The health benefits of nuts in smoothies

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nuts in smoothies

When creating smoothies for weight loss you may shy away from high-calorie and high-fat foods like nuts. It seems counter-intuitive, but adding foods with healthy fats to your diet (in moderation) can actually help you lose weight. Putting nuts in smoothies is a delicious way to add satiating fiber, protein, and healthy fats.

What are healthy fats?

Our bodies need fat in order to function properly. You want to make sure you are getting the right kind of fat in your diet, though. “Healthy fat” refers to the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found naturally in plants. These fats have heart-healthy benefits like reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol, helping to stabilize blood sugar levels, and are anti-inflammatory.

Health benefits of nuts

Nuts are high in healthy unsaturated fats. These healthy fats have heart-health benefits including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, raising HDL (good) cholesterol, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. They are also high in antioxidants and are a great source of many other important vitamins and minerals.

Nuts are good sources of fiber, protein, and fat so they will keep you feeling satisfied for longer. This means that although they are high in calories and fat, eating them in moderation can actually help you to lose weight.

Feeling full and staying full, or satiety, is a very important key to weight loss. If you’re feeling hungry all the time when trying to lose weight you’ll end up snacking more. This can work against you in the end and cause weight gain.

When eaten in moderation, including foods in your diet that contain fiber, protein, and fats (the healthy, natural fats found in plants) you will be satisfied for longer. In the end, this can help you to lose weight!

How to use nuts in smoothies

Depending on the recipes, add 1/8 cup to 1/4 cup of nuts in your smoothie. The difference between the amounts depends on how nutty you want your smoothie to taste.

The more nuts, the nuttier your smoothie will be.

If you don’t have a high-powered blender, raw nuts can be difficult to blend smooth. Soak them in water overnight to soften them. Drain and rinse before adding to your smoothie. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have the luxury of soaking nuts overnight, try soaking them for an hour in warm water before blending.

If you have a high-powered blender you can just add the nuts unsoaked in with the other smoothie ingredients and blend.

Soaking raw nuts is not required for smoothies. If you don’t have a high-powered blender and don’t mind a crunchy texture to your smoothie you can add the raw nuts without any soaking.

You can also add nut butter to your smoothie to get that nutty flavor. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of nut butter. Just be careful with nut butter and read the ingredients on the packaging. Many of them come with added sugars, salt, and other ingredients you may not want to add to your smoothie.

Another option for adding a nutty flavor to your smoothie is to use nut milk for the liquid base. Just replace the liquid in the smoothie recipe (I usually just add water to my smoothies) with the same amount of nut milk. You can make your own nut milk or buy it in the grocery store. Be careful of added ingredients, though, like sugars or other sweeteners. These can add unnecessary calories to your smoothie.

This list of nuts are not the only nuts you can use in smoothies. They are the more common nuts used in smoothies, are very healthful, and blend well with many different ingredients. Feel free to use any nut you want in your smoothies. If you have any nut suggestions please leave them in the comments below this post!

In the “blend with” section of each nut, I make several suggestions of ingredients to use with that nut. This is not a comprehensive list of ingredients. I’m hoping to help get you started with creating smoothies with nuts or to give you some new ideas.

Keep in mind that nuts blend well with fruit, vegetable, and green smoothies.

Walnuts

Health Benefits

Walnuts are very high in antioxidants, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and have one of the highest levels of omega-3 fats of any nut. They can help you with weight loss (in moderation) despite being high in calories. This is because they have good amounts of omega-3 fats, protein, and fiber to help you feel satisfied for longer. Walnuts are also known for their cardiovascular benefits including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and for reducing inflammation.

If you are adding whole walnuts to your smoothies, be sure to keep the skin on them. 90% of walnuts’ phenols (antioxidants) are found in the skin.

1/4 cup of walnuts contains 196 calories.

Storage

Walnuts are extremely perishable. Shelled walnuts should be kept in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months or stored in the freezer for up to a year.

Taste

The flavor of walnuts is generally mild but does contain some tangy and sharp notes. The flavor is a complex combination of earthy, fruity, and tart. Compared to other nuts they can taste somewhat bitter because of their high tannin levels.

