Nuts have gotten an amazing amount of flack lately. Many nuts have a fairly high value PUFA content, and most of this PUFA is omega-6 linoleic acid, the same thing we try to avoid by avoiding seed oils. Linoleic acid oxidizes easily, accumulates in our tissues and determines our inflammatory response, it is highly unstable for cooking, usually rancid on the shelf, and, thanks to government agricultural subsidies and public hysteria animal fat, is in absolutely everything today. Primal types are generally avoided for a good reason, and this tends to influence how we perceive the O6 content of dried fruit.
Is there a place for nuts in the? Primal Blueprint Diet? Do we have to worry about nuts and omega-6 fats? Let’s take a closer look.
How much Omega-6 do nuts contain?
In a typical portion of each:
- We – 9.5 g
- Almonds – 4.36 g
- cashews – 2.6 g
- Macadamia nuts – 0.5 g
- Brazil nuts – 7.2 g
- Hazelnuts – 2.7 g
- Pistachio – 4.1 g
- Pinions – 11.6 g
- Pacanes – 5.8 g
A diet rich in most nuts, then, would presumably distort distorted tissue omega-6 and omega-3 relationship with proinflammatory body processes … right? I mean, if you ate fried foods with high O6 vegetable oil in any restaurant, that would be proinflammatory. If you had to eat cheap Chinese food fried with cheap and high O6 soybean oil every day for lunch, you would expect a good amount of oxidized LDL in the next lipid test. And if you supplemented your diet with a few daily tablespoons of unheated corn oil, there would be markedly negative effects (in addition to nausea and / or vomiting) on your body. How are nuts different?
Nuts are whole foods
For one thing, nuts aren’t just “bags of linoleic acid”. A dried fruit is a fairly complete nutritional source. After all, it is the seed of a tree, a kind of tree egg. Inside is everything the tree needs to start growing from scratch …fats, carbohydrates, even protein, in addition to natural antioxidants such as vitamin E and many minerals.
Consider 160 calories of raw almond, which has 3.5 grams of omega-6 linoleic acid. What else do you get along with with these PUFAs?
- 76 mg of calcium
- 76 mg of magnesium
- 207 mg of potassium
- 0.3 mg of copper (one-third of your IDR)
- 0.9 mg of zinc
- 25% of your daily riboflavin
- 45% of your daily vitamin E.
- Prebiotic fiber to feed your gut
Not bad, right? Nuts are not only defined by their omega-6 content.
Compare this to 160 calories of soybean oil, which has almost 10 grams of linoleic acid. What else do you get along with with these PUFAs?
- Nothing yet
Do not get vitamins or minerals that contribute to your micronutrient status. Do not get vitamin E to protect the fragile omega-6 fats from breaking down. You get absolutely nothing.
Even if the omega-6 fats in nuts are taken badly in isolation, the positives in nuts seem to outweigh them. Whole new intake it appears to reduce markers of systemic inflammation, and inflammation is associated with a wide range of ailments and conditions (obesity, insulin resistance, heart disease, excess cortisol, etc.). Isolating and praising or defaming a single component of nuts is incorrect without considering them as complex food matrices that contain various nutrients and other chemical components. In other words, nuts are food, not unique nutrients.
Choose a new one, any new one, and you’ll find research that shows the benefits of consuming it.
Nutritional value of nuts
If the high omega-6 content of nuts was a problem, you would probably see an indication in the literature. In contrast, the vast majority of studies only find benefits for eating nuts.
- We improve lipid profile, reduce oxidative stress, increase cholesterol outflow and improve the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Pistachios attenuate the glucose response to carbohydrate-rich meals.
- Pacanes sharply increase antioxidant capacity and reduce LDL oxidation.
- Hazelnuts reduce the susceptibility of LDL to oxidation.
- us from Brazil improve selenium status, glutathione activity and reduce inflammation.
When the Omega-6 of nuts can be too much
Problems arise with constant year-round access to food whose historical availability it was seasonal and intermittent. If you were a hunter-gatherer, you probably weren’t picking nuts forests daily; at least you don’t find enough nuts in nature to eat eight ounces a day. Nuts are seasonal in the wild. Perhaps the best example of a traditional population of hunters and gatherers who eat large amounts of nuts are the Hadza of Tanzania, who eat large amounts of mongongo nuts only when they are in season. They can’t go down to the corner store looking for a sack of nuts out of season, nor any humans for most of our history.
Model your consumption of nuts according to biologically appropriate and evolutionarily congruent availability patterns and you will be fine.
Eating a handful of almonds and Brazil nuts won’t give you too much omega-6 fat.
Eating half a bag of almonds and Brazil nuts will do.
It’s all a matter of quantity.
However, nuts should not make up the bulk of your diet. A quarter cup as an occasional snack won’t kill you. It won’t even compromise your progress. I mean, they’re crazy. They are not meals, nor are they meant to be. They are snacks, basic supplements for an already nutritious diet full of animal fats, proteins and vegetables. And on a diet like Primary project which provides a lot of omega-3s through seafood to balance the omega-6s, nuts definitely have a place.
Just be sure to treat your nuts as delicious treats, rather than the basics of a meal. Do not burn the nuts, and do not cook with oil. The safest bet is to buy them raw and soaked or roast them yourself. In this way, you control the heat and you can mediate the oxidation.
Excessively analyzing food intake is a good way to stress out and make every little dietary choice an internal struggle. Avoid falling into this trap. Be mindful of your food choices, though choose your battles wisely. Be sure to ask the waiter to cook the omelette with butter instead of vegetable oil; insisting on the Omega-6 content of the twenty nuts you have in front of you is definitely not.
Want to keep in mind your thoughts on nuts? I know many forum members have reservations about them, so I would love to hear them in the comments section.