Roasting Nuts: Balancing Health and Taste

Nuts are a great natural source of nutrition and by roasting nuts you can enhance the flavors of these power snacks. Nuts can be eaten raw, unshelled, dry-roasted, oil-roasted, salted, sugared or even coated with honey. However you choose to eat them, you can be happy knowing that these are filled with many of the nutrients that our body needs.

Nuts are a rich source of protein, folic acid, B-vitamins, fiber, iron, calcium, and zinc. Additionally they also offer a dose of much needed antioxidants such as vitamin E and selenium. As many of us worry that nuts may be too fatty to be truly healthy, it is great to learn that this is mostly the unsaturated kind of fat that is good for the heart. The higher level of mono-saturated fats makes it a low cholesterol snack as well.

By roasting nuts, you get to bring out the flavors of the nut and there is also the benefit that the nuts will not spoil easily after roasting. The processing removes the ingredients that may make the nuts go rancid. However, the technique used for roasting nuts can make a big difference on the nutritional impact of the nuts. Oil-roasted as the name suggests means adding oil to the nuts and this can counter the naturally low fat calories of nuts. However, by using the right kind of oil, you can still get much of the benefit of the nuts even when you roast them. There is also the alternative of dry roasting nuts. This is when the nuts are roasted without any additional oil.

Here is a recipe for roasting nuts the healthy way:

Shell and remove the skin from the nuts of your choice. Preheat the oven to 425°. Now spray a non-stick lubricant on a tray and spread out the nuts. Sprinkle salt to taste and set the tray in the oven. In 5-7 minutes you will be able to smell the aroma of the nuts and it is a good time to pull out the tray. Remember that the oils in the nuts will continue to cook for a while even after the nuts are taken out and so it is better to pull it out early rather than late. This will make for a delicious and healthy snack that you can have at any time of the day. It is true that nuts are a great snack but do keep in mind that one handful of nuts is 200 calories roughly. So, it is best to serve yourself a limited portion than sit with a whole container of freshly roasted nuts!

While all nuts offer many of the same health benefits, there is some minor differential in the exact proportion of nutrients. Experts rank them in the following order and it is a useful list for those trying to decide which nuts they want to start roasting: Almonds, Hazelnuts, Peanuts, Chestnuts, Pistachios, Walnuts, Cashews, Pecans and Macadamias. One ounce of the highly-rated almonds contains the following:

Calories -166 calories
Protein - 5 grams
Fat - 14 grams (90 percent unsaturated)
Fiber - 4 grams

Almonds are also a recognized source of calcium, zinc, iron and Vitamin E. Walnuts offer the highest concentration of Omega-3 and filberts are said to be natural sleep aides. So by researching the specific nuts you can produce a custom snack that caters to your body’s needs.

It is interesting to note that Soybeans and Peanuts are not actually nuts but legumes. They are also recognized as good sources of nutrient and their name also leads to their being mistaken for nuts.

Nuts, whether roasted or otherwise, can be a good component of anyone trying to work out a healthy and tasty diet. They are one of those rare food categories that taste good and are good for you!



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