And the Healthiest Nut Is?
Definition: Nut noun \ˈnət\
a : a hard-shelled dry fruit or seed with a separable rind or shell and interior kernel
b : a dry indehiscent one-seeded fruit with a woody pericarp
c : a crazy person
I love nuts just not the insane ones. Nuts and their cousins the seed are some of the most beneficial foods we consume; containing copious amounts good fats, phytonutrients, protein and fiber. So what is the healthiest nut? Classification of ‘what is healthiest’ is a complicated matter. In case you haven’t noticed we are all different. A healthy food for one person may not be for everyone else. The term “healthy” is relative. My son, who has a mild allergy to nuts, would not consider this food to be wholesome. Some poor kids are so allergic to nuts that the mere inhalation of their dust can throw them into anaphylactic shock. Hence forth the ubiquitous ‘nut free school zone’. Allergies aside, on paper certain nuts have more vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants than others. Are these nuts healthier for you? Only you (and maybe your doctor) can know. My top three healthiest nuts are almonds, walnuts and pistachios (pumpkin, hemp and flax seeds are my best seeds).
A nut is a fruit but a fruit is not necessarily a nut.
Peanuts are not nuts; they are legumes.
Coconuts, walnuts and cashews are not nuts either; they are drupes.
Almonds aren’t really nuts, they are seeds.
Under U.S. law walnuts, cashews and almonds are considered nuts even though they are not.
Most commercial peanut butters have added sugar, hydrogenated fats, and salt added (Jif, Skippy, Peter Pan etc). Look at the label and buy brands that have nothing extra added in. Better yet, switch to almond or cashew butter. Unlike peanuts these other nuts are not susceptible to the aflatoxin mold that plague most peanut crops. This mold has been linked to higher cancer rates and stunted growth. Aflatoxins are toxic and among the most carcinogenic substances known to man. I grew up eating PB&J and I am fine….thus far. The evidence against eating peanuts is getting stronger but not conclusive. However, scientists agree they are one of the most allergy prone foods in the American diet. Peanuts also potentially contain this harmful toxin which may or may not cause liver cancer and stubby limbs. Why chance it? Luckily there are many good substitutes for peanuts so I steer clear of them. Better safe than sorry.
Doug Joachim – NYC In-home personal trainer www.JoachimsTraining.com