The history of the peanut

Despite what the name might suggest, the humble peanut is actually not a true nut. On the contrary it belongs to the legume family, which includes peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas. With no real fossil records to speak of, peanuts probably have their origins in South America, in Peru or in Brazil, where they existed for thousands of years.

Subsequently, Spanish and Portuguese explorers discovered them and brought them over with their excursions into the New World, which lead them to Africa. The journey of the peanut continued until it finally found its way into North America, through African traders. Peanuts can be enjoyed in a wide number of ways – they can be eaten plain, added as a garnish, sprinkled as flakes, used as a cooking oil, or spread as a tasty (and popular) butter. However, this variety in consumption is only part of a much bigger reason why everyone should include peanuts in their diet.
 

Top reasons to eat peanuts
 

  • Peanuts contain a lot of protein, which serves as a vital nutrient for the growth and maintenance of overall muscle and body organs such as the skin and hair.
     

  • They serve as a protective function against cancers, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer's disease, and viral/fungal infections.
     

  • They are rich in monounsaturated fats, the type of fat that reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels and thereby reduces the risk of coronary heart diseases.
     

  • Peanuts also contain high amounts of niacin, which is used to convert starch that can be stored in muscles and liver for eventual use as an energy source.
     

Nutritional composition

Peanuts are a significant source of protein, manganese and niacin. They contain large portions of glutamic acid and monounsaturated fats. Peanuts also feature an array of other nutrients such as Vitamin E, folates and other minerals. It is because of these reasons they make a tasty snack and should be included as part of a balanced diet. Its nutritional composition includes:
 

Proteins: Proteins are commonly known as the building blocks of the human body and are widely considered to be the best-recognized nutrient in terms of its health importance.
 

Manganese: While manganese is not usually first thought of as a dietary mineral, it is nevertheless an important mineral that aids in skin integrity and blood sugar control.
 

Niacin: Niacin is a complex B Vitamin that has an important role in energy production through the synthesis of food and also aids in antioxidant protection by quenching free radicals, which protects the human body against excessive tissue damage.

The history of the almond

The almond has historically always been a nutritious food. Almonds take their roots originally from central and southwest Asia, and were a staple part of the diet of nomadic tribes, since they helped sustain their long journeys. These explorers ate almonds while traveling the Silk Road between Asia and the Mediterranean. Before long, almond trees flourished in the Mediterranean and are now grown in many of the countries that border the Mediterranean Sea including Portugal, Morocco, Spain, and California.
 

Top reasons why you should eat almonds
 

  • Almonds are incredibly effective for weight loss, since they help with providing that satisfied feeling everyone wants after a meal or snack. It also provides plentiful nutrients per calorie.
     

  • They help in the development and health of the human brain.
     

  • Almond oil, when applied regularly can protect the skin from dryness.
     

  • Assist with blood sugar control.
     

  • Almonds can help reduce the risk of gallstones in both genders.
     

  • Lower risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease.
     

Nutritional composition

Almonds are among the richest sources of health-benefiting nutrients. They contain large portions of carbohydrates, Vitamin E, manganese, riboflavin (Vitamin B2) and magnesium. Moreover, they contain high quantities of monounsaturated fat (which is beneficial for the heart). Because of these reasons, almonds pack a serious nutritional punch. Its nutritional composition includes:
 

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel. They are required for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles (including the heart) to function properly.
 

Vitamin E: A vitamin that serves many biological functions, the most important of which is the role of an antioxidant, which helps to slow down processes that damage cells.

Magnesium: Magnesium is a valuable mineral that is required for energy production. It also contributes to the structural development of bones and aids blood pressure regulation.
 

Manganese: While manganese is not usually first thought of as a dietary mineral, it is nevertheless an important mineral that aids in skin integrity and blood sugar control.

The history of the pistachio

The origin of the pistachio has a long and interesting history. The pistachio is native to the Middle East and they have been grown in this region for thousands of years. In Persia (modern day Iran), pistachio trade and ownership of pistachio groves meant riches and high status. The pistachio nut had this luxurious status symbol attached for a peculiar reason. According to legend, the Queen of Sheba decreed pistachios an exclusively royal food, going so far as to forbid commoners from growing the nut for personal use! However, the pistachio is not a nut. It is in fact, a desert plant. It is commonly known as a nut because they look like nuts and are a part of the cashew family.
 

