I am going nuts this Christmas!

Posted by Heather Doggett on 05 December 2019

We are just breaking in to the second tub of Christmas chocolates – it is the  2nd week in November as I write this – so we are pretty much on track for our usual over-consumption, but following a year of significantly reduced sugar intake; youngest child turning veggie and, by default, all of us – sort of, (excluding the dog although she does have a penchant for cauliflower) along with a general all round overhaul of our diet, there has been an epiphany in the household – and it is nuts – literally!

So just how good are nuts for our health? Packed with fibre, protein and essential (good) fats, nuts are the season’s best buy. 


Rich in calcium, almonds are a good choice if you avoid dairy.  They have a high Vitamin E content which improves the condition of your skin.  Eat whole nuts with the skin intact as it is the skin that has heart-protecting compounds called flavonoids.


An excellent choice for vegetarians as cashews are high in protein and a good source of iron and zinc.  They are rich in magnesium – thought to delay age-related memory loss and improve recall.


A good source of folate which helps maintain homocysteine – an amino acid associated with heart problems and Parkinsons- within normal levels.


Containing the mineral selenium, this supports immunity, promotes wound healing and supports thyroid function. Eat three or four brazil nuts a day to get all the selenium you require.


These are a great source of heart-friendly fats and have been shown to help lower bad cholesterol (LDL).  They are rich in omega 3 so a good source if you do not like oily fish.  Walnuts are also a superior antioxidant which strengthens your ability to fight infection and disease.


Whilst chestnuts are lower in protein than other nuts, they contain B vitamins including B6 and when eaten in their raw form, a good source of vitamin C.  These nuts are the lowest in fat and calories and rich in starchy carbohydrates and fibre.


A rich source of fibre, these nuts also contain magnesium, calcium and potassium.  Whilst macadamias have a high fat content, these are healthy mono-unsaturated fats.


Vitamin B6 is important for keeping hormones balanced and healthy and pistachios are high in this vitamin. Pistachios also contain potassium and good levels of fibre. They also contain two antioxidants that play an important role in protecting the eyes.


Packed with plant sterols which are effective at lowering cholesterol, rich in anti-oxidants which help prevent plaque formation that causes arteries to harden and oleic acid – healthy fat such as the type found in avocado and olives – these nuts are incredibly heart friendly.  They also supply vitamin B3 which helps us access the energy in our food.

Try to eat about four servings of unsalted nuts a week. Choose raw or dry-roasted nuts rather than nuts cooked in oil. One serving is a small handful of whole nuts or 2 tablespoons of nut butter. But, remember, you could end up cancelling out the benefits of nuts if they’re covered with chocolate, sugar or salt!

And on that note – a drop of sherry and a handful of nuts are beckoning.  Stay healthy and have a very Happy Christmas.

Alison Lambert, Senior OHA