Are Nuts Healthy?

I hear this question often and the answer is different for everyone.  It's like caffeine or coconut oil or {fill in the blank}.  

The question you should ask yourself is "how do I feel after I eat X"?  

Do you experience:

- mucous drainage / clear your throat for an hour or two after eating

- watery eyes

- stomach discomfort

- scratchy throat

The next day:

- achy joints

- skin irritations

- feel "fluffy"

I'm not a huge fan of allergy tests, but I am an advocate of teaching women how to pay attention to *any* changes to how they are feeling after eating.  

These *changes* are the immune system telling you there's an issue.  For me, almonds.  Ugh.  After adding almond milk to my morning shake for about a month I realized the dry skin on my eyelids was sadly the milk and sporatic handful of raw almonds I'd munch on.  I stopped almonds immediately and my eyes cleared up within two days.  

Abby was recently having issues with her chin breaking out.  I told her to start with eliminating eggs, but only a few days of cutting out almond milk and her chin cleared up.  Bummer.  

When the immune system reacts to food, the signals it sends start as a whisper (like the above symptoms) and eventually begins to scream at us (autoimmunity).  This immune response can also trigger systemic inflammation and weight gain which can affect energy, sleep and mood. 

So, raw nuts are healthy for many people, however some, like my other girl, McKenna are anaphylactic and others can be on the spectrum in between.  I recommend keeping a food log for a week with as much information on energy, mood and symptoms as possible.  After a week you may be able to look back and pinpoint a few things to experiment with taking out of your diet and see how your body responds.  

Anyway, a few reminders about nuts - 

Avoid dry-roasted, salted, flavored or honey-roasted nuts, which come with extra salt and often sugar too. 

Plain, raw nuts are healthier, but they don’t have to be boring. Dry roasting nuts in the oven gives them a stronger flavor – particularly for almonds, hazelnuts and pecans. Try adding spices like paprika or cayenne pepper. For a sweeter flavor, try cinnamon or vanilla extract.

If you love your nut butter - watch for added oils, sugars, or anything else—the nutrition label should mention just one ingredient. Look for a store that grinds the nuts into butter right there, so they’re fresh and not subjected to industrial processing, which can damage their fragile fatty acids. 

Missy Bane