Top reasons to eat pistachios
 

  • Pistachios are the ideal post-exercise snack for fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike because they have protein, healthy fats and antioxidants and provide a satisfying source of energy.
     

  • One of the other health benefits of pistachios is that they are a good source of dietary fiber, which helps in the smooth digestion of food.
     

  • Pistachios contain an array of nutrients that contribute to heart health.
     

  • They are also the first choice for people who are dieting.
     

  • The fiber content of pistachios make them more filling, helping you to eat fewer calories later in the day.
     

  • Pistachio oil extracted from kernels is one of the healthiest cooking oils.
     

Nutritional composition

Pistachios are one of the few delicious tree nuts that contain most of the nutrients that are required by humans for complete wellbeing. Pistachios are rich in phosphorus, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E. Pistachios also contain fewer calories and provide more potassium than other nuts. Just a handful of pistachios provide many essential vitamins and minerals, protein and fiber, and monounsaturated fats. Its nutritional composition includes:
 

Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 plays an important role in converting food into energy and helping the body metabolize fats and proteins.
 

Potassium: Potassium is a vital mineral for the human body that plays a key role in skeletal and smooth muscle contraction, making it important for normal digestive and muscular function.
 

Phosphorus: Phosphorus is a mineral that makes up 1% of a person's total body weight. The main function of phosphorus is in the formation of bones and teeth.

The history of the cashew

The cashew nut, like most other nuts has a variety of culinary uses, but is in fact a seed. The cashew tree belongs to the same family as the pistachio and is a fast-growing, evergreen perennial. It loves the tropics and in tropical heat can grow to heights of forty or fifty feet. It is because of this reason that the cashew tree flourishes in countries like Peru and Brazil. Native to the latter, the cashew plant made its way to India in the sixteenth century via Portuguese sailors. Today, the leading commercial producers of cashews are India, Brazil, Mozambique, Tanzania and Nigeria.
 

Top reasons to eat cashews
 

  • Cashew nuts help keep blood pressure under check as they are low in sodium and high in potassium.
     

  • Cashew nuts are a good alternative for those seeking to lose weight, as it has zero percent cholesterol content.
     

  • If you’ve always wished for black hair, cashews which are full of copper, can help.
     

  • Cashew nuts bond with iron, to increase immunity.
     

  • Cashew nuts help in growth and development, DNA synthesis and digestion.
     

Nutritional composition

Cashew nuts have gained popularity in North America and Europe not only for their flavor but for their inherent health benefits too. They are an excellent source of copper, and a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, manganese and zinc. Its nutritional composition includes:
 

Copper: Copper is essential for all living things. Virtually every cell in the body utilizes copper and, together with iron and zinc, makes up the trio of minerals essential to our well-being. Without it, our nervous and cardiovascular systems would not function normally.
 

Zinc: Zinc is an important trace mineral that people need to stay healthy. This element is second only to iron in its concentration in the body. It plays a role in cell division, cell growth, wound healing, and the breakdown of carbohydrates.
 

Magnesium: Magnesium is a valuable mineral that is required for energy production. It also contributes to the structural development of bones and aids blood pressure regulation.

The history of pumpkin seeds

‘Pepita’, is a Spanish culinary term for the edible kernels of the pumpkin fruit. Early Native American farmers consumed pumpkin seeds and used them for medicinal purposes too. It is said that Columbus carried pumpkin seeds back with him to Europe. While there, they were used to feed farm animals as the seeds were not considered edible at the time. Today however, pumpkin seeds are tiny nutritional powerhouses.
 

Top reasons to eat pumpkin seeds
 

  • They help in developing the body’s immune system.
     

  • A good portion of pumpkin seeds aid cell growth and division.
     

  • Pumpkin seeds can positively affect your mood according to independent researchers.
     

  • Enrich your senses of taste and smell.
     

  • Boost eye and skin health.
     

