Which dried fruit and nuts should women be eating?

Which dried fruit and nuts should women be eating?

Women's HealthLadies, it’s Women’s Month and if you are not already doing it, it’s time to start making your health a priority!

According to dietitians and nutritionists, women may not be consuming enough of the following essential nutrients in their diet:

  • Dietary fibre
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin A / Beta carotene
  • Vitamin E
  • Iron

Dried fruit, nuts and seeds are excellent sources of some of these essential nutrients. Here are some of the Montagu products that you can’t afford not to eat:

Dried Fruit

appleAn apple a day keeps the doctor away, and never a truer word has been spoken, especially for women.

Apple wedges (dry) are packed full of essential nutrients that women should be consuming daily. They are high in dietary fibre and antioxidants. In numerous research studies, apples have been associated with a decreased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and asthma.

Cranberries, dates and dried apricots are also high in dietary fibre and polyphenols (or antioxidants). The soluble dietary fibre plays a role in glucose absorption and maintaining a healthy blood cholesterol level. The insoluble dietary fibre helps to keep the gut healthy and contributes to regular laxation, thereby alleviating constipation.

Ginger has also been known to help with ‘morning sickness’ during pregnancy.

Goji berries are packed with essential minerals:

  • gojiThey are claimed to be the most nutritionally dense fruit on Earth
  • They are a source of protein, containing more than 4g of protein per 30g serving. Protein helps build and repair body tissues. It also contributes to the maintenance of normal muscle mass. They are high in dietary fibre.
  • They are a source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron naturally found in goji berries. It has various other functions in the body, contributing to cell protection from free radical damage, maintaining the normal function of the immune system during and after intense physical stress, normal neurological function, normal collagen formation, as well as reducing tiredness and fatigue.
  • smoothie bowlThey are very high in Vitamin A. Vitamin A is necessary for the maintenance of good vision, normal function of the immune system, normal skin and mucous membrane structure and function. It also contributes to normal growth and iron metabolism.

How to include dried fruit in your diet:
  • add them to your favourite cereal to replace refined sugar
  • use them to make lovely homemade sauces
  • sprinkle them over your favourite smoothie bowl
  • include chopped pieces of dried fruit in salads
  • mix dried fruit in with health muffin and bread batter
  • enjoy them on their own as a healthy snack

Nuts

Montagu nutsIf you’re looking to increase your protein intake, you’ll find the best sources of protein in almonds and peanuts (preferably unsalted, but a little salt is okay).

Cashews, almonds and pistachios are lower in fat than the other nuts, so be sure to include handfuls of these nuts in your diet.

Women are always encouraged to increase the amount of magnesium they consume. Almonds, Brazil nuts (high in selenium), cashews and hazelnuts are all good natural sources of this essential mineral.

Magnesium:
  • helps maintain a healthy muscle and nervous system
  • contributes to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • is necessary for teeth and bone structure and maintenance

Most nuts, including almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamias, pecans, pistachios are high in monounsaturated fats (MUFA’s), while walnuts are high in polyunsaturated fat (PUFAs). When you replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats (such as MUFA’s) in your diet, this helps maintain normal blood cholesterol levels.

Vitamin E is also an essential compound that women should be getting enough of. Blanched hazelnuts and almonds are high in Vitamin E.

Vitamin E:
  • contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress.
  • helps you maintain a healthy immune system
  • assists in your cardiovascular health (heart and lungs)

brazil nutsPine nuts, pistachios and cashews are the nuts that contain the highest levels of iron in their food group. Brazil nuts (2 nuts per day to be exact) are also a good source of copper.

Copper:
  • contributes to the normal maintenance of hair, skin and nails
  • assists with the formation and maintenance of bones and teeth
How to include nuts in your diet:
  • blend them in with your favourite smoothie for when you’re on the go
  • sprinkle them over your favourite smoothie bowl
  • include chopped nuts in salads, soups and breads
  • mix them in with health muffin batter
  • enjoy them on their own as a crunchy snack

Seeds

Montagu seedsChia seeds are a good source of protein and selenium when eaten in 15g servings. (Do not exceed 15g per day.)

