4 Facts You Didn’t Know About Nuts

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Nuts

Although nuts have gotten a bad reputation over time for containing a lot of fat, they are actually very nutritious. If they aren’t a part of your diet, they should be.

Nuts contain unsaturated fatty acids which, interestingly, are now regarded as the good fat that helps lower high cholesterol, reduce blood clotting, and improve the lining of the arteries. They also keep one full and contains a lot of omega-3 – an essential fatty acid for maintaining good health.

Here are four interesting things you should know about nuts:

  • Peanuts are not ‘nuts.’

Peanuts are the most popular member of the ‘nut’ family. Whether eaten raw or processed from planters, or even as peanut butter or oil, they are very well-consumed. In fact, they account for almost two-thirds of American nut consumption. However, it’s interesting to know that they aren’t really nuts. 

While they are classified as nuts for nutritionally and culinary purposes, peanuts are biologically classified as legumes. Nuts, like almonds, walnuts, and others, grow on trees but peanuts grow underground.

They belong to the same plant family as beans and peas – Leguminosae. Their belonging to this family also means they are one of the best sources of concentrated protein in the plant kingdom. Nut or no nut, peanuts are still very healthy.

  • Walnuts contain the most omega-3 of all.

Most nuts contain omega-3 fatty acid to some extent, but walnuts have the highest share. The average serving of walnut contains around 2,500 mg of omega-3. This means walnuts have over 100% of the average person’s daily value packed into their shell.

Omega-3 is beneficial in keeping people healthy and managing heart disease. Several pieces of research have shown omega-3 lowers blood pressure, impedes the development of plaque in the bloodstream, and in turn, reduces the chances of a heart attack or a stroke.

However, omega-3 isn’t produced by the human body. This means that we have to consume foods that contain omega-3, including walnuts, to get it. Other sources of omega-3 are soybean, fish, and oysters.

  • Most almonds go into chocolate.

Almonds and chocolate go hand in hand. The flavorful combination of the two has been a staple for many years. That’s why it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that a whopping 40% of all almonds produced worldwide go into chocolates.

  • Brazil nuts are the healthiest nuts, and they’re not even from Brazil.

Like all other nuts, Brazil nuts are incredibly healthy as they contain monosaturated fatty acids that help fight bad cholesterol. They are especially popular for their high selenium content which the body needs for reproduction and thyroid gland function, among other things. They also contain ellagic acid which has neuroprotective benefits. These make them probably the healthiest nuts to consume.

Also, it’s interesting that they don’t come from Brazil…not really. They are found on the Bertholletia excelsa tree which grows in the Amazon forest,  which stretches for about 2.7 million square miles in South America. In fact, around half of the Brazil nuts imported into the US are actually grown in Bolivia.

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