  • Help insulin regulation.
     

  • Pumpkin seeds provide benefits for heart and liver health, particularly when mixed with flax seeds because they are rich in healthy fats, antioxidants and fibers.
     

  • Eating pumpkin seeds a few hours before bed, along with some carbohydrates (a small piece of fruit) can promote a good night’s sleep. This is because it provides your body with the tryptophan needed for your melatonin and serotonin levels.
     

Nutritional composition

The versatile pumpkin fruit has flowers, seeds and flesh that are edible and nutrient rich. Pumpkin seeds are high in calories (about 559 calories per 100 g.) In addition, they are packed with fiber and numerous antioxidants. Furthermore, the seeds have many health-benefiting vitamins and minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc, as well as essential amino-acids such as tryptophan and glutamate. Its nutritional composition includes:
 

Magnesium: Magnesium is a valuable mineral that is required for energy production. It also contributes to the structural development of bones and aids blood pressure regulation.
 

Manganese: While manganese is not usually first thought of as a dietary mineral, it is nevertheless an important mineral that aids in skin integrity and blood sugar control.
 

Phosphorus: Phosphorus is a mineral that makes up 1% of a person's total body weight. The main function of phosphorus is in the formation of bones and teeth.

The history of sunflower seeds

The universal sunflower plant is native to North American soil. The yellow flowers produce small edible seeds which are gray or greenly colored and are found naturally in dark green, gray, or black shells called ‘husks’. Sunflowers grew in abundance all across North America, and from the Paleo-Indian time on, different groups of people used to consume these seeds, for their high fat content. Many years on, sunflower seeds – easy to crack open and eat between meals without ruining your appetite – are a much healthier snacking option. In the early days, the seed oil was used to lubricate hair and skin. Today, sunflower seeds are sourced to extract edible oil on a commercially global scale.
 

Top reasons to eat sunflower seeds
 

  • They help reduce the severity of asthma.
     

  • Help lower high blood pressure.
     

  • Prevent migraines.
     

  • Reduce the risks of heart attack and stroke.
     

  • Reduce blood levels of cholesterol.
     

  • Enhance immunity.
     

  • Decrease risk of certain cancers.
     

  • Sunflower seeds also offer health benefits due to their Vitamin B-1, or thiamine, content. Thiamine activates enzymes within your cells, helping to drive chemical reactions your cells need to function.
     

Nutritional composition

Sunflower seeds, like nearly all types of nuts and seeds, provide a healthy source of essential fatty acids; in the form of linoleic acid. Additionally, sunflower seeds are also an excellent source of fiber, amino acids (especially tryptophan) which make up the building blocks of proteins, B Vitamins (like thiamine, phosphorus, selenium) and are enriched with Vitamin E and copper. Its nutritional composition includes:
 

Vitamin E: A vitamin that serves many biological functions, the most important of which is the role of an antioxidant, which helps to slow down processes that damage cells.
 

Phosphorus: Phosphorus is a mineral that makes up 1% of a person's total body weight. The main function of phosphorus is in the formation of bones and teeth.
 

Copper: Copper is essential for all living things. Virtually every cell in the body utilizes copper and, together with iron and zinc, makes up the trio of minerals essential to our well-being. Without it, our nervous and cardiovascular systems would not function normally.

History of Hazelnut

Hazelnuts have been consumed by humans since prehistoric times. Evidence of the cultivation of hazelnuts exists in excavations sites in China that date back over 5,000 years ago. An ancient manuscript also listed hazelnuts as one of China’s five sacred foods. Archaeologists have found large quantities of hazelnut shells in Mesolithic and Neolithic sites in what is now Sweden, Denmark, and Germany. The Mesolithic era, or Middle Stone Age, dates back around 10,000 years ago until the Neolithic period, which started 7,000 years ago. Hazelnuts were a large part of the prehistoric hunter and gatherer’s diet, and the nuts probably provided them with enough nutrition to sustain them between hunting seasons.

The hazel tree is very sturdy and can flourish in drought-susceptible to cold environments. It can be grown in a wide range of USDA plant hardiness zones, from four through eight. It was one of the first shrub-like trees to spread north after the last glacial period in Europe ended 7,000 years ago. Hazelnut trees have long dominated the British Isles and parts of Scandinavia.

