Raw Vs. Roasted Nuts: Health Benefits.

all types of nutsThe other day, I was chatting with a friend about the benefits of raw versus roasted nuts.

In a world where so-called raw diets are increasingly popular, there’s a tendency to assume that raw is healthier. The science for this is less clear. While some foods are healthier when eaten raw (as heat can destroy nutrients and reduce the benefits of certain foods), this isn’t true of all foods. Tomatoes, for example, are healthier when heated due to lycopene content.

So what’s the deal with nuts?

There hasn’t been a study to specifically determine how roasting nuts changes their nutritional properties. But according to Dr. Rui Hai Liu, a professor of food science at Cornell University who has studied the benefits of nut consumption, “you will get health benefits from consuming either raw or roasted nuts.” He continues, “I don’t think the processing will decrease the benefits, and it may improve the bioavilability of some bioactive compounds.”

But here’s the big catch.

Many of the “roasted” nuts at grocery stores are actually fried. It’s true. If you look at the ingredients, you’ll likely see vegetable oil and salt listed. The vegetable oil is added during the frying process - and then, to add insult to injury, the nuts are usually salted.

If you prefer roasted nuts but want to avoid purchasing fried nuts, only buy nuts labeled as “dry-roasted nuts.” Or, even better, buy raw nuts and roast them yourself in the oven. Don’t add oil and don’t add salt. The nuts will still taste great.

In summary, you can’t go wrong with raw, unsalted nuts. If opting for roasted nuts, select the unsalted and dry-roasted variety. You’ll ensure that you’re getting a healthy, convenient, high fiber, and high protein food that’s loaded with healthy fats.

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  1. It is important to be aware of the fact that raw nuts (particularly but not only peanuts and pistachios) are habitat of certain kinds of fungi (eg. Aspergillus flavus) which produce substances known as mycotoxins (most notorious is aflatoxin) which are cancerogenic and increase risk of liver cancer and can do serious liver damage when consumed in higher doses. Storage conditions greatly influence quality of nuts because when bad they provide suitable environment for the fungi. The bad thing is that those fungi are not visible by naked eye, And usually you don’t know how are nuts harvested, stored, shipped and packaged. So you don’t know what are you eating. Roasting the nuts kills the fungi but the aflatoxin - not that much (it’s very heat resistant)
    All in all, high quality, roasted nuts are better than raw nuts, but everything in moderation.

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  3. Raw nuts can harbour harmful bacteria. Raw almonds for example have been implicated in several salmonella outbreaks.

  4. I am one of those who think that raw is healthier, for example tomatoes I always thought that eating it raw is healthier until I read this article. When it comes to nuts I know that they are healthy either way but I prefer the roasted ones just because it taste better but what i didn’t know is that some of them were actually fried. I think that when the nuts are fried with oil it makes them less healthy than they’re supposed to be. Nuts are one of the healthiest food we can eat and there are different types of nuts that have great health benefits. Just recently I’ve learned about almond nuts being turned into milk so it could be a substitute for regular milk for those who are lactose intolerant. Nuts are generally good for the body and it is a good addition to our diet.

  5. I have started roasting my own nuts as I was sick of trying to find unprocessed ones. It is so easy to do and leaves a lovely aroma in the kitchen. They taste delicious, even nicer than the nicest of store-bought ones and you feel really in control of what you are consuming. I highly recommend it! 🙂

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