Our food habits can play a huge role in our longevity, physical and mental health and immunity. Eating a balanced diet with essential nutrients is necessary for living a disease-free and quality life. Nuts and seeds can be healthy addition to our daily diet as these tiny superfoods can pack a powerful punch. Rich in fibre, protein and micronutrients, nuts and seeds can curb cravings, promote satiety, and promote weight loss. Besides, they also prevent many chronic diseases due to their amazing antioxidant profile and anti-inflammatory properties. While almonds are heart-healthy, walnuts are great for brain health. Both of these superfoods are widely recommended by nutritionists, but is one healthier than the other? Let’s understand benefits of both almonds and walnuts. (Also read: Almonds to walnuts; Ayurveda tips to consume dry fruits the right way)
“Soaked almonds and soaked walnuts are two popular nuts known for their nutritional and health benefits. Both of these nuts provide a wide range of essential nutrients like protein, fibre, fat, minerals etc. hence they can be valuable addition to a balanced diet. To enhance their benefits, both nuts have to be soaked prior to consumption for minimum of 6-8 hours at the room temperature in the night and ideally can be consumed right after having a glass of water in the morning. By soaking both the nuts and peeling out the skin of almonds prior to consumption has two major advantages that is, it helps in better digestibility and also reduces anti nutrient activity leading to better nutrient absorption. As nuts are calorie dense, it is necessary to remember to maintain the portion control always,” says Vyuhitha Motupalli, Executive Nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Electronic City Unit, Bengaluru.
Why soaking dry fruits are important
“Soaked almonds and walnuts are healthier than having them raw, because the process of soaking makes them more digestible and more easily absorbed in the body. So, all the nutrients and vitamins that they have, almost doubled up in the bio availability of those vitamins, when they are consumed soaked. Soaked almonds and walnut are both great choices of food and most ideal to consume early morning or the first thing when you wake up,” says Preety Tyagi, Health Coach, Founder of MY22BMI.
Benefits of soaked almonds
Vyuhitha Motupalli shares benefits of soaked almonds:
Rich in Vitamin E: Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, which acts as a powerful antioxidant. It helps protect cells from oxidative damage and supports skin health.
Heart health: Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, which are heart-healthy fats. They can help lower bad cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease and blood pressure regulation
Bone health: Almonds are a good source of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones.
Weight management: Almonds are relatively low in carbohydrates and high in fibre and protein, making them a satisfying snack that can help with weight management.
Blood sugar control: Some studies suggest that almonds may help improve blood sugar control in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Benefits of soaked walnuts
Omega-3 fatty acids: Walnuts are one of the best plant-based sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties, hence they help to maintain immune function and reduce inflammation in the body
Brain health: The Omega-3s in walnuts may support brain function and improve cognitive function in children and helps reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases in adults and elderly.
Antioxidants: Walnuts contain antioxidants, such as ellagic acid and polyphenols, which can help to protect cells from oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Weight management: Similar to almonds, walnuts are also rich in fibre and protein, which can help control appetite and support weight loss.
Improved mood: Some research suggests that the Omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts have a positive impact on mood and may help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Women right after delivery can include them in their lactation diet which can help them to avoid postnatal depression.
“Almonds are a great source of Vitamin E, which is an essential vitamin for having a better skin, eyes, nails. It’s great for having a better digestion and promotes healthy life. Almonds are also a great source of protein and is an excellent choice for people opting for healthy plant-based protein options. Just like almonds, walnuts are also very rich source of Vitamin E and protein. It is an extremely rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids which enhances your brain health, memory and concentration. It’s also great for your heart health as it helps in lowering cholesterol levels. Especially when consumed soaked every morning,” says Preety Tyagi.
Both the nuts are excellent sources of protein, a good alternative for vegans and vegetarians to include in the diet to meet their daily protein requirements.
Both soaked almonds and soaked walnuts offer numerous health benefits, both the nuts can be included as part of a balanced diet for overall health and especially during pregnancy, but if there are any specific health concerns or dietary restrictions, it is good to consult with a nutritionist for personalized advice.