Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Below is an article by Suzanne Robin at http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-nuts-raw-vs-roasted-3920.html
"Nuts, once shunned because of their high fat content, are now recognized as a nutritionally valuable food. The type of processing nuts undergo can affect their nutritional benefit; some alternative health professionals advocate eating nuts raw rather than cooked. Both raw and roasted nuts have benefits and drawbacks; most nuts sold as raw have actually been dried or soaked to remove harmful substances.
The nuts you buy in the store have generally been roasted, often in oil. Nuts naturally contain little sodium, but commercial manufacturers often add salt to their nuts. If you're watching your sodium intake, look for unsalted nuts. Oil-roasted nuts have more calories than raw nuts, but the difference isn't significant. The U.S. Department of Agriculture lists oil-roasted cashews as containing 580 calories per 100 grams, compared to 553 calories for raw cashews. The vitamins and minerals in the two products varied little, except for extra monounsaturated fat in the oil-roasted nuts. Monounsaturated fat is considered heart-healthy, since it helps lower cholesterol levels. PLEASE NOTE: Make sure the oil is monounsaturated, this is not always the case. Jean
Raw nuts that haven't been soaked or dried contain substances that can cause harm. Plants such as nuts contain enzymes or other substances that protect the plant from germinating too soon or from being eaten by insects. Phytic acid in raw nuts protects the plant but can block your body from absorbing nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. Soaking the nuts or drying them removes the phytic acid. Getting too much phytic acid in your diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Raw nuts can also harbor harmful bacteria. For this reason, raw almonds, which have been implicated in several salmonella outbreaks, are no longer sold in California, the main almond producer in the United States. Roasting, blanching, lightly steaming and heating destroy salmonella bacteria. Peanuts can harbor aflatoxins, harmful fungi that, like salmonella, can cause severe illness. Roasting kills about 50 percent of the aflatoxins present in nuts; hand sorting after roasting to remove discolored nuts further reduces the number of contaminated nuts that make it to market, according to the International Food Safety Network.
Roasting nuts also has its risks. Acrylamides -- chemicals that form in foods during the roasting process -- have carcinogenic effects in animals and could also have harmful human effects. In a Swiss study reported in the 2005 "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry," researchers noted that nuts highest in free asparagine, a type of amino acid, had the highest levels of acrylamides after roasting. In this study, roasted hazelnuts contained low levels of acrylamides, and European almonds contained less than almonds grown in the United States.
Our Daily Nut Cup: Nut Cup (1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds, 1 tablespoon walnuts, hazelnuts and pecans, 2 tablespoons raw almonds, and 2 Brazil nuts)
Is soaking nuts necessary?
How to soak nuts.....