Nuts & Seeds

Among the choices of finger foods, things that are hard to resist once you commence consumption are nuts and seeds. Growing up, perhaps you spent mouth watering evenings digging into fried peanuts, roasted cashews, salted almonds or even roasted and salted pumpkin, sesame or sunflower seeds. They were tasty as hell, and if you were Asian like me, you probably added a load of spices including red and green chillis.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings. The American Heart Association recommends that you consume nuts and seeds as it is closely linked to a reduction in cardiovascular (heart disease) risks. There is a catch though. Nuts and seeds come with oils. Peanut oil or Almond Oil? Yes, so these oils are highly sensitive, and even minor amounts of heat can quickly turn them rancid and carcinogenic. Take Almonds or hazelnuts for example. It contains asparagine an amino acid or protein. Roasting these nuts turns this amino acid into a dangerous product called acrylamide a known carcinogenic. Your favorite evening snack just turned into a deadly game of Russian roulette with cancer at the end of the barrel.

Not satisfied, we add flavorings including maltodextrin also known as “honey roasted.” Many salads come with honey roasted walnuts or other nuts making what you thought was healthy a deadly meal. Salt or sodium is another favorite. Often a single serving of roasted peanuts can have more than the recommended amount of sodium per day. Excessive sodium is toxic by itself not to can cause elevated blood pressure and cardiovascular-related diseases.

So nuts need to be soaked to remove the anti-nutrients before consuming. In general, never eat processed or salted nuts. Similarly, seeds need to be eaten raw or soaked and unsalted. Flaxseeds in particular need to be ground as your body cannot absorb it otherwise. Happy munching!


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.

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