Original article July 2012 Copyright Jaine Kirtley
Are nuts the answer, or a cause of your health problems? As always naturopaths look at your individual needs for food and nutrients and the quality of the food in this case, nuts.
Your individual requirements may be that you need a rich source of minerals and vitamins such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, selenium, vitamin E, B vitamins and high quality fats, in which case nuts would definitely be a great asset to your diet.
The quality of the nuts can seriously affect the benefits. Nuts grown in soil low in certain minerals will be lower in nutrient content. Nuts can easily turn rancid which changes the helpful fats into destructive fats. This happens when the nuts are stored too long in poor conditions or exposed to heat. Mould and fungi can also affect nuts. If you buy nuts that have been roasted or coated with other ingredients you run the risk of exposing yourself to these destructive substances. Ensure you buy fresh plain nuts, stored in cool, dry conditions.
Nuts must be avoided if they cause an allergic reaction. Also very young children need to avoid nuts as there is a risk of choking.
Some people have irritable bowel symptoms triggered by nuts, this is not necessarily an allergy but due to poorly digested nuts. Soak all nuts for four or more hours with water, throw out water - this breaks down phytates which are present in nuts. Phytates prevent absorption of important minerals, soaking also helps digestion, bowels and energy. The easy way to do this is by putting a few nuts in a small container in the fridge; they will keep well for several days, change the water ever day or so.
When eating nuts never eat nuts by the handful instead have between one to five nuts at a time; this helps digestion and absorption of nutrients from the nuts.
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