Lentils are one of the oldest foods, widely consumed in Middle East and Egypt. They are packed with protein and fiber, as well as antioxidants, especially polyphenols. These have mainly anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. Eating lentils protects heart from disease, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. They are rich in vitamin B and folate, good for proper development during pregnancy, as well as iron, magnesium, zinc and potassium. Thanks to a combination of fiber, carbohydrates and iron, they are great for steady increase of energy levels.
Hazelnut is full of antioxidants, especially present in its skin. These, together with healthy fats, more specifically omega-3, support heart health and lower cholesterol levels. Thanks to extremely high vitamin E and manganese content, hazelnut can have anti-cancer properties and like other nuts reduces blood sugar levels. Thanks to vitamin E, it is beneficial for skin and hair health and it is also a good source of fiber, magnesium and folate. Combination of compounds in hazelnut helps decrease the risk of diabetes as well as maintain brain and cognitive functions and prevent neurodegenerative diseases.
Date is a tropical fruit packed with nutrients and natural sugars. It is high in fiber, helping digestion and regular bowel movements to prevent constipation and colorectal cancer. Date is beneficial for brain health and memory, preventing some diseases like Alzheimer’s. Compounds in date are believed to help facilitate natural labour by reducing its duration and aid contractions. Antioxidants from date, primarily phenolic and flavonoid compounds have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effect on the body and some nutrients such as manganese, magnesium, selenium and copper keep bones strong and healthy and prevent osteoporosis. Date is a great source of potassium, controlling the heart rate and blood pressure and promoting heart health, as well as iron, good for anemia treatment. Also rich in plant-derived estrogen, date might help relieve symptoms of menopause in women.
Pecan has distinctive buttery texture and slightly sweet, but bitter taste, making it used mostly in desserts and salads. Together with macadamia nut, it is highest in fat content among all nuts and is particularly rich in copper and manganese. Monounsaturated fats together with phenolic antioxidants promote heart health and lower cholesterol levels. Like other nuts, pecan is packed with fiber and if consumed in moderation, promotes fullness and benefits weight management. Fiber content keeps digestive system healthy and prevents constipation. Pecan is rich in antioxidant ellagic acid that can protect from certain cancer forms. Magnesium levels provide anti-inflammatory benefits and lower blood pressure. Pecan can also slow down skin ageing, thanks to ellagic acid, vitamin A and E. Combination of different nutrients, mainly zinc, makes pecan great immunity booster. Among other nutrients, it also contains iron and significant amounts of flavonoids. Low sugar levels make it an excellent choice for diabetes prevention and management and slowing down blood sugar spikes.
Peanut is a favorite snack of athletes due to high content of protein and fiber and low percentage of carbohydrates. Healthy fats and quality protein and fiber make it a very filling food, contributing to weight management. Although peanut protein has many health benefits, it can cause severe allergies in some people. Thanks to healthy fats it contains, as well as magnesium, copper and antioxidants, peanut is a good choice for maintaining heart health. Eating raw peanuts with skin provides most antioxidant benefits. Being relatively low in carbohydrates with low glycemic index and rich in fiber and fat, it represents diabetes friendly food. Furthermore, peanut is one of the best sources of biotin, a B vitamin converting food into energy, promoting hair and nail health, regulating blood sugar and supporting healthy pregnancy.
Sweet potato is loaded with beta-carotene that’s converted to vitamin A in our body – just 100g provides almost 4 times of needed daily intake of this vitamin. Beta-carotene is giving it bright orange color, making sweet potato a great booster of eye health. It is also rich in fiber and antioxidants and is beneficial for gut health, especially the purple sweet potato. This colored variety of sweet potato is rich in anthocyanins, that can even have anti-cancer properties, particularly colon cancer. It is also a good source of magnesium that can help manage stress levels.
Walnut is highest in antioxidants among all nuts, rich in vitamin E, ellagic acid and melatonin. Loads of omega-3 fats make it a great choice for protecting heart health. It is believed that walnut can reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Walnut also lowers risk of cancer, especially prostate and color one and being also rich in polyphenols, it decreases inflammation in the body. It benefits gut health and is a good choice for weight management and decreasing appetite. Another benefit is lowering risk of diabetes and it is considered good for brain health and improving brain functions. In males, walnut can improve reproductive health.
Almond is loaded with protein and fiber and represents one of the best sources of vitamin E. That helps slow down ageing and keep skin in good health. Thanks to high fiber and magnesium content, it regulates blood sugar levels and is a good choice for people with diabetes. It is considered that for the same reason, it can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Almond is good for overall heart health and implementing it in diet also showed lower risk of some neurological disorders like Parkinson’s.
Cashew is native to Brazil and filled with antioxidants. It is a good choice for weight loss, especially when eaten raw, since not all fat from is absorbed when consumed in this form. Rich in protein and fiber like other nuts, it is good for heart health and lowering cholesterol. Cashew is loaded with copper, good for formation of red blood cells and anemia prevention. It also contains lots of magnesium, zinc and iron. Cashew also promotes eye health and due to high levels of selenium and copper, cashew oil is great for skin and hair.
This legume is high in starch and fiber and especially rich in protein. Peas contain antioxidants polyphenols and have low glycemic index, helping stabilize blood sugar levels and are diabetes friendly food. They are great for digestion due to high content of insoluble fiber, protect heart from heart disease and help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Rich in saponins, they have anti-cancer properties. The most present minerals in peas are manganese, phosphorus and iron. Another powerful substance in peas is lutein, good for eye health. On the other side, peas contain antinutrients common for legumes, that are making the mineral absorption and peas digestion more complicated. This might cause bloating and discomfort during consumption.