The Body Ecology Guide to the Healthiest Nuts (and the Nuts to Avoid)
Nuts contain concentrated nutrients; after all, they have enough energy to grow an entire new plant. But some nuts are better than others.
Learn how to choose nuts and prepare them so that you reap all the benefits of this power food!
The Best Nuts to Eat (And How to Eat Them)
Keep in mind that almonds are the only nuts on the initial stage one of the Body Ecology program because they are the least acidic and for many, the easiest to digest. Once your inner ecosystem is healed, you may want to start experimenting with other nuts, like walnuts, cashews, pecans, etc.
All nuts are high in the B vitamins, which are necessary for metabolism and cell growth. Nuts are also good sources of heart healthy fats and antioxidants, making them the ideal food for preventing heart disease and cancer.1
Body Ecology considers nuts “protein fats” that combine best with non-starchy vegetables, fermented vegetables, and other protein fats like avocados and milk kefir.
They also combine well with fruits from the acid fruit family.
Here is our guide to common nuts:2
- Almonds help stabilize blood sugar, have high calcium content, and are the least acid forming. They are the only nut to eat on stage 1 of the Body Ecology diet (see important information about almond pasteurization at the end of this article).
- Brazil nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids and high levels of the mineral selenium that may help prevent breast cancer.
- Cashews are high in magnesium (second only to almonds) that can help build strong bones and have more carbohydrates and a lower fat content than most other nuts. They are often inexpensive relative to other nuts discussed here.
- Hazelnuts are a good source of quality protein. Vitamin E and beta-sitosterol in hazelnuts contribute to heart health and fight cancer.
- Macadamia nuts are high in fat, though nearly all of it is monounsaturated. They are a good source of thiamine and contain small amounts of phosphorous, selenium, calcium and potassium.
- Walnuts have high levels of vitamin E and an ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids (1:5). These fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, protect heart health and guard against arthritis.
- Pecans also have high vitamin E content and regular consumption may help decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
- Pine nuts are actually the seeds of pine trees and contain large amounts of thiamine (vitamin B1) and protein. If you are trying to lose weight a substance in pine nuts may act as an appetite suppressant.
- Pistachios have lots of calcium, magnesium and vitamin A, as well as fiber and iron.
A Note about Peanuts:
Peanuts are susceptible to a fungus that generates poisons called aflatoxins. Aflatoxins can cause liver damage, so many people avoid peanuts and peanut products unless they know the source keeps the peanuts fresh and free from fungi.
Did you know that peanuts could be toxic? Harvested peanuts easily grow a fungus that generates poisons (called aflatoxins) that can harm your liver. Get your copy of The Body Ecology Diet to learn more about soaking, sprouting and eating nuts for your health!
Soak or Sprout Your (Raw) Nuts for Maximum Nutrition
Before you eat your raw nuts, be sure to soak or sprout them first. Soak them for at least 8-12 hours or overnight in purified water with a pinch of sea salt. This makes them easier to digest, and removes an outer coating that contains a digestive enzyme inhibitor.
Also be sure your nuts are raw or dehydrated at a low temperature until dry and not roasted. Roasting destroys some of the vitamins and many of the valuable live enzymes in raw nuts. Grinding soaked nuts (in a Vita-Mix or food processor) into a pate’ also helps with digestion.
Try these ways to eat your raw nuts:
- Tossed with Herbamare or Celtic Sea Salt for flavor
- Pureed with vegetables into a pate
- Roll this pate into a lettuce leaf or strip of nori (an ocean vegetable)
- Chopped up into salads
For more information on soaking and sprouting raw almonds (and all nuts) read The Body Ecology Diet, by Donna Gates.
- One Important Caution If You Have a Virus…
If you have an active viral infection, you should avoid all nuts (and seeds). Nuts are high in arginine, an amino acid that can encourage outbreaks of herpes-simplex type viruses. Learn more by reading Why You Should Avoid Nuts and Seeds If You Have a Virus.
Nutrition in a Nutshell
Nuts are one of Mother Nature’s gifts: they contain ample nutrients to help us live healthy lives, they’re versatile and taste great!
A natural choice for snacks and meals, nuts can be your portable powerfood.
Important Update on Almond Pasteurization & How To Take Action
You may have heard that the Almond Board of California (ABC) proposed a voluntary (not mandated by government) “Action Plan” to pasteurize all almonds originating from California.
This rule was called for in response to two recalls of raw almonds from conventional farms due to the presence of salmonella.
The ruling has resulted in a backlash from consumer groups because labels will NOT show that almonds bought in the US, Mexico and Canada are in fact pasteurized (even raw almonds!). In addition, almond handlers and processors are concerned that they are not equipped for this new process.
The ABC was scheduled to implement the ruling in September 2007, however, the ABC chose to delay the rule until March 2008, pending USDA approval.7
Some almond processors may have begun pasteurization already in order to voluntarily comply with the mandate.
As you know, Body Ecology is a proponent of unpasteurized and unprocessed foods as a way to heal your inner ecosystem. We know those who follow the Body Ecology program agree, so take action now! The Weston A. Price Foundation has suggestions for how you can voice your opinion to the right people.
- “Cashews,” WHFoods.org.
- Natural Food Guide- Nuts-Part 1, NaturalHub.com.
- “Health Benefits of Nuts,” TheHealthierLife.co.uk.
- “Health Benefits of Hazelnuts,” Home-Remedies-For-You.com.
- “Walnuts,” WHFoods.org.
- Sahelian, Ray, “Nut Information,” RaySahelian.com.
- Action Plan and Pasteurization. Almond Board of California. http://www.almondboard.com/Programs/content.cfm?ItemNumber=890&snItemNumber=450