Grab Some Nuts Day
annually on August 3rd
Today is for grabbing nuts—those mostly edible, one-seeded fruits that are covered with hard shells as they grow. They are often eaten as a snack, being raw or roasted, and may be plain, salted, or seasoned. They are used to make kinds of butter, pressed into oils, and used in countless recipes.
But many of what people call nuts technically aren't nuts, they are dried seeds. Nuts can be classified in a culinary sense and in a botanical sense. Botanical nuts are those that are technically nuts. The shell of these nuts is hard and doesn't open to release the seed. Some examples are hazelnuts, acorns, and chestnuts. Most seeds that we call nuts are just nuts in a culinary sense. This is a less restrictive term to identify nuts, where the criteria needed to be classified as botanical nuts is not met. Culinary nuts are usually any edible, large, and oily kernel that grows in a shell. Examples are almonds, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, and pecans.
Nuts are nutritious for both animals and humans and are healthiest when eaten raw. In general, people who regularly eat nuts have lower levels of coronary heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. Nuts are high in calories, essential amino acids, and unsaturated and monounsaturated fats like linoleic and linolenic acid. They are low in carbohydrates. Many have high concentrations of vitamins, such as vitamin E, vitamin B2, and folate, as well as high concentrations of minerals, such as copper, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. The amount of vitamins and minerals varies depending on which type of nut it is.
Nuts contain fiber, which can improve gut health, decrease calorie absorption, and make you feel full. Nuts have many antioxidants, called polyphenols, which help control free radicals and protect cells from damage. The body produces free radicals in response to things such as stress and pollution, and when the body has too many of them, it experiences what is known as oxidative stress. This can cause cell damage and increase the risk for disease. Nuts have anti-inflammatory properties and can help with healthy aging.
Even though nuts are high in calories, they help people lose weight. They also help those with type 2 diabetes, as well as those with metabolic syndrome—a condition that people with diabetes often get—by lowering blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Finally, nuts are especially good for the heart. They help lower the risk for heart disease and stroke because they improve artery function, increase LDL particle size, lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, and raise HDL cholesterol.
How to Observe
There is a holiday for almost every nut imaginable. Cashews, walnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pistachios, almonds, pecans, and chestnuts all get their own day. Today is for celebrating all of them at once, and for grabbing handfuls of as many kinds of them as you can find. Try them raw or roasted. Grab some salted, seasoned, or plain. Although plain, raw nuts are the healthiest, there are many recipes you could make today that use nuts. You could also read some interesting facts about nuts, or read a book about nuts.