If you love nuts and you love Ayurveda like I do, you want to understand the Ayurvedic perspective on nut consumption. So here it is!
- Nuts are a great source of protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins, particularly for vegetarians.
- Nuts are mainly unsaturated fats, which are essential to the proper operation of the body’s nervous system. According to a CNN post, “the fat, along with protein, is satiating and helps slow rises in blood sugar. That can prevent cravings for sweets and other carbohydrate-rich foods. In fact, research suggests that nuts may help with appetite control, which can prevent weight gain or even help with weight loss.”
- Nuts are tonic, nutritive, strengthening and rejuvenative. They help increase fat, marrow and nerve tissue and reproductive tissue, as well as helping build blood and muscles. They help build vitality (ojas) in the body and are therefore considered Sattvic.
- The phytochemicals found in tree nuts have been found to be bioaccessible and bioavailable in humans and have been associated with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, antiviral, chemopreventive and hypocholesterolaemic actions, all of which are known to affect the initiation and progression of several pathogenic processes. Tree nuts include almonds, Brazilian nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamians, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts.
- The downside is that nuts tend to be high in calories, heavy, oily and hard to digest. Therefore, they should only be eaten in moderation, particularly for Pittas and Kaphas.
NUTS FOR EACH DOSHA
In general, nuts are considered Sweet and Astringent. The Sweet taste is best for Vatas and Pittas, and the Astringent taste is best for Pittas and Kaphas. Typically, they are also heating, which is best for Vatas and Kaphas.
Vatas benefit the most from them due to their high fat content. Almonds are the absolute best. All nuts for Vatas should be lightly roasted. Dry roasting should be avoided as Vatas are already dry enough. Salted nuts are fine, nut butters, except for peanut butter, are highly recommended. Pittas do best with coconut and small amounts of pine nuts. They can do just fine with almonds in moderation if the nuts have been blanched and soaked first to remove the skins, which tend to be more heating. Ten almonds per day should suffice for Pittas. Kaphas should have no more than 5 almonds per day and typically do better with walnuts as they are the most astringent of the nuts. Anyone who is on a diet to reduce ama and/or lose weight should avoid nuts or eat them only in small quantities. Seeds are often better recommendations for Pittas and Kaphas, particularly sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Peanuts are rarely recommended for anyone because they are considered tamasic, which means they are difficult to digest and can lead to digestive sluggishness and lethargy; for many, the mold leads to food allergies.
Nuts can be consumed in flours, milk, nut butters, pastes and even massage oils. Roasting nuts typically makes them easier to digest. As a snack, consuming a small handful with raisins creates a more balanced and easier to digest option that is both nutritious and energizing. Here are a few recipes demonstrating proper preparation techniques and ways to include this vital food source in your diet plan.
The sole purpose of this article is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have an acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or email Karen Callahan at firstname.lastname@example.org.