The Reasons to Eat Hazelnut

  • Hazelnuts contain heart-healthy fats that can help protect our heart.
  • Specifically, they are high in healthy polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats and low in unhealthier unsaturated fats.
  • They are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic as well as essential fatty acid, linoleic acid that helps lower LDL or bad cholesterol and raises HDL or good cholesterol.
  • Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet plentiful in monounsaturated fatty acids contribute to preventing coronary artery disease, and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
  • Besides being rich in folates, they packed with many other important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6).

Nutritional composition of Hazelnut

Hazelnuts are very high in energy and loaded with many health-benefiting nutrients that are essential for optimum health. 100g nuts carry 628 calories.

Hazelnuts have a high amount of vitamin E in addition to B vitamins, including folate. Vitamin E is important in maintaining healthy skin, hair and nails. The B vitamins are important in proper cell and energy metabolism. Hazelnuts are also a rich source of potassium, calcium and magnesium. The minerals provide many health benefits, including regulating a healthy blood pressure.

  • Dietary Fiber: The nuts are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals and packed with numerous health promoting phytochemicals. Altogether, they help protect from diseases and cancers.
  • Vitamin-E: Hazelnuts are an excellent source of vitamin-E; contain about 15 g per 100g (providing 100% of RDA). Vitamin-E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant required for maintaining the integrity of mucosa and skin by protecting it from harmful "free oxygen radicals".
  • Folate (folic acid and vitamin B9): Hazels are exceptionally rich in folate, which is a unique feature for the nuts. 100g fresh nuts carry 113µg; that is, about 28% recommended the daily intake of this vitamin. Folate is an essential B-complex vitamin that helps prevent megaloblastic anemia, and most importantly, neural tube defects in the newborn. Good news for the expectant mothers!
  • Minerals: They are rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. Copper and manganese are essential co-factors for antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron helps prevent microcytic-anemia. Magnesium and phosphorus are vital components of bone metabolism.

History of Walnut

Walnuts have a rich history dating back thousands of years. Walnuts are the oldest tree food known to man, dating back to 7000 B.C. The Romans called walnuts Juglans regia, “Jupiter’s royal acorn.” Early history indicates that English walnuts came from ancient Persia, where they were reserved for royalty. Thus, the walnut is often known as the “Persian Walnut.” Walnuts were traded along the Silk Road route between Asia and the Middle East. Caravans carried walnuts to far off lands and eventually through sea trade, spreading the popularity of the walnut around the world. English merchant marines transported the product for trade to ports around the world and they became known as “English Walnuts.” England, in fact, never grew walnuts commercially. The outer shell provided a natural protective layer helping to maintain the quality of the nut. Today the nut trade continues to be a well-established, ordered, and structured business.

The Reasons to eat Walnut

  • Walnuts are rich in omega-3 and are an ample source of monounsaturated fatty acids (72%) like oleic acid. It also contains EFAs like linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and arachidonic acids. Scientific studies prove that the inclusion of walnuts in any diet helps prevent coronary heart diseases by favoring a healthy lipid supply.
  • EFAs from walnuts secure the bone health of the body. These increase calcium absorption and deposition, while reducing urinary calcium excretion.
  • One of the health benefits of consuming walnuts is that it improves the body metabolism. They, along with EFAs, provide minerals like manganese, copper, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium to the body. These minerals help contribute to metabolic activities like growth and development, sperm generation, digestion, and nucleic acid synthesis.
  • People suffering from diabetes can have walnuts on a regular basis without any significant weight gain, since they contain a high amount of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
  • Some of the components present in walnuts have the capability of controlling the growth of cancer cells in the body. The phenolic compounds and antioxidants found in them recorded a control on human cancer cells.
  • The polyphenolic compounds and phytochemical substances found in walnuts reduce the effects of inflammation in the body.

Nutritional composition of walnut

Walnuts are a rich source of energy and hold many health-benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for wellbeing.

