Pound for pound raw nuts are right up there with meat sources when measuring amino acid and protein levels.
Tree nuts are an amazing source of energy and fuel. Nut trees can last hundreds of years and can supply many, many pounds of food during there lifetime.
They can offer a "grounding" quality, like the trees they come from, but should be eaten in smaller quantities to avoid possible mucus building side effects.
They are acidic in nature, but when combined with raw green leafy vegetables, which are alkaline, greater balance is achieved.
Nuts and seeds provide a source of essential fatty acids and other good fats. In studies they have been shown to improve heart health, cholesterol levels, hormone function and elevate depression.
The FDA even suggests that "1.5 ounces per day of some nuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease." The key to eating nuts is a little goes along way as far as calories and nutrition. Some people, myself included, can overeat nuts for they taste too good and are easy to snack on.
But, caution, avoid the temptation! They are rich and tend to build up mucus and acidity in the system, especially if not balanced with other foods.
There are some wonderful varieties of raw nuts and seeds to choose from, below we list our favorites along with their superhealth benefits.
We love brazil's, they are one of my personal favorites. It is one of the largest and long lived trees of the Amazon, and is one of the few nuts that is commonly wild harvested, not farmed.
Brazil nuts are particularly high in selenium (up to 1180% of US RDA), which is proven to decrease risk of prostate cancer. High in good saturated fat content out of all the nuts and seeds, it surpasses even macadamia nut.
One of the earliest cultivated foods, almonds are high in calcium and are rich in a variety of other vitamins including magnesium.
Almonds, because of their high fibrous and alkaline nature, are great for colon health. They are one of the best nuts for lowering cholesterol, coming in at 70% monounsaturated fat.
Native to the Middle East, this flavorful, sweet, green nut has a high fiber content and is an excellent source of plant based protein.
They contain the antioxidant phenolic compounds, carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, and phytosterols all which help to balance cholesterol and protect the body against disease.
Once used extensively by the native American populations, this wild pine tree nut is a sweet, savory delicacy to most any salad or raw food meal when a rich flavor is desired.
Pine nuts are also great for cardiovascular health, their oleic adic eliminates triglicerides. Pine nuts also contain pinolenic acid, a polyunsaturated fat that encourages two hormones which help to satisfy hunger.
It's genus name figuratively means "a nut fit for a god". It contains a rich amount of Omega 3 fatty acids with high concentrations of DHA, which nourishes the brain.
Walnuts also contain lecithin which further supports brain neurotransmitters, like choline.
Walnuts have high levels of the antioxidant compound, ellagic acid, noted for it's immune protection and support. In recent studies walnuts have been shown to contain 16 polyphenols with 3 tannins that maintain even greater antioxidant activity.
These have a tasty flavor and crunchiness. They are very similar to a walnut and have a rich supply of linoleic and oleic acid, also found in olive oil, that has been found to be great for breast health in women.
The pecan has been measured to maintain an average protein content of 18% and is also great source of unsaturated fats.
Hazelnuts are a great source of good fats, 60-70%, vitamin E and oleic and linoleic acids, which have an important role for the growth and healthy development of organisms.
It is one of the best known foods for Vitamin E supply. Hazelnuts contain significant amounts of thiamine and vitamin B6, as well as smaller amounts of other B vitamins.
These are a delicious, sweet, and soft nut often used to make raw nut ice creams and desserts.
Also it's sweet, creamy texture makes a great nut milk and is a close substitute in taste for cow's milk for those who are transitioning.
Cashews also maintain heart health at 65% unsaturated fat and contain 90% oleic acid levels.
A super tasty nut that grows in tropical climates such as Hawaii where commercial production is well established. It is one of the highest in monounsaturated fatty acids and one of the only foods containing palmitoleic acid, which is known to speed up fat metabolism.
Macadamia has one of the hardest shells known in the nut kingdom. Usually you need a special nut cracker to open them.
For long term storage purposes we recommend you keep your nuts shelled to preserve their nutrient content.
One of the best seeds for making fermented seed cheeses and other raw food dishes. It is a great choice for those with candida for sunflower seeds are alkaline in nature. They are an excellent source of Vit E, 1/4 cup contains 90% of daily value.
Sunflower seeds are rich in phytosterols and are up there with pistachios as one of the highest in this cholesterol lowering compound.
Linoleic essential fatty acid, selenium, and magnesium are also found in considerable proportions, which help to relax nerves, inhibit cancer cells and promote DNA repair.
Well known for there high Zinc levels which help to support prostate health, they are also shown to increase bone mineral density and contain both the fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6.
Used by native American tribes to eliminate parasites, pumpkins seeds are also an excellent source of L-tryptophan, which helps brain function and those prone to depression.
They can be used in conjunction with sunflower seeds in many healthy recipes and are also and alkaline dominant food.
The hemp plant, Cannibis sativa L., is more fibrous and seedy than its THC potent cousin. The popular phrase about hemp seeds is that "you can't get high on the seeds, you only get healthy."
Hemp seeds have the highest percentage of the high quality edestin and albumin protein of any plant based source.
Unhulled sesame holds a rich supply of magnesium, copper and calcium (90 mg per tablespoon).
They include fibrous lignan with the substances sesamin and sesamolin, helping to lower cholesterol levels and protect liver damage.
There are many wonderful uses for this seed, from dehydrated Parmesan cheese to raw tahini halvah.
Chia seeds are similar to flax seed in it's ability to absorb water and form a gelatinous consistency.
Chia seed is a great source of essential fatty acids and is particularly high in boron, which helps in the assimilation of calcium. It is slightly easier to digest than flax seed because of it's size and is nice at thickening raw desserts, smoothies or raw soups.
The Aztec and Indians of southwest Mexico appreciated it as a staple food of their diet. Often referred to as the "running food" for its life giving effects on endurance and energy levels. (See our chia porridge recipe and our carob coconut cream pie using chia seed.)
Flax seeds are an amazing fibrous seed that helps to cleanse the colon and aid constipation. When soaked, flax maintains a mucilaginous consistency, much like chia seed, as mentioned above.
Flax oils are extremely sensitive to heat and become rancid quickly. It is best to freshly grind flax into food to retain it's nutrition and make it easier to digest.
Flax has a tendency to stimulate estrogen in the body, which can be helpful for some women. It is an excellent source of essential fatty acids with a balanced ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
Always soak your nuts and seeds in water and strain before use. This kills the enzyme inhibitors present in them.
Some nuts and seeds such as: macadamia, brazil nut, cashew, hemp seed and pine nut do not need to be soaked because of their high fat content.
Also flax and chia seeds are often ground fresh or soaked to expand and increase digestibility.
We love to use nut and seeds in many delicious vegan recipes that can substitute meat in many meals.
This pic on the right is an amazing raw chili that Ken made using walnuts as a base with mushrooms. It was "meaty", savory and even better than meat and bean chili.
The recipe list is really endless as most traditional dishes can actually be made with raw food substitutes, nuts and seeds replacing protein, fat or starch based foods.