How many nuts and fruits should you eat daily? For your overall good health, Canadian health authorities recommend 1.5oz of nuts a day (or about 42 grams, or roughly 1/3 cup), which is equal to a small handful, and two servings of fruit per day.
Your daily nuts consumption
A handful of nuts corresponds to a standard serving size and is approximately equal to:
- 24 shelled almonds
- 14 shelled walnut halves
- 16 cashews
- 20 hazelnuts
- 15 macadamias
- 15 pecans
- 28 peanuts
- 2 tablespoons of pine nuts
- 45 pistachio kernels
- 7 Brazil nuts kernels
- 3 tablespoons of seeds (sunflowers seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds
- mixed nuts: about two of each of the ten nut varieties
A handful of nuts a day keeps the doctor away. Literally.
Raw nuts and seeds contain phytic acid (a form of bound phosphorous) and enzyme inhibitors to protect them from inner oxidation and prevent from premature sprouting, safeguarding the seeds until germination in nature. Humans are not able to breakdown this anti-nutrient biochemicals, which may cause gastrointestinal discomfort and lower the absorption of essential nutrients.
Most statements extolling the health benefits of raw nuts and seeds are inaccurate as they fail to take that fact into account.
Soaking increases the bioavailability of important nutrients
The phytates and enzyme inhibitors can be easily neutralized by soaking nuts and seeds in salt water and low temperature dehydrating. When nuts are soaked, the germination process begins, allowing the enzyme inhibitors to be deactivated and increasing the nutrition of the nut significantly, as well as making them much easier to digest. One exception is with macadamia nuts (and other white nuts), which have only negligible amounts of enzyme inhibitors, so soaking is not as necessary.
- Put raw nuts/seeds into a bowl
- Add salted water (1-2 tablespoons unrefined salt per 1 Liter) so that nuts are submerged
- Allow to stand covered for about 7 hours (or overnight)
- Rinse nuts to remove salt residue and spread out in single layer on a rack to dehydrate
- Dry at a low temperature in oven for 12 hours or until nuts are slightly crispy
Your daily fruit requirement
The Canadian Heart Association recommends adults eat four to five servings of fruit per day. Canada’s Food Guide recommends having at least one serving of fruit (one fruit, or half a cup of fresh, frozen or canned fruits or barriers) at every meal, making 4 servings a day.
Dried fruits are significantly higher in calories and nutrients, smaller servings of them count toward more of your daily intake: a 1/2 cup serving of dried fruit is equal to 1 cup of fresh fruit. If you are on a 2,000-calorie diet, you can consume 2 cups of fresh fruit or the equivalent in canned, frozen or dried fruit to fulfill your daily recommendations.
FOR YOUR REFERENCES:
- 1 pound (lb) = 16 ounces (oz) = 454 grams (g)
- 100 grams = 3.5 ounces
- 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons (tbsp.)
- 1 tablespoon = 14 grams = 0.5 ounce
10 Easy Ways to Include Nuts and dried fruit in Your Diet
It’s easy to include nuts, seeds, and dried fruits in your diet to enjoy their health benefits. However, as most nuts are high in calories and fats, do not eat them in excess. Remember – a healthy handful a day.
- Eat as they are just directly from the package.
- Team nuts with dried fruit and seeds for the perfect nutrient-dense snack.
- Add chopped mixed nuts and dried fruits for a nutritious breakfast cereal to start the day.
- Blend them up into a smooth and spread on toasts or cracker biscuits.
- Add freshly roasted nuts (cashews or peanuts are especially tasty) to a tofu or stir-fry.
- Try crushed nuts (and chopped dried fruits) for muffins, biscuits, cakes, cookies and other baking goods.
- Top pasta with pine nuts or combine pistachios with basil, garlic and olive oil to make your own pesto.
- Mix a handful of nuts with chopped dried fruits, oats and yogurt and refrigerate overnight for your Bircher muesli.
- Crush them and add as ingredients to salads, smoothies, soups and other dishes.
- Enjoy them with your ice cream or dessert
Remember, it is never too late to change your diet to maintain or even improve your overall health.