Why Do We Eat Nuts? Pros and Cons to Consider

Last updated: September 13, 2023

Nuts are considered nutritious, and most people love eating them as snacks. But why are we so attracted to nuts, and are they really good for us? This guide explores the pros and cons of eating nuts.

We all know that nuts are generally considered a healthy food. I don’t know about you, but I love snacking on almonds, walnuts, or macadamia nuts any time, any day.

Nuts are also very popular with vegans and raw foodies. In fact, most people who go vegan or raw for the first time typically find themselves overeating on nuts as it’s so easy to do.

In this article, I am going to share my thoughts on eating nuts and dive into the pros and cons.

Why the Nuts?

So, why is it that most of us really do like snacking nuts?

And why do so many vegans and raw foodies immediately reach for the raw nuts and seeds when switching to a vegan or raw diet?

1. We Want to Feel Full

Since nuts are solid, crunchy, and filling, we have a tendency to use them as a replacement for cooked food. As tiny as they are, they have the power to make us feel full.

For example, when I first tried the raw food diet, I would still feel “hungry” after eating a generous salad. I would then often eat a handful or two of nuts to get that semi-drowsy feeling I was missing.

2. Nuts Are Crunchy

Of course, another reason why we might find ourselves overeating on nuts is because of that nice crunchy texture that most people love.

Walnuts
Walnuts

The good thing is that nuts are more natural and healthier afternoon snacks than, let’s say, chips, popcorn, crackers, and so on.

Here’s a quick tip if that’s why you’re reaching for the nuts: try crunching on some celery, chopped carrots, or make kale chips with a food dehydrator.

3. It’s an Easy Snack Food

You don’t need to wash, cut, or blend anything to eat nuts. If you’re in a hurry or feeling tired, you can just open a jar or reach for a container of nuts, and you’re good to go.

There’s nothing wrong with this behavior, but if you’re overeating nuts, you will want to prepare adequate snack foods in advance. Remember that being prepared is half the battle when it comes to eating healthy foods.

Read my guide covering the most popular nut varieties for a list of delicious nuts from around the world.

Pros and Cons of Eating Nuts

Let’s have a quick look at some of the pros and cons of eating nuts.

Digestion

On the one hand, nuts make us feel full because our body is expending energy trying to digest them. Nuts are harder to digest than fresh fruits and vegetables.

In reality, we probably wouldn’t be eating tons of nuts in nature unless they were fresh and in season. How many of us live next to a Brazil nut tree? That’s what I thought.

Different types of nuts
Different types of nuts

On this note, something you can do to help the digestibility of nuts is soaking them for 6-7 hours in water with salt added. If you want the crunch, you can low-heat dry them (under 150 degrees F) until they get their crunch back.

You may notice that the nuts taste lighter, cleaner, and easier in many ways. Still not good to overeat, but it really makes a big difference.

Nutritional Value

Nuts have tons of great nutritious qualities, and I certainly don’t think we should shun them entirely. In fact, a handful of nuts each day can help you live a healthier and longer life, according to studies.

Almonds in a bowl
Almonds in a bowl

The healthy oils found in nuts are full of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for the brain, and for keeping our stress levels under control.

Alternative sources of omega-3 fatty acids include chia seeds and flax seeds.

What About Seeds?

Most people have an easier time digesting seeds than they do digesting nuts.

Also, one of the reasons why more people are allergic to nuts than to seeds is that nuts tend to go rancid if kept on a shelf for too long a time.

Final Thoughts

So, what’s the verdict?

No, you won’t go crazy if you eat too many nuts. But try to limit yourself to one handful daily, since they are somewhat hard to digest. If you feel bloated or gassy after eating nuts, cut down.

Also, you should avoid eating nuts with fresh fruits, because that may cause some discomfort and gas.

Other than that, go nuts!

 
 

Pros and cons of eating nuts

 

Donna Harrison

My name is Donna Harrison, and I created this blog because I am passionate about discovering new foods and learning everything about them. I am also a bit of a smoothie fanatic, and I try to document all my favorite smoothies and other recipes here on Healthy Food Tribe, in addition to recommendations and reviews of my favorite kitchen tools.

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