Nuts: these fruits with little-known benefits!

[Article updated on 19/09/2023]

Presented in 2019, the PNNS 4 (national nutrition and health program) gives pride of place to nuts by recommending them at a rate of a handful per day.

Before reading on

I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.

The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.

What is this ?

Nuts are generally fruits containing an oil seed enclosed in a shell.

The nuts most present in our diet are the different nuts (Macadamia, cashew, Brazilian, etc.), hazelnuts, almonds, pistachio, etc. Although the peanut is not a nut botanically speaking, it is often included in this food category.

The fact that the seed is oilseed results in the ability to obtain oil from these fruits.

Anti-cholesterol allies for good cardiovascular health

The fats present in these fruits are polyunsaturated fats. They are essential for the proper functioning of our body but it cannot produce them, it is therefore essential to provide them through our diet.

Among these essential fatty acids, we find omega 3, which is rather rare in our diet and whose deficiencies are common. However, walnuts are a food rich in omega 3. Thus, an intake of one tablespoon of virgin walnut oil per day (or taking 2-3 nuts) and per person, associated with taking a fatty fish such as mackerel or sardines once a week and regular consumption of green vegetables helps cover our omega 3 needs.


Some benefits of omega 3

  • They are necessary for the development and functioning of the retina, brain and nervous system.
  • They help fight depression.
  • They have a preventive role for our cardiovascular health, in particular by increasing the level of HDL cholesterol, commonly called “good cholesterol” and by preventing the formation of blood clots.
  • They play a protective role for our neurons.

Anti-cravings allies

The glycemic index of these fruits is low. This means that they have a low impact on our blood sugar and that the carbohydrates contained in these fruits will be gradually absorbed into the blood. They will therefore have the capacity to satiate us for longer.

In addition, with a quantity of between 7 and 12 g/100g depending on the fruit, these foods are also rich in fiber. This richness contributes to this satiating effect. To maintain maximum fiber, it is better to consume these fruits while retaining the thin skin that covers them (brown almonds, for example).

Fibers are also an ally for regular transit.

A good source of magnesium, important for your morale and good sleep

Considered a natural “anti-stress”, magnesium is essential for the neuromuscular transmission of nerve impulses and the regulation of heart rate. It also allows the proper storage of mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine in the neuron. Thus, magnesium deficiencies have an impact on our mood and our sleep.

In addition, stress increases magnesium needs.

Nuts are therefore good allies during periods of stress thanks to their richness in magnesium.

They are also rich in vitamins, minerals and trace elements such as:

  • Vitamin E, an anti-oxidant vitamin that strengthens our immune system and helps fight cardiovascular diseases.
  • Vitamin B1, a vitamin which is involved in carbohydrate metabolism, contributes to the proper functioning of the nervous and muscular systems and to cardiac functioning.
  • Vitamin B9 (folic acid) which participates in the production of red blood cells, protein synthesis and the functioning of the nervous system. It is important to have good intakes during pregnancy because it allows for harmonious development of the baby.
  • Iron: even if iron absorption is maximum for products of animal origin, nuts can supplement these intakes.
  • Calcium (especially almonds and Brazil nuts): nuts can be particularly interesting for low consumers of dairy products.
  • Potassium which plays a role in muscular activity, particularly at the heart level.

When to consume them?

  • As a complement to your breakfast to complement your muesli or in the form of almond or hazelnut puree on a slice of bread.
  • As a snack, combined with a fruit or dairy product to help you feel less hungry at dinner time
  • During the meal: some examples:
    • To complete a salad. So, if you make a vinaigrette with olive oil, adding a few nuts, you will have a very interesting fatty acid intake.
    • In a dessert, adding a few hazelnuts to a baked apple or almonds with apricots
    • In a dish with a few cashew nuts with your white meats…
  • As an aperitif in the form of hazelnuts, peanuts, whole cashews.

In all cases, choose unsalted nuts and take the cue of a handful with shell or the palm of your hand without shell.

For peanuts, it is better to buy them with their shells and leave the empty shells on the table. This will allow you and your guests to consume less by taking more time to consume them (the time to remove the shell) and by being better aware of the quantity consumed by seeing the empty shells. In addition, it will not be possible to eat whole handfuls! It’s often the trap of the bowl of peanuts placed on the table!

Beware of allergies

Whether peanuts (peanuts), almonds, hazelnuts, pistachio or all types of nuts, these foods are at high risk of allergy.

The symptoms of this allergy appear quickly and can be in different forms:

  • Cutaneous (urticaria, exema, etc.)
  • Gastrointestinal (diarrhea, vomiting, etc.)
  • Respiratory (asthma, etc.)
  • Anaphylactic shock in very serious forms.

If you think you have this allergy, it is important to consult an allergist who will perform a skin and/or blood screening test.