CHICAGO—Many consumers are unaware how beneficial nuts, beans, and seeds can be when it comes to getting the proper amount of nutrients in your diet. In the February 2012 issue of Food Technology magazine, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Contributing Editor Linda Milo Ohr writes that heart health, weight management, healthy cholesterol levels, and cognitive health are just some of the benefits that these foods can offer.
Almonds are low in saturated fatty acids, rich in unsaturated fatty acids, and contain fiber, phytosterols and plant protein. In a scientific review, Berryman et al. (2011) showed that consuming a breakfast containing almonds aids in stabilizing blood glucose levels for most of the day and provides a lasting feeling of fullness. Pistachios are also considered a part of a heart-healthy diet and may also lower cholesterol. In addition, some research has shown that walnuts may be linked to benefits related to brain health and cancer.
Beans, also called legumes, play an important role in diet. They contribute complex carbohydrates, vitamins, fiber, minerals and antioxidants that may help lower the odds of cognitive deficits or the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Pulses like dry peas, lentils, and chickpeas are also members of the legume family and contain both fiber, protein, as well as seven of the eight essential amino acids needed in the body.
Chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and hemp seeds also contribute a myriad of essential minerals and amino acids to the human diet. Chia seeds can be mixed with liquids to create sports drinks for athletes with omega-3s to address inflammation and protein to help with muscle recovery.
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a nonprofit scientific society. Our individual members are professionals engaged in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT's mission is to advance the science of food, and our long-range vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply, contributing to healthier people everywhere.
For more than 70 years, the IFT has been unlocking the potential of the food science community by creating a dynamic global forum where members from more than 100 countries can share, learn, and grow. We champion the use of sound science across the food value chain through the exchange of knowledge, by providing education, and by furthering the advancement of the profession. IFT has offices in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit ift.org.