Although you might enjoy the taste of roasted nuts, raw organic nuts may be a better choice from a health standpoint.
By now, you probably realize that nuts are good for you. Yes, they’re high in calories, but they’re also loaded with monounsaturated fats which help to improve your lipid profile and decrease your risk of heart disease. You should be getting more nuts; but instead of turning to roasted nuts, as most people do, you may want to consider the health benefits of raw organic nuts.
What advantage do raw organic nuts have over roasted ones? One area of considerable concern with regard to roasted nuts is the issue of acrylamides. Acrylamides are chemicals formed when certain foods containing the amino acid asparagine are heated to a high temperature. The problem with acrylamides is they’ve been shown to cause cancer in animals and are strongly believed to be carcinogenic in humans. The majority of nuts contain enough asparagine that when roasted to high temperatures they form significant amounts of these cancer causing chemicals.
The way to avoid the formation of dangerous acrylamides is to eat raw organic nuts rather than the roasted variety. This is particularly true of almonds which generally form higher levels of acrylamides than do other roasted nuts. The hazelnut is a nut with lower levels of asparagines so it’s least likely to form high levels of acrylamides.
There’s also some question as to whether heating nuts to high temperatures alters the healthy fats that make them so beneficial for the heart. Heat has the ability to cause changes in chemical bonds which may affect structures such as fats. High heat can also increase the formation of free radicals which have negative effects on the body by damaging DNA, the genetic material. These free radicals can also cause a reaction called lipid peroxidation which can injure the walls of blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease.
Obviously, it’s healthier to eat raw organic nuts that it is to eat nuts roasted to high temperatures. If you don’t like the taste of raw nuts, oneoption is to roast your own nuts at home using lower temperatures. Acrylamide formation doesn’t begin to occur until temperatures rise above 240 degrees Farenheit and free radicals generally don’t form until temperatures go above 170 degrees Farenenheit. Roasting your nuts in an oven where the temperature is kept at around 160 degrees Farenehit will give you that roasted nut flavor without destroying the health benefits.
After an initial adjustment period, you may find you enjoy the taste of raw organic nuts over roasted ones. You can pump up the flavor by adding herbs and spices such as garlic, curry, Italian seasoning, or onion powder. Don’t forget about making your own nut butter out of raw organic nuts. These taste so much better than store bought varieties and are far healthier. Enjoy exploring the world of raw organic nuts.