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MyDoc Tuesday Tips: Why nutritionists are crazy about nuts?

Mounting evidence suggests that eating nuts and seeds daily can lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease and may even lengthen your lifeNuts are dry, single-seeded fruits which are nutritionally dense. They are a powerhouse of nutrients as they are rich in calories, protein, fat, fibre, vitamins and minerals. The different tree nuts that you can incorporate into your diet are walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, pistachios, pecan, macadamia, cashews, pine nuts and many more. 


Some nuts are a good source of vitamins and minerals, e.g. vitamin E, selenium, B vitamins, magnesium etc. Nuts are an important source of protein for vegetarian and vegan diets. In addition to protein, nuts are a source of fibre and unsaturated fats – monounsaturated fats (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) and low in saturated fats (SFA). Both MUFA and PUFA are cardioprotective as they are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Research shows that omega 3 fatty acid consumption along with a guided weight loss plan helps people lose weight, prevent ischemic heart disease, decrease abdominal fat and reduce waist circumference.

A recent meta-analysis of 102 randomised control trials (RCTs) published in the journal of PLOS Medicine showed that replacing dietary carbohydrate with saturated fat ( ghee, butter, coconut etc) does not considerably impact the blood sugar.

However, substituting carbohydrates and saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat from nuts significantly lowered fasting glucose, 2-hour postprandial glucose and HbA1c (3-month blood sugar).

How to go nuts 

- Incorporate 1 serving of plain unsalted unsweetened nuts - approximately a small handful in your diet daily.
- One serving of commonly eaten nuts are 20 almonds, 10 Brazil nuts, 15 cashews, 20 hazelnut, 2 tbsp pine nuts and 10 whole walnuts.
- Including a wide variety of nuts is an integral part of a healthy diet. Different nuts are rich in different nutrients.
- Nuts can be added as an accompaniment to your breakfast.
- Drizzle some nuts on your salad, soup or stir-fried vegetables.
- Plain nuts are a great mid meal snack option as the high fat content keeps you satiated longer.
- Avoid salted and sweetened nuts as they are high in salt and sugar and can lead to weight gain

Less is more 

Nonetheless, nuts are still high in fat and calories. So don't go nuts over nuts. It is vital to be mindful of the number of nuts eaten in a day. Remember - less is more. As nuts are a rich source of fats along with other nutrients, you only need a small handful a day.
To learn to strike the right balance and enjoy the benefits of a balanced diet, reach out to our team of doctors and health coaches at MyDoc to help you manage your diabetes and enjoy your trip.

Always care for you,
Sheetal Somaiya,
MyDoc dietician

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