Monday, July 31, 2017

All The Nuts - Health Benefits of Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts, Etc.


 I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley, home of Diamond Walnuts. As a matter of fact, nuts of all kinds grew there, in addition to any fruit or vegetable you can imagine. It was a wonderful place to grow up. We used to work in the walnut orchards owned by Diamond, as a volunteer project for our church youth program. The trees went on endlessly, as far as the eye could see. Who would have thought that 30 years later, the very existence of the almond and walnut orchards would be on the verge of collapse?

I've been so sad to hear about the conditions recently in northern California and the affect they have had on the nut crops, especially almonds. First it was the extreme drought conditions in 2014 that brought on the necessity for almond farmers to destroy thousands and thousands of acres of almond trees. Now in 2017, it's the opposite. Record rainfall is killing or has already killed the state's almonds. A record 27 inches of rain fell this last winter, the most ever recorded! And it's ironic that water is responsible for killing the trees, because almonds consume huge amounts of water and have even been accused of depriving other resources of adequate water! 

Being as it may, the health benefits of eating those water-greedy nuts is huge! I would urge anyone not to make their dietary plans so constrictive that they can't fit in a handful of some kind of nut into their daily food plan! By the way, peanuts are not nuts. They are legumes. Consider the benefits of eating a handful of nuts!
1) Great source of healthy fat! Of course we know that some fats shouldn't be consumed and other fats should be consumed in moderate amounts. Nut fats are helpful for weight loss, heart health and for brain health!

2) 20% less likely to die for any reason! That is huge! Studies found that a person who ate a small handful of nuts 7 times a week or more, were less likely to kick the bucket!

3) People who eat nuts have better cardiovascular health, lower risk for diabetes, lower mortality rate which then raises your longevity!

Sometimes you want something a little more exciting than just a handful of nuts. There are a lot of ways to dress up those nutritionally-loaded nuggets. 

Maple Cinnamon Pecans
2 cups raw pecans
1/3 cup maple syrup (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2  Tbsp. cinnamon
Cinnamon Sugar for sprinkling

Combine pecans, maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon. Heat over medium heat in a skillet for 6 - 8 minutes until thickened. Spread onto wax paper to cool. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if desired, and store in an airtight container.

Rosemary Garlic Almonds
2 cups raw almonds
1 Tbsp Coconut oil
2 tbsp. fresh chopped rosemary
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients and cook in a medium sauce pan, stirring regularly until toasted and fragrant. Spread and cool on wax paper. Store in airtight container. 

Either recipe is gluten free, vegan, and paleo! I'm such a fan of all the nuts and this is one obsession that I don't feel a shred of guilt for! So enjoy some nuts, and here's to your health!

sources: Grub Street 
Mercola.com
AgAlert 
CenterCut Cook 

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