A Handful of Nuts

Nuts are regarded as one of the healthiest foods on the planet. They appear in the vast majority of healthy food lists, often being recommended to help weight loss. However, they aren’t a daily feature of my ketogenic diet, despite their high fat content.

Almonds, cashews, macadamias, hazelnuts, I love the taste of them all. I used to eat whole bags of them without really thinking twice about it. It was only after doing further research that I discovered that consuming this amount probably wasn’t the best idea.

img_5455As I follow a ketogenic, paleo diet, I avoid certain foods to limit the amount of toxins in my body. Take beans and legumes for example, they contain a toxin called phytic acid which is difficult for humans to digest and which binds to minerals in our food, preventing absorption1. However, I was blissfully unaware that raw nuts also contain considerable amounts of phytic acid, not to mention the high levels of inflammatory omega 6 fats. So although I was ingesting beneficial properties such as zinc and magnesium from my bag of cashews, I wasn’t digesting nearly enough to make it worthwhile.  Also, the excess carbs weren’t doing my waistline any favours.

But, these are steps you can follow if and when you eat nuts:

  • Choose organic.
  • Soak, sprout, dehydrate.

It has been suggested that soaking and then dehydrating nuts at a very low temperature is likely to reduce the amount of phytic acid2.

  • Eat in moderation.

This is not a saying I apply to all aspects of my diet. But, when it comes to nuts, I enjoy having a handful, or a spoonful of homemade nut butter from time to time. In fact, when travelling a handful of raw nuts might be the best choice of food.

  • Take Activated Charcoal.

From personal experience, I have noticed that supplementing with Activated Charcoal when consuming nuts makes me feel less bloated and prone to headaches. Despite not finding a study which addresses this, my theory is that if Activated Charcoal binds to toxins in the body and phytic acid is a toxin,  then surely this is an effective solution.

As I am recovering from malabsorption, I eat fewer nuts than would be acceptable for someone of optimal health; I don’t want to be robbed of even more nutrients! But, in the balance of a nutritious, relatively phytate-free diet, I don’t think eating nuts here and there will be detrimental to health. So if you fancy some, enjoy them!

I would be interested to hear about your nut-munching habits, so feel free to leave a comment!

Can you really eat just one spoon of nut butter and then put the jar away?

Don’t lie.





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