Monday, April 16, 2012

A to Z Challenge - N is for Nuts

In trying to come up with something to write about for today, I was having trouble thinking of something from nature that started with the letter "n". The general term "nature" didn't prompt any wondrous words, so I said, "Nuts." As in, "Nuts, I can't come up with anything to write about."

Then I had one of those "aha" moments, so today's post is brought to you by nuts of all kinds.

A nut is a hard-shelled fruit of some plants. Did you know a nut was a fruit? According to Wikipedia, a wide variety of dried seeds and fruits are called nuts, but biologists only consider a a few of them to be true nuts. Nuts are a composite of the seed and the fruit, where the fruit does not open to release the seed.

Nuts are an important source of nutrients for both humans and wildlife, and recent studies have shown great benefits from eating nuts, especially walnuts and almonds, which can lower serum LDL cholesterol concentrations. The fat in nuts is unsaturated fat, so that is actually a good fat for people to consume.

Many nuts are also good sources of vitamins E and B2, and are rich in protein, folate, fiber, and essential minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and selenium. It is healthier to eat raw nuts because they lose the healthy oils in the roasting process.

Walnuts are the king of beneficial nuts. When eaten raw, walnuts can have as much as twice as many antioxidants as other nuts. No wonder my father lived so long and had no heart trouble. He ate lots of nuts all year long  and always preferred them raw.

Pecans
Here in Texas, we eat a lot more pecans than walnuts or almonds, although a few of the latter in a nice bowl of Blue Bell ice cream works for me. The pecan is the  only major tree nut that grows naturally in North America and is considered one of the most valuable North American nut species. I didn't know that. I just like them because they are handy. In the fall I can go to my neighbor's and pick up a handful whenever I want. In the spring I eat fresh plums off her tree. 

Do you eat a lot of nuts? What are your favorites?

5 comments:

Stephen Tremp said...

I did not know fruit was a nut. I learned something new today. I do like most kinds of nuts, raw, roasted, and salted. Raw walnuts are really good for you.

Reb Alexander said...

I wish pecans grew naturally here in the UK! We have hazels wild in the hedges and walnuts do well, but I love pecans and they are so expensive.

Maryann Miller said...

Reb, walnuts tend to be expensive here. Probably because they are not native. Which is probably why I eat a lot of pecans. (smile)

Nancy Thompson said...

I used to spend a lot of time near Chico, CA, where they grow a lot of almonds. Only they pronounce it fuuny. They say AM-unds (rhymes with salmon). Crazy, huh? I love most all nuts. Especially in candy. Yummmm!

I'm a new follower via the A to Z. Nice to meet you, Maryann!

Maryann Miller said...

Thanks for coming by and for the follow, Nancy. It is interesting the way words are pronounced differently around the country.