Almonds – Good source of vitamin B’s, magnesium, vitamin E and zinc. It also contains some Omega 3’s. The B’s and magnesium both help with feeling calm and collected because they help the body produce serotonin, which is sometimes called the happy hormone. Serotonin affects many functions of the body like, sleep, appetite, aging, memory, just to name some.
Cashews – These nuts contain monounsaturated-fatty acids which may help lower the bad LDL-cholesterol while increasing good HDL cholesterol. They are also a good source of B vitamins and with minerals such as copper, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
Chia – It is packed with fibre, so it stabilizes blood sugar and helps you to feel full, so it helps cut cravings. It is also high in Omega 3 fatty acids, protein and a wide range of vitamins and minerals ie. calcium and iron. It is definitely a nutrient dense powerhouse. I like to sprinkle some onto my yogurt, and at times noodle soup, to up the nutrient content.
Chickpea – Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are considered a legume. Because this legume is high in protein and fiber it is also effective at regulating blood sugar. Chickpeas may also be able to lower cholesterol. It contains a range of vitamins and minerals and is particularly high in folate and iron.
Flax – Has a high amount of Omega 3’s. High in soluble fibre, which lowers cholesterol, and a good of the bone strengthening mineral boron. Contains lignans which helps your body to rid itself of toxins ie. xenoestrogens (see broccoli). Make sure the flax seeds are ground/milled when you eat them, if not, the whole seed will just pass through your system undigested. Also, I store mine in the freezer, as they have oils in them and can go rancid quickly.
Hazelnut – One of the more nutritious nuts with an antioxidant boost. Highest Proanthocyanidin (PAC) content among nuts. PACs’ antioxidant strength may benefit blood vessels – lower blood pressure, prevent cardiovascular disease and dementia. Hazelnuts contain fiber, vitamin E and B, and magnesium.
Hemp – The hemp seed is a different plant from the one where you get marijuana, so munch away because hemp seeds have the perfect balance of essential fatty acids, all nine of the essential amino acids thus making it a complete source of protein, vitamin C, B complex, and a host of minerals. It also contains chlorophyll (see collard greens). It is considered nature’s near perfect food.
Lentils – There are a variety of different types of lentils, they are a good source of protein, making it a staple for vegetarians in India. They are high in fibre, vitamin B’s, iron and other minerals.
Peanuts – Is a legume and not a nut since it grows low to the ground. They are full of protein, it contains a good amount of mono-unsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid which may reduce blood pressure. Contains resveratrol, which is also in red wine, which is an antioxidant that may helps to protect the heart. Recipes: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Pecans – Though pecans have the highest fat content of any nut it is a monosaturated fat and contains oleic acid (olives and avocados also have it) which may support heart health. It is rich in phosphorus and magnesium. In addition pecans also supply fibre.
Pine Nuts – This seed has the highest amount of protein found in any nut. They are the only source of pinoleic acid, an appetite suppressant. They contain a high concentration of oleic acid which is good for heart health. Pine nuts are also rich in iron and packed with antioxidants.
Pistachios – Good source of protein, good fats, vitamin B’s, vitamin E, minerals, carotenes, and selenium (regulates thyroid).
Pumpkin – Good source of protein, minerals, Omega 3, tryptophan (which is an amino acid which helps with sleep). Because of the high amount of zinc in this seed, not only is it good for immune health, it can also have positive results for prostate health. Recipes: Zucchini Bread
Sesame – High in B vitamins, minerals and rich in mono-saturated fat oleic, which can lower the bad cholesterol. One of the B vitamins it contains is niacin which helps reduce anxiety.
Sunflower Seeds – High in the antioxidant vitamin E, which supports cardiovascular health, it also brings down inflammation in the body. Besides being rich in iron, it is also rich in magnesium, which is involved in numerous body functions like nourishing the nervous system, lowering high blood pressure, helps to prevent muscle cramping and supports bone structure.