4 Common dry fruits and their lesser known health benefits

Miss Alone

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If you are too worried about your calorie intake, chances are high that you have come across reports that suggest nuts are high in fat and calories. Some nuts are also blamed to have cholesterol. In reality, nuts and oil seeds are plant foods, making them cholesterol free. They are power packed with nutrients and extremely beneficial to health. You must know that they are also low in carbohydrates, with good amounts of heart-healthy fats, fiber, and protein, making them an ideal choice for diabetics and weight watchers.

Studies have shown that people who ate a handful of nuts daily enjoyed a prolonged life. But just be sure to eat them in moderation as they are dense source of calories. Choose unsalted, unroasted nuts to get their maximum nutritional benefits.

"Dry fruits are smaller in size but are powerpacked with nutrients. They can be used as fillers in-between the main meals and will provide omega-3, Vitamin E, good quality of fibre, calcium and other nutrients. Apart from giving energy they improve haemoglobin, maintain cholesterol levels" says Prachi Sanghvi, cofounder and head of Nutrition MYDIETist.

Almonds- The super heart friendly snack
Crunchy, tasty and packed with nutrition, almond is clearly in the leader board. They have a high concentration of alpha-tocopherol, an antioxidant that lowers LDL Cholesterol (bad cholesterol) which is a risk factor for those prone to heart disease. Studies have shown that eating 1-2 handfuls of almonds per day can lead to mild reductions in LDL cholesterol levels.

That is not it.·Almonds are rich sources of vitamin E, with just one ounce (28gm) providing 37% of the recommended daily intake. They are packed with Vitamin E, which help nourish the skin and protect it from the harmful effects of UV rays.

Almonds are also a good source of Riboflavin, Manganese and Magnesium. They offer a myriad of health benefits, such as aiding in lowering blood pressure, improving heart health and lowering risk of cancer.

Pistachio nuts- Diabetes friendly and immune boosting nuts
Handful of pistachio nuts a day help keep blood glucose in diabetic individuals in the safe zone. They are also believed to lower the bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol), triglycerides and boost the good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) levels in blood, thus providing protection to the heart.

They are a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, γ-tocopherol, and a number of phytochemicals all needed to maintain good health. If consumed in moderation, pistachios may help control body weight due to their effect on satiety levels. They have a high amount of Vitamin B6, which helps lower homocysteine, known as a risk factor for heart disease. Vitamin B6 also helps in the production of hormones, red blood cells, and cells of the immune system, thus boosting immunity.

Cashew nuts- Agent for weight loss
Cashew nuts is infamously famous for being the most calorie dense dry fruit, that is rich in fats. But this is plain myth. In reality, cashew nuts when eaten in moderation, help in losing weight. In fact cashew nut oil is used in a variety of beauty care products. It lessens skin tan and protects skin from any harm. Additionally, it heals your cracked heels and nourishes them.

Cashew nuts are rich in Vitamin E and they have anti-ageing properties also. They control cholesterol, glucose, avoid headaches and hypertension

Walnuts - Stress buster
Walnuts are brain-boosting foods, which actually look like the brain. They help lower cholesterol, blood pressure and improve sleep quality. Some of its lesser known benefits are its ability to help cope with stress and reduce depression symptoms. They are rich in Omega-3 fat (ALA), which protects against heart disease, inflammation and breast cancer.

What's more? They contain fiber, which help in weight control; are a source of Vitamin E for flawless skin and has protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3s beneficial to good health.