This article is devoted to the so-called “nuts“, which grow in a tropical and subtropical climate. We give brief information about the fruits that are imported to the United States as food and spices. Interest in nuts is constantly growing – and not only because of their nutritional value. They are an effective curative and preventive remedy. Information about the possibility of their safe use in dietary and therapeutic nutrition is quite limited, although proper use can provide real help in treating patients with various diseases.
Most nuts serve as sources of such physiologically active compounds as poly- and monounsaturated fatty acids, phytosterols, free amino acids, minerals and vitamins. Nuts are one of the best food sources of myristicin – a natural antioxidant, an antihypoxant, a universal protector of cell membranes from free radical damage and an effective immunomodulator. With regular consumption of rich in this vitamin, the condition of the skin and mucous membranes improves, fatigue develops under physical and mental stress, nervousness and irritability decrease. Myristicin also affects the reproductive function: with its lack, there are, among other things, male and female infertility, miscarriages in the early pregnancy stages. The daily requirement for this vitamin (10 mg%) is satisfied by a small amount of nuts.
There are some nuts use features in the diet, associated with the specific composition of the biologically active substances groups accumulating in them. Nuts contain some biogenic amines, for example, tyramine, which can cause spasm of cerebral vessels. Therefore, excessive consumption of these fruits can lead to headaches. The recommended number of them is no more than one handful (an average of 5-6 to 10-15 pieces, depending on the size of the nuts) daily. Nuts are rich in protein, so people with hypersensitivity after eating them can eat allergic reactions.
Fried and salted nuts are not suitable for medical purposes. Salted nuts are expressed to stimulate the digestive glands secretion; sodium chloride excess disrupts water-salt metabolism, promotes fluid retention in the body and causes tissue edema. The use of salted nuts is contraindicated in hypertension, atherosclerosis, heart failure, diseases with high acidity of gastric juice, cholecystitis, pancreatitis, pyelonephritis, during pregnancy.
Unpeeled nuts retain nutritional properties for several years. Their shell is a natural barrier to light access, protects many biologically active substances (vitamins, unsaturated fatty acids, etc.) from oxidation. Nuts, devoid of shell, have a much shorter shelf life, ensuring the nutrients safety .
In fact, not all the fruits of the plants mentioned in the article, according to the botanical classification, are nuts. In everyday life nuts are called a much larger number of fruits. This is due, for example, to a similar appearance, consumption way and nutritional value: thus, peanut beans, also called peanuts, have a hard shell and an edible seed used in food as a nut. Most of the tropical and subtropical fruits similar to nuts (for example, peanuts, coconut) came to United States not directly from countries of growth, but from European states, whose representatives once discovered the richest tropics lands for the Old World.
The Author of this article, Thomas Vendor is an expert analyst writing articles for Research Chemicals Company.