While traditionally consumers have avoided nuts and seeds due to their high caloric and fat content, a recent growth in awareness of their health benefits has raised consumer demand for these products. According to a recent report, the global nuts and seeds market is expected to grow annually by 1.7% for nuts and 10% for seeds for at least the next five years.
However, with so many different nuts and seeds to choose from, making the decision to incorporate these heart-healthy products into your diet can be overwhelming. To help you better navigate the grocery aisle next time you go shopping, here’s a breakdown of the health benefits of some of the most popular nuts and seeds:
Almonds- Almonds are calcium-rich, making them a good choice to ensure you’re getting enough of this bone-building mineral (good news almond-milk drinkers!).
Cashews- With a high level of protein, these nuts are a great choice for those following a vegetarian diet. Additionally, they are a great source of minerals like iron and zinc.
Walnuts- Rich in omega-3, these nuts provide a heart-healthy addition to your diet and can help to to lower the bad cholesterol in your body.
Chia Seeds- Also high in omega-3s, research has found that that chia seeds may lower blood pressure and reduce an individual’s risk of heart problems.
Sunflower Seeds- Sunflower seeds contain the antioxidant vitamins E, and C, protein, and fiber.
Flax Seeds- High in protein and fiber (two tablespoons contain nearly five grams of fiber), flax seeds can help to reduce cholesterol and regulate bowels.
Remember, while nuts and seeds provide a variety of health benefits, it’s important to practice portion control when choosing them as a snack. Still high in fats and calories, more than a handful can ruin an appetite. Additionally, it’s important to eat nuts and seeds in their raw form and avoid eating them in trail mixes filled with extra salt, sugar-packed fruits, and chocolate.