Additionally, they are a rich source of many phytochemical substances that may contribute to their overall antioxidant activity, including melatonin, ellagic acid, vitamin-E, carotenoids, and polyphenolic compounds. These compounds are known to have potential health effects against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.

  • Omega 3: They are a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids (about 72%) like oleic acid and an excellent source of all-important omega-3 essential fatty acids such as linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and arachidonic acids. Regular consumption of walnuts in the diet, therefore, may help in lowering total as well as LDL or "bad cholesterol" and increases HDL or "good cholesterol" levels in the blood. Research studies suggest that the Mediterranean diet which is rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, and omega-3 fatty acids may help cut-down chances of coronary artery disease, and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
  • Vitamin-E:Further, they are an excellent source of vitamin-E, especially rich in γ -tocopherol; carry about 21g per 100g (about 140% of daily required levels). Vitamin-E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant essential for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucosa and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-induced free radicals.
  • Vitamin B6: This vitamin may strengthen the immune system and support nerve health. A vitamin B6 deficiency may cause anemia
  • Minerals: They also very are a rich source of minerals such as manganese, copper, potassium, calcium, iron.

The Reasons to eat Fruits

  • Fruit has been recognized as a good source of vitamins and minerals, and for their role in preventing vitamin C and vitamin A deficiencies.
  • People who eat fruit as part of an overall healthy diet generally have a reduced risk of chronic diseases.
  • Fruit are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, fiber, vitamin C and folate (folic acid).
  • Blueberries, citrus fruit, cranberries or strawberries which contain phytochemicals that are being studied for added health benefits.

Nutritional composition of Fruits

The nutrients in fruit are vital for health and maintenance of your body.

Potassium: The potassium in fruit can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Potassium may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss as you age.

Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant and those in the first trimester of pregnancy need adequate folate. Folate helps prevent neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida.

1. Apples

  • Apples are among the most popular fruits, and also happen to be incredibly nutritious.
  • They contain a high amount of fiber, vitamin C, potassium and vitamin K. They also provide some B vitamins
  • Studies suggest that the antioxidants in apples can promote heart health and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s
  • The antioxidant activity in apples has also been linked with increased bone density in animal and test-tube studies
  • Another notable health benefit of apples is their pectin content.
  • Pectin is a prebiotic fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your gut and helps improve digestion and metabolic health

2. Pineapple

  • Among the tropical fruits, pineapple is a nutrition superstar. One cup (237ml) of pineapple provides 131% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C and 76% of the RDI for manganese
  • Pineapple also contains bromelain, a mixture of enzymes known for its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to digest protein
  • Test-tube and animal studies suggest that bromelain may help protect against cancer and tumor growth

3. Strawberries

  • Strawberries are highly nutritious.
  • Their vitamin C, manganese, folate and potassium contents are where they really shine
  • Compared to other fruits, strawberries have a relatively low glycemic index. Eating them shouldn’t cause a big blood sugar spike
  • Similar to other berries, strawberries have a high antioxidant capacity, which may reduce your risk of chronic disease
  • Animal and test-tube studies have found that strawberries may also help prevent cancer and tumor formation

4. Blueberries

  • Blueberries have powerful health benefits.
  • They have an impressive nutrition profile, being particularly high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese
  • Blueberries are also exceptionally high in antioxidants.
  • In fact, they are believed to contain the highest antioxidant content of the most commonly consumed fruits
  • The antioxidants in blueberries may reduce the risk of chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s
  • Blueberries are also known for their powerful effects on the immune system.
  • One study found that eating blueberries regularly may increase natural killer cells in the body. These helps defend you against oxidative stress and viral infections
  • Additionally, the antioxidants in blueberries may have a protective effect on your brain. For example, eating blueberries has been shown to improve memory in older adults

5. Kiwi

With more vitamin C than oranges, kiwis can help in the development and maintenance of bones, cartilage, teeth and gums. They can also help lower blood triglyceride levels (high triglycerides increase the risk of heart disease).

6. Peach

The antioxidant vitamin C, when eaten in its natural form (in whole foods such as peaches) or applied topically, can reduce wrinkles, improve overall skin texture and help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution