and minerals that you can find in peanuts, you will find the following:
- Folate or Vitamin B9
- Niacin or Vitamin B3
- Thiamin or Vitamin B1
- Vitamin E
- Rich in Protein
If you’re looking for something that can give you the protein your body needs, consider adding peanuts to your diet.
Peanuts are a very good source of protein. The protein content is estimated to be between 22-30% of calories.
- Fight Alzheimer’s Disease, Nerve Diseases, and Heart Diseases Infections
In peanuts, there’s a poly-phenolic antioxidant called Resveratrol that helps the body prevent cancer as well as nervous and heart diseases. It also helps fight viral or fungal infections.
How To Add Nuts To Your Diet
As vegans, we all know we need to be able to find foods that can substitute those that we are no longer allowed to have.
By adding nuts to our diets, we no longer just confine these small but highly nutritious foods as snacks. Instead, we make them part of our diet – be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
If you’re wondering how you can incorporate the different types of nuts into your diet, here are some ideas:
- Leafy green salad
- Steamed Veggies
- Vegan Pilaf
- Healthy Vegan Smoothies
One of the great things about these nuts is that they are pretty versatile. They have their own way of adding flavor, texture and nutrients to your dishes.
Apart from the ones I have mentioned above, there are plenty of other ways to add nuts to your diet. And as the Internet is like a gold mine, I’m sure you will be able to find new and innovative ways to fuse nuts in the recipes.
There might be plenty of culinary nuts that we may not have covered. However, since we are talking about the best vegan nuts, I figured I would feature the ones that can give us maximum health benefits. Read above to find out which ones they are!
As vegans, finding something new to add to our diet can sometimes be challenging but I do believe that adding these nuts to vegan dishes can enhance not only the flavor but also give us the nutrients that our body needs.
If you have any idea on how these nuts can be part of our diet, let us know by sharing your recipes down below. Or if you know anybody who you think would benefit from knowing the best nuts around, share this on your fave social media platform!