Raw vs. Roasted Nuts: Which is Healthier?

Yes, nuts are good for you, but which is better, raw or roasted? Find out what you need to know.

Nuts can be a healthy snack alternative as long as the quantity eaten is limited to a handful or less to avoid calorie overload. Studies have shown that people who eat nuts regularly have fewer heart attacks which is probably due to the heart healthy monounsaturated fats. When it comes time to select nuts for snacking, not only do you  have the choice of what type of nut to buy, but also whether to enjoy them raw or roasted. Although some people have a taste preference, what about health benefits? When it comes to raw or roasted nuts, which is better?

Where Do You Find Each?

When it comes to raw or roasted nuts, both types can be found at most supermarkets. Roasted nuts are usually found in cans and bags in the snack food aisle, while raw nuts are usually stocked in the baking section or in fresh produce. Most natural food markets also carry a good supply of raw nuts. Many natural food lovers believe that raw nuts are superior when it comes to health benefits, but is this true?

What’s the Problem With Roasted?

When nuts are exposed to high heat as during the roasting process, two important things can happen that can affect the health value of the nut. Most commercially roasted nuts are heated to very high temperatures. When nuts are roasted at temperatures above 170 degrees Farenheit, the monounsaturated fats can breakdown and free radicals can form. Why is this important? Free radicals can cause damage to cells, particularly the genetic material, DNA.

The other issue that’s recently come to the forefront is acrylamide formation. Acrylamides form when foods containing the amino acid asparagine are heated to high temperatures. Acrylamides have been shown to cause cancer in animals and are believed to increase the risk of cancer in humans. When roasted nuts, particularly almonds, are tested, high levels of acrylamides have been found in many samples. Exposure to these acryalmides can be avoided by eating only raw nuts.

Are There Any Advantages to Roasted?

When it comes to raw or roasted nuts, there may still be some advantages to eating them roasted. Nuts are difficult to digest for some people and roasting may help them pass more easily through the digestive system. Many people also prefer the flavor of roasted nuts. One option for those who prefer the taste of roasted nuts, but don’t want the acrylamide exposure is to roast them at home in the oven, keeping the temperature below 170 degrees. It will take longer at such a low temperature, but the health benefits may be worth it.

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  1. wonderful article. i am following this procedure by using the grill and heating under a low flame. it’s a great substitute for unhealthy crips and chololates.

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