Tag Archives: nuts

Nuts and Seeds | The Paleo Diet

One of Mother Nature’s gifts to mankind, nuts and seeds, have been on this planet for centuries and up to this day, we’re still harvesting their healthy goodness. There’s also a tall list of health benefits you can get from these minute wonder foods.

With high levels of antioxidants, nuts are cardio-protective[1] and great to include in your heart-healthy diet. Seeds on the other hand, are packed with dietary fiber. Studies show that those who consume high dietary fiber have lower risk of developing heart diseases, hypertension, stroke, and obesity.[2]

These tiny nibbles are a popular snack among Paleo eaters, however, should be eaten in moderation and are regarded more as a garnish and not as the main ingredient.[3] A small handful of nuts or seeds over a Paleo salad or added to your Paleo trail mix for hiking is just the ticket to adding healthful fats to your Paleo diet.

Check out the infographic from our friends at to learn more about the health benefits of nuts and seeds and include in your Paleo diet.

7 Healthy Nuts And Seeds To Include In Your  Paleo Diet - The Paleo Diet

REFERENCES

[1] Blomhoff R, Carlsen MH, Andersen LF, Jacobs DR Jr. Health benefits of nuts: potential role of antioxidants. Br J Nutr. 2006 Nov;96 Suppl 2:S52-60. 2006. PMID:17125534.

[2] Anderson, J.W., Baird, P., Davis, R.H. Jr. et al, Health benefits of dietary fiber. Nutr Rev. 2009;67:188.

[3] Stephenson, Nell. “Going Nuts: All the Bolts to Keep Your Health in Check.” The Paleo Diet. The Paleo Diet, LLC, 2014. Web. 09 July 2015.

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Mimicking Hunter-Gatherers Seasonal Dieting Habits

The best way to spruce up your Paleo menu and learn which foods are in season is to shop at local farmer’s markets, where the food is fresh, comes from nearby farms, and creates good safety net to ensure a higher-than-average quality diet. As Paleo Dieters we aim to closely mimic the diet of our hunter-gatherer ancestors in contemporary society.

In springtime, hunter-gatherers in Israel hunted species that were overly lean and otherwise fat-depleted, they supplemented the fat content of their diets with acorns and nuts.1 While the animal meat to which we have access in modern times isn’t subject to large variations in fat content, we can still benefit from the nutrient-density and healthy fats in nuts.

For many months out of the year, during the wet season, hunting wasn’t productive for the Hadza, so much of their caloric requirements were met by honey.2 Obtaining the honey was no easy feat, often an energy-intensive process, which in some respect justified its consumption. Nowadays, honey is available year-round, and as a sugar-rich food, excess consumption is not recommended. In summertime, when many delicious fruits are in-season, just remember that historically, this change in diet quality was frequently accompanied increased energy expenditure.

The Hiwi, on the other hand, have better success hunting game in the wet season, whereas in the dry season they rely more on fish trapped in small ponds.3 Living in a coastal state, much of the fish to which I have access is consistent year-round; this will certainly be different for mainlanders. However, seafood has been critical throughout human evolution and I see no reason to consume less of it during any particular season.4, 5

With regard to animal foods, I don’t see the seasonal aspect as relevant as it is for plant-based foods. In warmer months, carbohydrate-dense plants are more seasonally available, and even in our modern environment this may well be perfectly fine. While we’re not expending exorbitant amounts of energy acquiring honey, this is still a time of increased physical activity – more time spent playing outside, for example. Also, increased sun exposure translates to increased levels of vitamin D, which have been associated with a wide variety of improved health parameters. So the higher level of dietary carbohydrate at this time of year is matched with increased physical activity and higher levels of vitamin D. If you live somewhere with a frigid season, when you’re trapped indoors with much lower levels of physical activity and sunlight, perhaps a more seasonal approach may be prudent: plants that are more fibrous with less sugar and starches like nuts, mushrooms, spinach and kale, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus.

Some aspects of seasonal dieting remain relevant today, despite the fact that our access to most foods is not seasonally-restricted, regardless of where you live.

William Lagakos, Ph.D.

William Lagakos, Ph.D.Dr. William Lagakos received a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry and Physiology from Rutgers University where his research focused on dietary fat assimilation and integrated energy metabolism. His postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Diego, centered on obesity, inflammation, and insulin resistance. Dr. William Lagakos has authored numerous manuscripts which have been published in peer-reviewed journals, as well as a non-fiction book titled which explores the concept of calories and simultaneously explains how hormones and the neuroendocrine response to foods regulate nutrient partitioning. He is presently a nutritional sciences researcher, consultant, and blogger.

references

1.

2. Eaton SB, Eaton SB, 3rd, Konner MJ, Shostak M. An evolutionary perspective enhances understanding of human nutritional requirements. J Nutr. Jun 1996;126(6):1732-1740.

3.

