What are Nuts?
Nuts are fruits with an inedible hard shell and an edible inner seed. Such seeds are often dried and consumed. Unlike other fruits, a nut does not disintegrate and separate from their seeds. In the culinary sense, this food has a broader definition and also include fruits and seeds that have a similar appearance to nuts.
The most common types consumed are:
- Pistachio 6. Macadamia Nut
- Hazelnut 7. Brazil Nut
- Cashew nut 8. Peanut
- Walnut 9. Pine nut
- Almond 10. Pecan
Origin of nuts
Archaeological evidence shows that prehistoric humans consumed nuts in the wild during the stone age. The oldest walnuts were discovered in Iraq 50,000 years ago, while pecans were found in North America around 8,000 years ago. Almonds are considered to be the oldest, according to historians. Pistachios have been around for more than 9,000 years. Today, this is considered a healthy source of nutrients, fat, and energy. Peanuts are the most consumed these days, followed by almonds, walnuts, and cashews.
This food is nutrient-dense, rich in healthy fats and bioactive compounds. It also provide protein, fiber, phenolic compounds, and phytosterols. Vitamins such as vitamin E, vitamin B6, niacin, and folate, as well as minerals including magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, copper, selenium, phosphorus, and potassium are also packed into this. Different kinds have slightly different composition of micronutrients. A 100g serving of peanuts contain:
Epidemiologic studies have associated nut consumption with decrease in heart diseases, gallstones, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, and inflammation. According to the Better Health Channel of the Victoria State Government, Australia, one serving (30 grams) is recommended every day.
This food is versatile and can be added to any dish, whether savory, sweet, or a beverage. Here are a few dishes to get started.
- Pistachio and Almond Cake
- Lemony Spaghetti with Pine Nuts
- Roasted Party Nut
- Apple Walnut Salad
- Kobarid Dumpling
- Peanut Soup
- Honey Walnut Shrimp
Nuts are graded and standardized by the USDA, which specifies the quality of the nut product. The provisions for this include all the different nuts mentioned above. The FDA regulates all aspects of nut products, including packaging of mixed tree nuts, shelled, nut butter, or nut oil.
The History of Nuts, Nutcracker Museum
Ros, Emilio. “Health benefits of nut consumption.” Nutrients vol. 2,7 (2010): 652-82. doi:10.3390/nu2070652