As winter sets in, we prepare to face it with warm clothes, room heaters and geysers. But it’s a good idea to boost your immune system against winter diseases with nuts and seeds. They are warming foods and are a good source of arginine—an amino acid that plays an important role in wound healing, detoxification reactions, immune functions, and promoting the secretion of several hormones including insulin and growth hormone.
People believe that consuming nuts can lead to weight gain. But, nuts are rich in heart-friendly mono- and polyunsaturated fats which are beneficial to the human body. They are rich in fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients, which help protect against cancer and other chronic diseases. They also contain other essential nutrients to your diet, including manganese, magnesium, selenium, zinc, iron, chromium, phosphorous, boron and folate. Magnesium, manganese, and boron keep our bones strong. Seeds are among the better sources of iron and zinc. Iron helps blood deliver oxygen to our muscles and brain, while zinc boosts our immune system.
These are some of the nuts and seeds you can consume this winter and keep winter diseases at bay.
Almonds are a good source of protein, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, copper, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and phosphorus.
Almonds protect our body against respiratory disorders, and coughs in winters. Regular consumption of almonds protects against cardiovascular disease, lowers bad cholesterol, helps control diabetes, boosts energy and helps prevent gallstones. It also contains biotin that makes our skin and hair healthy in dry winters.
Almonds can be consumed whole (with skin) as it benefits the heart. You can also dry roast almond or soak them overnight in water before consuming. Use them in desserts, salads, cakes and muffins.
Cashew nuts contain fat, most of unsaturated fatty acids, linoleic acid and linolenic acid which can play to prevent arteriosclerosis, stroke and other diseases.
Cashews are high in antioxidants and have a lower fat content than most other nuts. They are also a good source of monounsaturated fats, copper, magnesium and phosphorous.
Cashews can be eaten raw or toasted. You can add them in your breakfast porridge or toss some toasted cashews into your salads.
Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, manganese, copper and healthy (monounsaturated) fats.
Walnuts are the richest source of antioxidants. The most vital benefit of eating walnuts is that it reduces bad cholesterol and protects our cardiovascular system. They help brain functions, protect bone health, and help prevent gallstones. Walnuts also have bio-available melatonin, which helps regulate sleep.
Toss some toasted walnuts in salads for a crunchy taste, chop them and top it on pizza, sprinkle some on oatmeal or just eat them as snacks in place of cookies. You can also add them to cakes and muffins.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of the essential fatty acids, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, and copper, protein, and vitamin K.
Pumpkin seeds are highly effective in boosting the immune system. It is highly recommended for those who are prone to infections. They are highly effective in treating anemia, prostrate disorders and effects of kidney stone. It also provides anti-inflammatory benefits for those with arthritis.
Using Pumpkin seeds
Baked pumpkin seeds can be added in salads and vegetables. You can also munch them as snack. Powdered pumpkin seeds can be used for salad dressing.
Sesame seeds are a very good source of manganese, copper. calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, vitamin B1, dietary fiber, and healthy (monosaturated) fats. They contain powerful antioxidants called lignans, which are also anti-carcinogenic.
They contain phytosterols which help in controlling cholesterol and maintaining blood pressure. They provide relief for rheumatoid arthritis, and support vascular and respiratory health.
Using Sesame seeds
Roasted sesame seeds can be added in salad dressing or added to sautéed vegetables or chicken. The nutrients of sesame seeds are better absorbed if they are ground or pulverized before consumption.
[Read: Can Fruits & Nuts Make You Lose Weight?]
Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid), dietary fiber, protein, and minerals such as magnesium and selenium, and are high in cholesterol-lowering phytosterols.
They contain phytosterols which help in controlling cholesterol. They promote digestion and are loaded with fiber. The folate contained in sunflower seeds is good for women’s health. Eating sunflower seeds is believed to help provide anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits, lower cholesterol, and prevent cancer.
Using Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds can be added to salads. They taste great in scrambled egg as well.
Flaxseeds, or linseeds, are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are also rich in fibre and manganese and are a good source of folate, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), magnesium, phosphorous, and copper, and lignan phytonutrients.
Flaxseeds may provide anti-inflammatory benefits, protect your bones, and protect against heart disease, breast cancer, and diabetes. Eating flaxseeds also lowers blood pressure in men with high cholesterol.
Using Flax Seeds
To gain the most nutritional benefits, flaxseeds should be ground.
[Read: Can seeds and nuts promote weight loss?]
Peanuts are not exactly nuts, they are seeds. They are a good source of monosaturated fat, flavonoid (resveratrol), antioxidants, phytosterols, phytic acid (inositol hexaphosphate), folic acid, vitamin B3 (niacin), folate, copper, manganese, and protein, and are a significant source of resveratrol, a chemical known for potential anti-aging effects.
Peanuts help to reduce the risk of stroke, and possibly even cancer. Peanuts and peanut butter may also help prevent gallstones and protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
Peanuts, especially raw ones, should be stored in a cool, dry, environment (such as a refrigerator or freezer), as an extremely toxic and highly dangerous fungus (aflatoxin) can easily grow on peanuts when the temperature is between 86-96°F (30-36°C) and humidity is high.
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