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Nuts And Seeds – The debate simplified

Whats your nut intake like??

Nuts have lectins, they contain anti-nutrients similar to grains and beans.  However, I like that eating nuts and seeds add fat and protein while avoiding sugar for snacks in our house.  Since we don’t have gastro issues when consuming them, we’ve determined they’re OK for us.   However, in order to avoid a saturation of Omega 6 without enough balance of Omega 3s, I choose to balance it out by eating seafood several times a week, snacking on roasted seaweed (I find mine for $.99 at Trader Joe’s), and adding avocado, flax and hemp into my diet on a near daily basis.

Here’s the info on nuts and seeds I could rummage up at a very high level:

  • Macadamia Nuts – Omega 6/3 is naturally a wash
  • Chestnuts – Omega 6/3 is naturally a wash
  • Brazil nuts* – High in Omega 3s but Omega 6 is so high it needs Omega 3 elsewhere in diet (selenium)
  • Pumpkin Seeds* – High Omega 6 and low Omega 3 needs a balance in your diet for Omega 3 (magnesium)
  • Sunflower Seeds* – High Omega 6 and low Omega 3 needs a balance in your diet for Omega 3 (selenium)
  • Hazelnuts – High in Omega 3s but Omega 6 is so high it needs Omega 3 elsewhere in diet
  • Pine nuts – High in Omega 3s but Omega 6 is so high it needs Omega 3 elsewhere in diet
  • Pistachios – High Omega 6 and low Omega 3 needs a balance in your diet for Omega 3
  • Sesame Seeds – High Omega 6 and low Omega 3 needs a balance in your diet for Omega 3
  • Walnuts – High in Omega 3s but Omega 6 is so high it needs Omega 3 elsewhere in diet
  • Almonds – High Omega 6 and low Omega 3 needs a balance in your diet for Omega 3
  • Cashews** – High Omega 6 and low Omega 3 needs a balance in your diet for Omega 3

*Although higher in Omega 6 than 3s, these provide additional nutrients deficient in most diets and are worth adding if Omega 3 is balanced elsewhere.

**Recent research suggests that cashews may be more problematic than an Omega 6/3 balance.  Review the material and I recommend at least soaking them.

Our first choice is macadamia nuts; however, they’re not always accessible or affordable.  Macadamia’s make an excellent “crust” for fish if you pan sear!  Usually, for salads we use walnuts or pecans and add some flax oil to the dressing.  We use sunflower seed butter to dip apples in as a snack.  Since we bake a lot with almond flour and almond butter we make sure to add hemp milk, flax seed and oil and other Omega 3s where we wouldn’t otherwise (coconut milk and hemp milk smoothies, for example).  I’ve heard a lot about short-chain Omega 3s but the write-up here made sense to me and I’m OK with our choices for right now in our journey – ever evolving and learning, it’s possible to change in the future.

If you’re just starting your journey, it’s my opinion that the removal of grains and legumes from your diet will be a HUGE improvement to your Omega 6 and Omega 3 balance; don’t worry yourself with nut intake (or nightshades or starches for that matter) until you’ve become comfortable and solid in the Paleo ways (6 months for me).  Your body will be clean and ready to tell you if you need tweaking, in fact – you’ll probably be able to figure it out naturally without even knowing that’s what you’re doing.

If you’re interested in figuring out what works for you, here are good places to start reading:
http://paleodietlifestyle.com/are-nuts-and-seeds-healthy/
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/nuts-omega-6-fats/
http://robbwolf.com/faq/

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