Blend with

Almond, apple, apricot, avocado, banana, blueberry, Brazil nut, caramel, carrot, chia seeds, chocolate/cacao, cinnamon, cloves, coconut, collard greens, cranberry, date, hemp seeds, kale, mango, maple, nectarine, nutmeg, oats, peach, pear, plum, pumpkin seeds, romaine lettuce, spinach, strawberry,Swiss chard, vanilla

Almonds

Health Benefits

Almonds are high in biotin, vitamin E, magnesium, and manganese. They are also a good source of fiber, protein, and calcium. The monounsaturated fat in almonds has been known to help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol. The fiber and fat combined in almonds can help control blood sugar levels and help with weight loss.

They also have high amounts of antioxidants, mostly found in the brown layer of skin. For this reason, it’s best to add whole almonds to your smoothies with the skin to get the most benefits from them.

1/4 cup of almonds contains about 207 calories. Storage

Shelled almonds have a short shelf life before they go rancid

unless they are stored in a cool, dry, and dark place in an airtight container.

Storage

If you store them in the refrigerator they will last for several months. Storing them in the freezer will extend their life up to a year.

Taste

Delicately flavored, this sweet tasting nut blends well with any smoothie combination. Raw almonds are sometimes described as having a slight cherry flavor.

Blend with

Apple, avocado, banana, beet, blackberry, blueberry, Brazil nut, broccoli, cayenne, celery, chai, cherry, chia seeds, chocolate/cacao, cinnamon, coconut, coffee, collard greens, cranberry, date, fig, ginger, hazelnut, hemp seeds, mango, nutmeg, oats, orange, pineapple, plum, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin seeds, raspberry, romaine lettuce, spinach, strawberry, Swiss chard, walnut

Macadamias

Health Benefits

Macadamia nuts contain high amounts of magnesium, vitamin B1, manganese, and thiamin. They are high in omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid which is the same fatty acid that is found in olive oil. Macadamias are also high in oleic acid.

Macadamia nuts have one of the highest healthy fat content of nuts, containing about 60 percent monounsaturated fat oleic acid. This is a good fat your body needs to help fight heart disease and lower your risk of stroke.

1/4 cup of macadamia nuts contains 180 calories.

Storage

Macadamia nuts are high in healthy fats and this means if they are not stored properly they will have a short shelf life (about 2 – 4 weeks). You can extend their shelf life by storing shelled nuts in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Or store them in the freezer in an airtight container for 9 to 12 months.

Taste

The taste of the macadamia nut can be described as creamy, buttery, and slightly sweet.

Blend with

Acai, avocado, banana, blueberry, chocolate/cacao, cinnamon, coconut, coffee, collard greens, cranberry, mango, pineapple, raspberry, romaine lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard

Hazelnuts

Health Benefits

Hazelnuts (also known as filberts) are very high in manganese and are a great source of copper, vitamin E, magnesium, folate, and thiamine. They also contain fiber, protein, and many antioxidants.

Hazelnuts contain fats that are known to promote heart health. They are particularly high in healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. The fats, fiber, and protein in hazelnuts can help you maintain a healthy weight or lose weight by keeping you feeling satisfied for longer.

Like other nuts, most of the antioxidants in hazelnuts can be found in the skin. Be sure to add the skin to your smoothie, too!

1/4 cup of hazelnuts contains 178 calories.

Storage

Hazelnuts have a lower percentage of moisture than other nuts and have a high vitamin E level, giving them a longer shelf life than many other nuts. The shelf life of shelled hazelnuts stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry, and dark place is up to 6 months. Shelled hazelnuts will keep for 6 – 8 months when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep for around a year when stored in the freezer in an airtight container.

Taste

The flavor of hazelnuts has been described as mild, sweet, and buttery. They blend well with almost any food, and their taste stands up to strong flavors such as citrus and chocolate.

Blend with

Almond, apple, avocado, banana, berries, blackberry, blueberry, cardamom, cherry, chia seed, chocolate/cacao, citrus, coffee, collard greens, fig, kiwi, orange, peanut, peanut butter, pear, romaine lettuce, spinach, strawberry, Swiss chard