The nutritional importance of nuts and seeds is being mentioned a lot in the media right now.
It is believed that eating them would do anything from helping you lose weight to protect yourself from cancer.
Now, it is true that nuts and seeds have high essential vitamin and mineral densities.
And while they are very high in fat, usually healthy unsaturated fat can help to lower your cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
However, when it comes to seeds and nuts, there can certainly be so much of a good thing and that amount can be very quickly reached and surpassed.
In the short term, the consequences of overindulging are unpleasant and in the long term very severe.
Let us take a look at what’s going on. Any of these contradict the very reason you first want to eat nuts and seeds!
Much research suggests eating nuts and seeds will help you lose weight. And it does – but only in very limited amounts and in combination with a whole diet and exercise regime.
In particular, nuts are very high in fat, and while much of that fat is unsaturated, it still represents a high calorie price.
If you eat so many nuts, you’ll probably win more than just losing pounds.
If you plan to add nuts or seeds to your weight loss program, compensation by reducing the amount of calories you consume elsewhere is significant.
This is not one of those balanced snacks that you can forget you were eating without messing up your diet.
High Blood Pressure
It depends on how you feed your nuts and seeds in this case. If they’re raw and unsalted, it’s likely they can help lower your blood pressure. Most come salted to improve their taste though.
Many of us already eat too much salt which usually works in collaboration with potassium to regulate our bodies ‘ fluid balance. It pushes up blood pressure when the vital equilibrium is off.
Eating unsalted varieties is best, but if you are otherwise careful about your sodium consumption, you can cheat a little by selecting unsalted nuts or seeds and adding only a touch of salt at home.
It is certainly less than the packaged items. Another smart approach is to savor your seeds or nuts with herbs such as Italian seasoning or chili powder to add sodium-free flavour.
Nuts and seeds contain several elements which have a negative effect on your digestion.
The fat content can, for example, lead to diarrhea. Even the high fiber will lead to this problem, or else it will cause a lot of bloating and gas.
Nuts and beans, however, do have a protective mechanism that makes them particularly difficult to digest.
Certain compounds, especially phytic acid and tannin, allow seeds and nuts to pass relatively undigested through an animal’s system.
It offers the seeds the best chance of finally sprouting to survive. This may also make the eater relatively nervous, in this case you.
Poor Nutrient Absorption
Phytic acid will potentially limit your body’s ability to consume other nutrients while placing stress on your digestive system.
Since humans can not absorb it, it leaves the phytic acid free to bind with minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc and keep us from using it.
Studies say that our bodies will consume up to 20% more zinc and 60% more magnesium from food if phytic acid is not present.
Fortunately, phytic acid does not leach these minerals out of our bodies, but in the course of digestion it does “steal” them from the meals.
The same enzymes used to digest foods are also known to interfere. Examples include pepsin, used to break down stomach proteins, and amylase, which transforms starch into fuel.
Phytic acid can also inhibit the use of the enzyme trypsin, required to digest protein in the small intestine.
Unbalances Omega-6 & Omega-3 Levels
To be honest, most of us still have the omega-3 to omega-6 ratios unbalanced. The latter is used in oils for cooking, processed food, and yep, nuts, and seed.
The former also includes nuts and seeds, as well as other fish types. All omega-3s and omega-6s are known as essential fatty acids, which means that they are not formed naturally by our bodies and must be obtained from our diets.
We need far less omega-6 than omega-3 to allow effective use of them, though.
Unfortunately, the average American diet contains around 10x to 25x the amount of omega-6s required. That can block our omega-3 absorption as well as increase blood pressure, promote fatal blood clots and cause the body to retain water.
Omega-3s are also known to be anti-inflammatory, which can reduce infection, while omega-6s are pro-inflammatory, providing an optimal atmosphere for disease to thrive.
Conclusion: Portion Control is Key
The interesting thing about seeds and nuts is that they are very safe in the correct dosage, but if you overindulge, quite the contrary.
There are some pure comfort foods that we can quickly recommend avoiding all together, such as grocery store frozen meals and fast food meals from any number of enticing establishments.
Yet when it comes to seeds and nuts, there are benefits to reap from consuming the right amount.
What’s too many, then? Dietitian experts recommend no more than 1/3 cup per serving. Instead than actually eating from the bag or box, it is easier to split your portions into smaller containers in advance.
When you finish, you’re finished. For certain situations, you will not be filled in with the correct amount of nuts or seed. When you just have to eat a little more, turn to a fruit or vegetable with plenty of water and fibre.
Those two elements really do make you feel complete.