4. Crawford MA, Broadhurst CL, Guest M, Nagar A, Wang Y, Ghebremeskel K, Schmidt WF. A quantum theory for the irreplaceable role of docosahexaenoic acid in neural cell signalling throughout evolution. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. Jan 2013;88(1):5-13.

5. Cunnane SC, Crawford MA. Energetic and nutritional constraints on infant brain development: Implications for brain expansion during human evolution. J Hum Evol. Jun 10 2014.

 

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Chocolate Covered Walnuts | The Paleo Diet

For a special occasion, chocolate covered walnuts are the decadent Paleo Diet treat you’ve been craving!

Ingredients

Serves 3-4

  • One 3.5 oz. bar raw dark chocolate (at least 85%, 99% if possible)
  • 20 raw, sprouted walnut halves, organic if possible
  • 12 large organic fresh strawberries

Directions

1. Place chocolate in double boiler pot on top of lower pot filled with water.

2. Bring water to simmer and stir chocolate with wooden spoon until melted.

3. Remove pot with chocolate from heat.

4. Using fork, dip one berry at a time into the chocolate and place on wax paper or silpat to cool.

5. Using same method, dip one walnut half at a time then place on wax paper to cool.

6. Dust with nutmeg, cinnamon or cayenne if desired.

7. Keep in tightly sealed plastic container for up to one week

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Nuts | The Paleo Diet

Do you find yourself having difficulty shedding weight on your Paleo regime? Or perhaps you’re still experiencing GI distress or frequent breakouts even though you’ve cut out the gluten, the dairy and the legumes.

Too many nuts, or the wrong type of nuts could be causing the problem.

Nuts can indeed be a part of the Paleo Diet when eaten in moderation: “in moderation” being the key takeaway message.

Since nuts are high in inflammatory Omega-6 and low in anti-inflammatory Omega-3, they should be regarding more as a garnish than a regular, go-to source of dietary fat.

The fats we should rely on regularly are raw avocados, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil, as well as the fats we find with our protein sources, like wild salmon or the occasional fattier cut of grass fed meat, like a nice rib-eye.

Are All Nuts Created Equal?

Not at all.

We must factor in not only the type of nut, but also how the nut might be processed.

  • Raw, sprouted nuts are best, whereas you should steer clear of those found in large canisters, roasted in peanut oil. By soaking nuts and allowing them to sprout, we can reduce the amount of phytates we consume when we eat a handful of them with an apple as a snack, for example.
  • Surprisingly, almonds, which we see in abundance in many forms and varieties, have one of the worst Omega 3:6 ratios, with virtually no detectable Omega-3s!
  • Walnuts, Macadamias and Brazil Nuts, however, rank as the top three in their ratio which is more favorable, but still not ideal.

Don’t make the common mistake of buying a huge vat of nuts and bringing them to the office to “snack on” throughout the day. Far too often this ends in too many calories, an unbalanced macronutrient profile and an upset stomach.

How many nuts are too many nuts?

Simply put, if you’re eating any nuts more often than as the occasional garnish, it may be too much. Because they’re easy to purchase, easy to eat and require zero preparation, many people make the mistake of making them their go-to snack for the office or home, and end up consuming hundreds of extra calories each day without even realizing it.

But why are some nuts ok, but not some grains or some legumes?

It comes down to portion sizes and frequency. We’re only meant to be eating a small portion, as a garnish, on occasion, whereas with pasta, bread or bagels, the amount eaten in the typical Standard American Diet is closer to cupfuls.

A good example of how many nuts to eat might include a tablespoon of raw walnuts on a salad or a handful of raw almonds with an apple, some sliced turkey and spinach made into a wrap a couple times per week is the way to go.

Eating a vat of salted nuts, roasted in peanut oil that you purchased on sale at Costco each week is the wrong approach.

Are Nuts for Everyone?

Certain populations may need to be even more careful with nuts, such as those with autoimmune conditions. While some can tolerate nuts and seeds others cannot. The best approach is to go nut-free for a month on top of the standard Paleo Diet and then test to see if you react.

Storing

Because of their high fat content, nuts kept in the freezer can be eaten in that state. They won’t freeze into a rock-solid piece of ice the way a piece of lean chicken or veggies would.

Rather than following the budget friendly strategy of buying in bulk, only to find that two pound bag of organic raw walnuts still sitting in your cupboard two months later and not tasting so great, keeping them in the freezer proves to be cost-effective too, as nothing will spoil and go to waste.

For an easy to make treat, rinse, then freeze some organic grapes or a sliced banana. Paired with a handful of macadamias and topped with a dash of cinnamon and ginger, this makes an incredibly decadent “something sweet” way to finish a meal, far more representative of True Paleo than any treat.

Zero processing and loads of flavor is the way to go.

For a special occasion, create the decadent Raw Chocolate Covered Walnuts with Berries.

