Many nuts, notably almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and coconuts, have high levels of vitamin E, which protects against heart disease. Although most nuts are high in fat, this is mainly, except in the case of coconuts, monounsaturated fat, so most nuts do contribute to lowering cholesterol, if eaten in moderation. Walnuts contain linoleic acid, which not only lowers cholesterol, it also reduces blood pressure and helps prevent blood clotting. Some nuts also help to build red blood cells and prevent anemia.
Besides the antioxidant vitamin E, many nuts contain vitamin C - in particular, Brazil nuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts and coconuts - while hazelnuts, chestnuts and cashews contain beta-carotene, which the body turns into vitamin A. These antioxidant vitamins are, of course, essential to immune health and build up resistance to disease. Of the antioxidant minerals, Brazil nuts and walnuts contain selenium, while almonds, pine nuts and hazelnuts have zinc. Many nuts also contain a wide range of B vitamins, responsible for metabolizing food into energy and strengthening the nervous system.
High in both protein and carbohydrates, nuts are an energizing food, useful for anyone who is underweight or convalescing. They are a good source of protein for strict vegetarians and people with small appetites. The high levels of calcium in walnuts, almonds and cashew nuts strengthen bones, hair and teeth. Many nuts are anti-inflammatory, too. This helps to reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory skin conditions, such as rashes. Coconuts have high levels of folic acid, which protects against spina bifida in the unborn child, and phytoestrogens, which are helpful for women who suffer from PMS or menopausal side effects.
*Buy nuts in their raw form and as unprocessed as possible.
Taken from "Miracle Foods" by Anna Selby