Nuts and seeds are good sources of protein. They're strong substitutes for meat if you are vegetarian or vegan — or simply trying to cut back on animal products — and they can also be a nutritious low-sugar snack. Include the following nuts and seeds in your diet to reap their nutritional benefits.
Almonds are very high in vitamin E, an antioxidant that is found in fatty foods. Studies suggest that eating almonds could reduce the amount of unhealthy cholesterol in your blood, protecting you from heart disease. Snack on whole almonds, or use almond flour when baking to gain these nutritional benefits.
Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are associated with heart health. Although the best source of omega-3 fatty acids is oily fish, walnuts are a great substitute for vegetarians and people who don't like seafood; walnuts also have a softer texture than most nuts and are delicious in baked goods or salads.
Pistachios have a higher ratio of protein to fat than most other nuts. If you're trying to add more protein into your diet, snacking on pistachios could help you reach your goal.
4. Flax Seed
Flax seeds are the superfood about which everyone is talking, and like walnuts, they're high in omega-3 fatty acids and great for your heart. Two tablespoons of flax seeds contains nearly five grams of healthy fiber, which helps your digestive system to run smoothly and could even help lower your cholesterol. Sprinkle flax seeds over your morning bowl of cereal or oatmeal to add fiber and help you feel fuller.
5. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are great sources of vitamins E and C. You can sprinkle them over salad, but you'll also find they make a tasty snack. Just a small portion of flavorful sunflower seeds could help fill you up until your next meal, since they are high in fiber and protein.
6. Cashew Nuts
Cashew nuts are high in protein and very low in unhealthy saturated fats. Include cashew nuts in a fresh stir fry as a healthy, tasty alternative to meat.
7. Sesame Seeds
A quarter cup of sesame seeds provides 35 percent of the calcium you need each day, making these seeds ideal for people who don't eat much dairy. Lightly toast sesame seeds, and sprinkle them over a salad or stir-fried vegetables to add flavor and crunch.
Nuts and seeds are healthy alternatives to fatty meats and sugary snacks. Eat a variety of seeds and nuts every week to benefit from the vitamins, minerals and healthy fats they provide.
About the Author:
Hannah Whiteoak is a professional freelance writer from the United Kingdom. She's been writing full time for roughly 5 years and specializes in science and health topics.