For the longest time, I only ate peanuts. I disliked every other type of nut.
Well, I am proud to say that there has been a major change in my tastebuds when it comes to nuts, because in the last year, I have not found a nut that I didn't love.
Now, I must say that I still really love a big handful of salty, Virginia peanuts from time to time, but in comparison to other nutrient-packed nuts out there, peanuts have become rather unimpressive :(
Did you know that peanuts are not even nuts? They are actually considered a legume and tend to harbor a carcinogenic mold called "aflatoxin" as they grow. This goes for conventional AND organic peanuts.
To make matters worse, the longer they sit (especially in hot or humid temperatures), the more the mold grows, unless you can buy them locally, which is pretty rare. Peanuts also contain lectins, some of which are toxic to humans and are resistant to cooking and digestive enzymes.
Now, some of these lectins are found in wheat, other legumes, and dairy, so peanuts are not the only ones getting the bad rep, but they too contribute to the aggravation of inflammatory and digestive diseases in the body.
I LOVE peanut butter and actually disliked almond butter when I initially tried it. Peter Pan Creamy had been a staple in my diet for 15 years, so of course I thought organic, raw almond butter was revolting. But the more I ate it, the more I craved that salty, natural flavor and appreciated the taste of REAL FOOD.
I'm not here to toot my "peanut-free diet" horn, but I am here to share and promote healthier food items that I personally enjoy. I really enjoy cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, and margaritas too, but like peanuts and peanut butter, I have put these in a "sometimes food" category.
I'm still working on putting ice cream in that category...
But let's face it, real food will help you dance better, hug tighter, run faster, sleep better, and be happier, so why do we still eat poorly? I'm still working on this too :)
Ok, enough words. Let's talk about healthy nuts and nut butters!
Top 4 Healthiest Nuts
1. The blue ribbon goes to...ALMONDS!
These guys are packed with magnesium, calcium, fiber, vitamin E, and help reduce negative forms of cholesterol in the blood stream. Booyah!
Did you know that walnuts are actually considered "brain food"? They have been proven to help with cognitive function and have radical heart-healthy benefits. They also contain 16 disease-fighting polyphenols. Yes, please!
Now, pecans are not my favorite nut unless they are doused in brown sugar and butter and generously placed on top of PIE...but I digress. These guys contain 20 essential vitamins and minerals and are significatly lower cholesterol.
4. BRAZIL NUTS!
These are those big honkin nuts that you usually see in a random nut or trail mix blend in your grocery store's bulk section. If you haven't tries these yet, snag one asap. They are SO good! They have a great, unique texture and almost a buttery, roasted flavor. They are also super high in heart healthy nutriets and minerals like niacin (love me some niacin), copper, fiber, vitamin E, selenium, and magnesium.
It goes without saying that all nuts are best consumed in their organic, raw state. Steer clear of anything roasted or further processed.
As far as nut butter goes, I like to stick to almond and sunflower seed butters. These are guilt-free, heart healthy, anti-inflammatory nut butters that you can feel good about. But, like nuts, make sure the ingredients list contains raw, organic nuts and no additives. Or just make your own!
Yay for delicious food that makes us feel good!
|My "so stinking excited about my almond butter" face. Just thought I would share.|
Now go enjoy life and give someone a big, heart-healthy bear hug!