A Vegan’s Best Friend: The Many Health Benefits of Nuts and Cashews

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If you are converting to Veganism, you may already know what foods you will stop eating. You may be less sure what you will eat in their stead. Nuts may be something you always thought of as a snack food, but they play a more central role in the vegan diet.

They are high in protein

With the elimination of both meat and dairy, nuts, seeds, and beans are primary sources of protein in the vegan diet. At 160 calories per ounce, almonds (23 nuts/ounce), cashews (16 to 18 nuts/ounce), and pistachios (49 nuts/ounce) are some lowest calorie nuts around. This is good news for people who count calories. Gourmet versions of all of these options are available from places like Valley Pistachio Country Store.

They are a good source of Omega 3 oils

With the elimination of seafood, some people struggle to get enough omega 3 oils in their diet. Dry roasted or raw nuts are a good source of omega 3 oils. Nuts that have been roasted in oil can have an excess of omega 6 oils. They can also have nutrients destroyed by this high heat process. So get dry roasted nuts for snacking or buy them raw so you can cook with them. Walnuts are an especially good source of omega 3 oils.

They can help lower your cholesterol

Nuts are high in plant sterols, which are sometimes added to products like margarine because they can help lower your cholesterol. They occur naturally in nuts. Thus, nuts can help protect your health in part by lowering your cholesterol levels. The unsaturated fats in nuts are also good for your cholesterol levels.

They are high in fiber

Fiber can help suppress appetite by making you feel full longer. Fiber probably also helps prevent diabetes. Fiber is also important in helping to regulate your gut function, which helps to prevent both diarrhea and constipation.

They are proven to be good for your health

Nuts have long been known for supporting good heart health and protecting brain function. Now, recent cohort studies are suggesting they may also lower the risk of developing other potentially deadly conditions, such as respiratory conditions, cancer and diabetes.

Nuts are an important source of essential nutrients that can be hard to come by in other vegan food items. They are also delicious and satisfying. If you have any preconceptions that they are somehow bad, it is time to get over that idea and learn to enjoy them.