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Seaweed Trail Mix | The Paleo Diet

Special thanks and congratulations to Andy Culbertson, The Paleo Diet Recipe Contest Winner

Trail into the season where fresh walnuts abound, stocks of dry seaweed lay in waiting, and a healthy fat source boosts cold weather exercise blended into a paleo-friendly seaweed trail mix.

Ingredients

Serves 8

  • 1 cup wakame seaweed, dehydrated
  • 1 cup freshly shelled walnuts (or 1 cup of walnuts, soaked for 8 hours, rinsed, and dehydrated. (This reduces the tannin content and greatly improves digestibility and flavor).
  • 1-3 tsp of turmeric powder, to taste
  • 1-3 tsp each of garlic powder and onion powder, to taste
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil

Directions

1. Mix together the spices in a small bowl.

2. On very low heat in a cast iron skillet, heat the wakame seaweed in the coconut oil.

3. Once the wakame is crispy to the bite (15 minutes or so), sprinkle the wakame with the walnuts and spice mixture.

4. Keeping the heat on low, stir the ingredients together until evenly coated, then continue to stir for about 10 minutes until all the ingredients and flavors are well blended.

5. Add more spices as needed, let cool, and enjoy a handful or two on the go!



Live Well, Live Longer.
The Paleo Team

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Industrial Meat and Soaking Nuts | The Paleo Diet

Thank you for your work and contribution to the Perfect Human Diet video. I have spent years researching nutrition and this video validated many of my findings and beliefs. I heard Dr. Sebring state that we should consume animals that have been fed a diet as close as possible to their natural diet, but then he went to a mainstream grocery to show what foods were acceptable. I realize that the video was produced to reach a mainstream audience, so I would like some clarity or your opinion on two issues. Does the industrial feeding of animals change the fat composition and make it unhealthy for us? That question stems from grass-fed advocates that claim all meat in mainstream grocery stores is unhealthy. And, do we need to soak or cook raw nuts to decrease the enzyme inhibitors before consuming them? Any info or references to info would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Pam Merritt

Dr. Cordain’s Response:

Hi Pam,

Many thanks for your kind words.  CJ Hunt did a wonderful job in producing “The Perfect Human Diet”.  Let me answer your questions:

1. Does the industrial feeding of animals change the fat composition and make it unhealthy for us? That question stems from grass-fed advocates that claim all meat in mainstream grocery stores is unhealthy.

Yes, animals confined to commercial feed lots are fed grains (corn mainly) almost exclusively to cause rapid weight gain.  Unfortunately this process yields nutritionally inferior meat with an unhealthy fat composition.  My scientific group has analyzed and compared the fat and fatty acid composition of wild game meat and contrasted it to grass produced meats and feed lot (grain produced) meats.  You can visit my website (//101diets.info/research-about-the-paleo-diet/) and download these two papers as free PDF files which report our results:

Cordain L, Eaton SB, Brand Miller J, Mann N, Hill K. The paradoxical nature of hunter-gatherer diets: Meat based, yet non-atherogenic. Eur J Clin Nutr 2002;56 (suppl 1):S42-S52
Cordain L, Watkins BA, Florant GL, Kehler M, Rogers L, Li Y. Fatty acid analysis of wild ruminant tissues: Evolutionary implications for reducing diet-related chronic disease. Eur J Clin Nutr, 2002;56:181-191.

I have also written a more extensive paper (Nutritional Differences between Grass- and Grain-Fed Beef: Health Implications) contrasting the nutritional qualities of grass versus grain produced meats, and this article is available at my website (//101diets.info/papers/) for a nominal fee.

2.   And, do we need to soak or cook raw nuts to decrease the enzyme inhibitors before consuming them? Any info or references to info would be greatly appreciated.

Compared to cereal grains and legumes, tree nuts have been poorly studied in regard to enzyme inhibitors and other antinutrients.  Consequently few or no scientific studies have examined either the content or physiological effect of tree nut antinutrients in either animals or humans.  Tree nuts are one of the more common food allergens, which is suggestive that contain a variety of compounds with the capacity to interact with the immune system.  Most people experience no health problems with nut consumption, and many studies show nuts to produce many therapeutic effects.  Peanuts are actually not nuts but legumes and should be avoided for a number of reasons that I have written about in my latest book, The Paleo Answer.  Below are a few references about compounds found in nuts that may influence health and well being.

Bolling BW, Chen CY, McKay DL, Blumberg JB. Tree nut phytochemicals: composition, antioxidant capacity, bioactivity, impact factors. A systematic review of almonds, Brazils, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. Nutr Res Rev. 2011 Dec;24(2):244-75.

Robbins KS, Shin EC, Shewfelt RL, Eitenmiller RR, Pegg RB. Update on the healthful lipid constituents of commercially important tree nuts. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Nov 23;59(22):12083-92.

Cordially,

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

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