I used to have a nasty habit of eating exactly the same thing every single day. At about 9:05 AM, I would bust out my Ziploc bag of dry roasted, unsalted almonds, and happily crunch one by one at my desk. For about 3 years straight, there was very rarely a day that I skipped this ritual. Why should I? I was proud of my healthy, but oh-so-easy snack.
The only problem is – nuts aren't as good for my body as I'd like them to be. As protein-packed as they are, they are not something I should have been eating every single day. For one, nuts in big handfuls (as some like to eat them) can easily add up in fat and calories if you're somebody who is trying to watch your weight. But more importantly (I think), is the fact that too many nuts can really work a number on your digestion.
Nuts are high in inflammatory Omega-6 and low in anti-inflammatory Omega-3.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Omega-3 and omega-6 are known as “essential” fatty acids because the body can’t produce them itself. You want Omega-6 in your diet. But you want it to be about even with your Omega-3 intake. However, with the standard American diet, Omega-6 is available in spades (they are in our “vegetable” oils like soybean, corn, peanut, sunflower, grain-fed animal fat, and a ton of processed, packaged food); while Omega-3 is a lot harder to come by (wild fish, grassfed meats, flaxseeds, Brussels sprouts). So many of us are extremely unbalanced in this ratio, putting all of our eggs in the pro-inflammatory Omega-6 basket.
Here is a breakdown of the Omega-6 content in a handful of nuts (see what I did there?):
Walnuts – 9.5 g
Almonds – 4.36 g
Cashews – 2.6 g
Macadamias – 0.5 g
Brazil nuts – 7.2 g
Hazelnuts – 2.7 g
Pistachio – 4.1 g
Pine nuts – 11.6 g
Pecans – 5.8 g
As you can see, some of our most popular healthy nuts are very high in Omega-6.
On the other hand, the shining star of this list is surprisingly the Macadamia Nut. Funny thing is, the macadamia nut is probably the one nut I avoided the most because I had heard how terribly high it was in fat (Oh! The horror!). But it turns out, that high fat content holds numerous health-benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins.
- 100 g of macadamia provides 23% of daily-recommended levels of dietary fiber. And BONUS, the nuts carry no cholesterol.
- They're gluten-free. Whoop. Whoop.
- Excellent source of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc.
- Rich in many important B-complex vitamins that are vital for metabolic functions.
- They contain small amounts of vitamin-A, and vitamin E. Both fat-soluble vitamins that serve to protect cell membranes and DNA damage from harmful oxygen-free radicals.*
So you get the picture? Yes, nuts are good. They have a lot of benefits. And they are responsible for heavenly things like Sunflower Butter, Cashew Cream Sauce and Almond Milk Smoothies. But you really don't want to overdo them. If you're going to love on them, err more towards the ones with the lower Omega-6 levels like Macadamia Nuts, Cashews and Pistachios.
I can say from personal experience that as soon as I lowered my nut consumption to a couple times a week – and switched over to macadamias and cashews – I noticed that the scratchy swollen feeling in my throat (inflammation) that I'd always get mid-morning soon after my almond snack had disappeared. Coincidence? I don't think so. But that's just my opinion.
Enough talk. Let's eat. Here's a beautiful new recipe I like to call Lemondamia Lemondamia Mahi Mahi – so nice, I named it twice!
Lemondamia Lemondamia Mahi Mahi Recipe
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup of macadamia nuts, chopped up tiny
- 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 pieces of Mahi Mahi
- Preheat oven to broil.
- Place your Mahi filets on an oiled-up baking sheet with slots (for the broiler).
- Season the filets with S&P.
- Chop up macadamia nuts into tiny pieces (or pulse them to a course texture in your food processor). Put them in a small bowl.
- Take a grater to your lemon to collect your zest in the same bowl as the macadamia nuts.
- Mix together with a small dash of S&P.
- Rub your Mahi Mahi with coconut oil.
- Sprinkle your Lemondamia Zest on top.
- Broil in the oven for 8-10 minutes.
- Voila! You fancy, huh?