Selenium:
  • is necessary for normal immune system function
  • contributes to the normal functioning of the thyroid
  • contributes to the normal maintenance of hair and nails
Chia seeds are also a source of:
  • interesting facts about Chia Seedspolyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s) for maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels
  • protein for building and repairing tissue, and normal muscle maintenance
  • omega 3 fatty acids for maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels
  • dietary fibre for glucose absorption and a healthy gut

If you are trying to limit or decrease your fat intake, pumpkin seeds and linseeds are known to be lower in fat than sunflower seeds and sesame seeds.

A number of seeds are also good sources of Magnesium. This includes linseeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seed. Nutritionists recommend a 30g daily serving of seeds in order to consume the right daily intake. Sunflower seeds are also a good source of Vitamin E.

granola recipeSesame seeds, sunflower seeds and linseeds are also the seeds that contain the highest levels of iron, an essential mineral for women to consume daily.

How to include seeds in your diet:
  • toss a seed mix over your morning oats, muesli or yoghurt
  • sprinkle them over your favourite smoothie bowl
  • include them in salads, soups and breads
  • mix them in with health muffin batter
  • enjoy them on their own as a crunchy snack

 

Sources:

  • http://www.wikihow.com/Choose-Healthy-Nuts-(for-Women)
  • Boyer J and Liu RH. 2004. ‘Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits.’ Nutrition Journal, 3:5.
  • Chai SC, Hooshmand S, Saadat RL, Payton ME, Brummel-Smith K and Arjmandi BH. 2016. ‘Daily apple versus dried plum: impact on cardiovascular disease risk factors in postmenopausal women.’ Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 112(8):1158-68.
  • Leong, S. Y., and Oey, I. Effects of processing on anthocyanins, carotenoids and vitamin C in summer fruits and vegetables. Food Chemistry (2012), doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.02.052
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  • South African Department of Health. (2010). Regulations relating to the labelling and advertising of foodstuffs (R146). Government Gazette
  • South African Department of Health. (2014). Regulations relating to the labelling and advertising of foods: Amendment (R429) (Draft document for comments). Government Gazette
  • European Commission. (2013). COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION of 22 January 2013 authorising an extension of use of Chia (Salvia hispanica) seed as a novel food ingredient under Regulation (EC) No 258/97 of the European Parliament and of the Council (2013/50/EU). Official Journal of the European Union.
  • South African Department of Health. (2010). Regulations relating to the labelling and advertising of foodstuffs (R146). Government Gazette
  • South African Department of Health. (2014). Regulations relating to the labelling and advertising of foods: Amendment (R429) (Draft document for comments). Government Gazette
  • Ullah, R., Nadeem, M., Khalique, A., Imran, M., Mehmood, S., Javid, A. and Hussain, J. (2016). Nutritional and therapeutic perspectives of Chia (Salvia hispanica L.): a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology 53(4):1750–1758.
  • Khoo, C. and Falk, M. (2014). Cranberry Polyphenols: Effects on Cardiovascular Risk Factors (pp 1049-1065). In: Polyphenols in Human Health and Disease (Volume 2). (Eds R.R. Watson, V.R. Preedy and S. Zibadi). Elsevier Academic Press.
  • South African Department of Health. (2014). Regulations relating to the labelling and advertising of foods: Amendment (R429) (Draft document for comments). Government Gazette
  • Chao, C.T. and Krueger, R.R. (2007). The Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.): Overview of Biology, Uses, and Cultivation. HortScience, (42)5: 1077-1082
  • South African Department of Health. (2010). Regulations relating to the labelling and advertising of foodstuffs (R146). Government Gazette
  • South African Department of Health. (2014). Regulations relating to the labelling and advertising of foods: Amendment (R429) (Draft document for comments). Government Gazette
  • Wolmarans, P. et al. (2010) Condensed Food Composition Tables for South Africa. Medical Research Council, Parow Valley, Cape Town.
  • Bode, A.M. and Dong, Z. (2011). The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. In: Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, 2nd edition (Eds: Benzie, I.F.F. and Wachtel-Galor, S.). Boca Raton: CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.
  • Mashhadi, N.S., Ghiasvand, R., Askari, G., Hariri, M., Darvishi, L. and Mofid, M.R. (2013). Anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of ginger in health and physical activity: Review of current evidence. International Journal of Preventative Medicine, 4(Suppl 1): S36-42.
  • Prasad, S. and Tyagi, A.K. (2015). Ginger and its constituents : Role in prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal cancer. Gastroenterology Research and Practice, Volume 2015, Article ID 142979, 11 pages, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/142979.