Go Nuts for Nuts - Types and their Health Benefits


According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, winter is the season used for promoting kidney health. Kidneys contain astringent and active storage functions that help preserve energy, which we know we can all use to get us through the bitter winter months.

During winter months, our body is designed to absorb rich and nutritional foods to stay warm and healthy. Winter is when our body is most responsive to nutritional treatment therefore it's crucial to make sure our body is receiving the proper nutrients to aid health problems like a cold constitution, weak kidney health, cold and stiff body pain in their lower back and ankles.

Throughout the winter, you should eat food with less salt to reduce work burden on the kidneys and keep them in tiptop shape, especially the elderly as it can improve their body constitution and promote resistance to illness.

Kidney tonics consist of superior warming herbs, fatty foods, and meaty foods. The most popular warming herbs for promoting yang energy are dang shen, ginseng, astragalus, reishi mushroom, and longan fruit and deer horn. Typical warming foods are chive, chicken, mutton, shrimp, ginger, garlic, walnut, mushroom, mustard, vinegar, wine, gingko, red pepper, spring onion, and chestnut.

Chestnut

Chestnut is abundant in the winter. It makes a lovely addition in making hearty stews and soups. The chestnut is warm in nature and sweet in taste. It aids in spleen, stomach, and kidney health. Below is one of my favorite winter recipes with chestnuts. It may need some effort in preparation, but it's well worth the work!

Beef, Red Wine, and Chestnut Casserole

Ingredients 1.3 kilograms brisket 3 tablespoons plain flour 3 tablespoons olive oil 120 grams pancetta (diced) 16 shallots (quartered) 400 ml red wine 400 ml beef stock (hot) 1 bay leaf 3 sprigs fresh thyme 250 grams chestnut mushrooms 240 grams chestnuts (peeled or tinned)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to Gas 2. 2. Toss the beef in flour. 3. Heat some of the oil and fry the pancetta until crisp. 4. Remove from the oil, fry shallots until soft. Put into a casserole dish. 5. Add the rest of the oil and brown the beef. Add to the dish. 6. Put the tomato puree and wine in the dish and simmer, uncovered for 4 minutes. 7. Add the pancetta, beef, stock, bay leaf, and thyme. 8. Season and then heat until simmering. 9. Cover and cook in the oven for two hours. 10. Add the shallots, chestnuts, and mushrooms. Cook for another 30 minutes. 11. Best served with mash and peas.

Moreover, all nuts have different nutrition values and offer several of health benefits. Nuts are packed with protein, fibre, and essential fats. A golf ball-sized portion of unsalted nuts (about 30g) makes a vitality-boosting snack as well as contributes a variety of beneficial vitamins and minerals. If chestnuts aren't your thing, find your perfect match with our guide below:

Almonds

Almonds are high in calcium, which is a necessary vitamin in maintaining strong and healthy bones. They are also high in vitamin E, which helps improve the condition and appearance of your skin. To help maintain a healthy heart, eat the whole nut, with the skin, because the skin of an almond is full of heart-protecting compounds called flavonoids.

Brazil nuts

Eating dried jellyfish is highly nutritious as they contain an abundance of good substances. Jellyfish is one of Asia's most popular foods. They are typically served dried and chopped into small pieces. When preparing jellyfish, they are first soaked in water to remove salt and get rehydrated. Then they are cooked by boiling water, which turns them crunchy and causes them to shrink in size. Afterwards, they need to be soaked in cold water for a few hours to inflate and soften them. Jellyfish can be served either in addition to other dishes or cold as an appetizer. It is very popular for Chinese cuisine to serve jellyfish in a salad. Lucky for us, it is easy to prepare as well as extremely healthy!

​​Cashews

Cashews make an excellent choice if you're on a vegetarian diet. Cashews are rich in protein and are a good source of iron and zinc. They are also abundant in the mineral magnesium, which aids age-related memory loss. Why not add a handful of cashews to a vegetarian stir-fry!

Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are a good source of folate, which helps to keep your homocysteine within normal levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid that has been associated with heart problems as well as Parkinson's and other associated conditions. Eat hazelnuts if you're worried about high levels of homocysteine.

Pecans

Pecans contain a high amount of plant sterols, which are valuable compounds that help to lower cholesterol levels. Pecans are also antioxidant-rich. This helps to prevent plaque from forming that causes hardening of the arteries. They are also a good source of oleic acid, the same healthy fat found in avocados. If you're fighting fatigue, pecans are a good option because they’re a rich in vitamin B3 which help us access the energy in our food.

Pistachios

Pistachios are rich in vitamin B6, which is important for maintaining healthy and balanced hormones. They're the only nut that has reasonable levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that help to protect your eyes. Pistachios also are a good source of potassium and fibre.

Walnuts

Walnuts are useful in fighting against cancer with their superior antioxidant content. They are also rich in omega-3, a good source of monounsaturated, heart-friendly fats, and help to lower the bad form of cholesterol.

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