Add Nuts, Raw Or Roasted | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures Add Nuts, Raw Or Roasted | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures
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TIP OF THE DAY: Add Nuts To Your Food, Raw Or Roasted

Nuts are good for you, and you should enjoy an ounce of them daily as a heart-healthy snack or ingredient: added to salads (green, chicken, egg, tuna, pasta, etc.); chopped and mixed with rice; atop hot or cold cereal, pancakes or French toast; on cottage cheese or yogurt; on ice cream and frozen yogurt; and anywhere else your imagination takes you.

But is there a difference between raw nuts and roasted (toasted) nuts?

In a recent Science Times Section of The New York Times, C. Claiborne Ray, who writes the Q&A column, quotes Rui Hai Liu, a professor of food science at Cornell University. Dr. Liu has studied the benefits of eating nuts.

“No research has specifically addressed how roasting nuts may change their nutritional value,” said Dr. Liu.


Toasted or untoasted? (photo © Bake Your Day).

Dr. Lui opines that roasting will not decrease the benefits, and “it may actually improve the bioavailability of some bioactive compounds” like flavonoids (powerful antioxidants). He has found a positive effect when tomatoes and sweet corn have been roasted.

Phenolic compounds* in nuts “have high antioxidant activity and are able to quench free radicals that lead to cell damage and oxidative stress,” Dr. Liu said. “Nuts also have a very nice fatty-acid balance and are a good source of vegetable proteins.” And they are linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.


Grilled fish with cilantro pesto and slivered almonds (photo © National Almond Board).
  Walnuts have the most phenolic compounds and antioxidant activity, followed by pecans. Then come peanuts, actually a legume. Pistachios, cashews, hazelnuts and almonds also have high levels.

We love nuts raw or roasted, but the flavors are distinctively different. For fun, have a snack tasting or cocktail tasting with two different nuts, each served both raw and toasted. We recommend starting with almonds and walnuts for a broad spectrum of flavors. Here’s how to toast nuts.

  • The health benefits of nuts and the seven healthiest nuts
  • Here’s the original article.

    *Phenols, sometimes called phenolics, are a class of chemical compounds consisting of a hydroxyl group (—OH) bonded directly to an aromatic hydrocarbon group.
    †Flavonoids, called vitamin P until the early 50s, are the most important plant pigments. The highest-antioxidant foods (blueberries, cherries, pomegranate, etc.) get their deep colors from these antioxidants.

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