The pistachio (Pistacia vera), a member of the cashew family, is a small tree originally from Central Asia and the Middle East.Based on the research at Pennsylvania State University, it was found that pistachios significantly reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) while increasing antioxidant levels in the serum of volunteers. Preliminary studies show pistachios have antibacterial activity against the intestinal pathogens Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes.
The almond (Prunus amygdalus), is a species of tree native to the Middle East and South Asia. “Almond” is also the name of the edible and widely cultivated seed of this tree. The almond is a nutritionally dense food and is a rich source of vitamin E, containing 26 mg per 100 g. They are also rich in dietary fiber, B vitamins, essential minerals such as magnesium, copper, manganese, calcium, and potassium as well as monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats , fats which potentially may lower LDL cholesterol. Typical of nuts and seeds, almonds also contain phytosterols such as Beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, campesterol, sitostanol, and campestanol, which have been associated with cholesterol-lowering properties. Potential health benefits, which have not been scientifically validated, include improved complexion and possibly a lower risk of cancer.
The cashew (Anacardium occidentale) is served as a snack or used in recipes, like other nuts, although it is actually a seed. Originally native to northeastern Brazil, the tree is now widely grown in tropical regions, Vietnam and Nigeria being major producers.The fats and oils in cashew nuts are 54% monounsaturated fat (18:1), 18% polyunsaturated fat (18:2), and 16% saturated fat (9% palmitic acid (16:0) and 7% stearic acid (18:0). Cashews, as with other tree nuts, are a good source of antioxidants. Alkyl phenols, in particular, are abundant in cashews. Cashews are also a source of dietary trace minerals copper, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.
The most popular variety of Mixed nuts consists of Almonds, Cashews and Peanuts. Other varieties like Pistachios, Pecans, Macadamia, Brazilian nuts , Corn Kernels and Green peas can be added in tailor made offers for institutional customers. Fruits such as Raisins, Berry fruits, Cranberries can be added and offered as Fruit and nuts.
Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) seeds have long been valued as a source of the mineral zinc, and the World Health Organization recommends their consumption as a good way of obtaining this nutrient. In the case of pumpkin seeds, vitamin E is found in all of the following forms: alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol, alpha-tocomonoenol, and gamma-tocomonoenol. These last two forms have only recently been discovered in pumpkin seeds, and their health benefits—including antioxidant benefits—are a topic of current interest in vitamin E research, since their bioavailability might be greater than some of the other vitamin E forms. The bottom line: pumpkin seeds’ vitamin E content may bring us more health benefits that we would ordinarily expect due to the diverse forms of vitamin E found in this food.
The sunflower seed is the fruit of the sunflower (Helianthus annuus). The term “sunflower seed” is actually a misnomer when applied to the seed in its pericarp (hull). Botanically speaking, it is more properly referred to as an achene. When dehulled, the edible remainder is called the sunflower kernel or heart. Sweet, nutty sunflower seeds are an excellent source of essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Sunflower kernels are actually employed in the extraction of edible oil at commercial scale all over the world. Besides being eaten as popular snacks, they are also used in the kitchen to prepare variety of recipes.<