Nuts & dryfruits are Nature’s own calorie packed nutritional punches, due to their containing various essential fats & sugars. Nuts are appetizing for their healthy fat component, whereas dried fruits are desirable for their sweetness from natural fruit sugars. They are blessed alternatives used in snack bars, in place of hydrogenated, saturated fats & refined sugars, corn syrup.
Nuts are readily available as fruit forms, from their trees; whereas dried fruits may require some manmade processing, to be converted from their fresh forms. Nuts & dried fruits are boon foods to be consumed for weight gain, just consume snack bars rich in nuts & dried fruits liberally, and you shall find yourself gaining weight comfortably!
Each of the various nuts & dried fruits further have specific essential minerals & vitamins which gives an add-on benefit on their consumption. They are discussed briefly as follows :
Almonds are specifically rich in Vitamin E, which is a membrane antioxidant, and prevents harmful toxins from entering our body cells. This it does by protecting cell membranes from damage. Hence, vitamin E gives glowing & supple skin, slows aging of skin.
Walnuts have good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which helps in maintaining heart health and also helps keep musculoskeletal diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, arthralgia at bay. Walnuts can be had in snack bars, for those who find its slight bitter taste unappetizing.
Pistachios, the raw & unprocessed ones are rich in phytosterols, which play essential role in lowering abnormal lipid levels in blood, and also have prophylactic action against cancer in humans.
Raisins are rich in soluble fibre, which helps to retain water in the gut, thus flushing out toxins from the body effectively. Raisins are moreover, concentrated sources of resveratrol, an antioxidant, which has anti inflammatory & lipid lowering properties.
Cranberries are rich in the antioxidant anthocyanin, which imparts the red colour to these lovely berries. Anthocyanin are very useful in treating urinary tract infections and also have cancer preventive actions. Dried cranberries have found their place, as a healthy alternative for refined sugar, in preparation of snack bars.
Apricots are rich source of Vitamin A, which helps improve eyesight & also helps in wound healing due to its function of cell differentiation & proliferation.
Ways of Incorporating Nuts & Dryfruits in Your Daily Diet :
- Certain nuts & dry fruits such as almonds, walnuts, peanuts, dates & apricots can be consumed, as mini meal snack.
- Nuts can be coarsely powdered to be added to milk, smoothies to make them calorie dense.
- Dryfruits can be added to puddings, porridges instead of sugar, for the sweet taste.
- Nuts & dryfruits, when added in snack bars, improves the overall nutritive content of these bars. They make the bars very appetizing & crunchy.
- Both can be used in preparing sweet items like ladoos, chikkis, fudges which can be an excellent calorie dense snack in itself.
- Nuts such as almond & peanuts are used to make bread spreads such as almond butter, peanut butter, which are a healthy alternative for white butter.
- Many healthy alternatives are now available in market such as almond milk, almond flour, almond oil for preparing gluten free dishes.