Nuts and seeds are staples in a plant-based diet. Omnivores and plant-based dieters can get many important nutrients from the foods. Nuts and seeds are also associated with various health benefits including healthy weight management and lowered risk of heart disease.
What Are The Definitions Of Nut And Seeds?
In botany, a nut is defined as a hard fruit that does not split open on reaching maturity to release its seed. In the world of nutrition, fruits are defined based on their nutrient profile and application in recipes. The botanical definitions aren’t much valid here. Consider for instance, the botanical definition of fruit. It would include whole grains, nuts and even some vegetables.
Seeds of a plant have the purpose of growing into a new plant. As per its culinary definition, seeds are suitable for human consumption.
Throughout this article, we are using the culinary definition of plant foods and not their botanical definition.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Nuts And Seeds?
Nuts and seeds are great sources of many essential nutrients. They also contain several antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that have a positive impact on our long-term health. Some of the beneficial compounds present in nuts and seeds are phenolic acids, carotenoids, sphingolipids, lignans, phytates, phytosterols, and more.
Research suggests that people who ate nuts and seeds on a regular basis have better heart health and lower risk of certain types of cancer. Eating nuts and seeds may also be beneficial for people with type-2 diabetes.
What Are The Nutrients Present In Nuts And Seeds?
Nuts and seeds are rich in many nutrients. Although their nutrient profile varies from one another, they all typically contain:
- Vitamin E
- Plant-based protein
- heart healthy fats
- B-vitamins (excluding vitamin B12)
- Omega 3 fatty acids (specifically ALA)
Why Should You Eat Nuts And Seeds While On A Vegan Diet?
Although nuts and seeds are good for people following all kinds of diet, they are especially important for vegans. Because of its strict nature, a vegan diet may lack some nutrients in the absence of proper diet planning. Animal foods are rich sources of protein. As vegans completely avoid animal foods, they might lack enough protein, especially if they aren’t eating the right protein-rich plant foods. Similarly, vegan diets may lack omega 3 fatty acids and minerals like calcium. Nuts are seeds are excellent sources for vegans to get enough protein, iron, zinc, omega 3s and selenium.
Nuts And Seeds That Should Be Added To A Vegan Diet
Here are some nuts that you can include in your vegan diet.
- Macadamia nuts
- Pine nuts
- Brazil nuts
The seeds that can be included as a part of healthy vegan diet include:
- Sesame seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Poppy seeds
- Hemp seeds
You can also add several seed and nut butter to your diet to add a twist of buttery flavor to your meals.
How Do You Add More Nuts And Seeds To Your Plant-Based Diet?
Nuts and seeds can be added to your regular diet in many ways. Here are some tips that will help you add more nuts and seeds to your diet.
- Keep a jar of seeds on the counter: Seeing the jar of seeds will remind you to add some to your meals. If you choose to stock the seeds jar some place where you won’t notice it easily, it is possible that you will forget about it. You can add seeds to your breakfast or snacks.
- Add them to a salad: If you want a crunchy salad, then add some nuts and seeds to them. The healthy fats and proteins in the nuts will keep you fuller for a longer time.
- Use nuts and seeds to garnish meals: Nuts and seeds are tasty garnish for soups, oatmeal, wraps, curry, smoothies, and stir-fries.
- Make snacks with them: Snacks that taste delicious may not always be equally healthy. Adding nuts and seeds to snacks make them rich in proteins and healthy fats.
- Add seed and nut butter to dips, sauces, spreads and soups: Seed and nut butter are perfect for enhancing the creamy texture of sauces, soups, spreads and dips. You may also spread some seed and nut butter to whatever you are eating.
- Make vegan cheese with nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are the most common ingredients of vegan cheese. They give a creamy and rich flavor to the cheese.
Adding nuts and seeds regularly to your diet will help avoid deficiency of many nutrients.