Nuts are another good source of proteins & calcium, with a number of nuts containing calcium and protein concentrations that are similar to dairy and meat products respectively. All nuts have different nutrition credentials and will offer different health benefits.
While nuts are known to have high fat content, the fat present in nuts is good fat (i.e. mono unsaturated fats) which help regulate the level of cholesterol in the blood, helping lower blood pressure and heart disease risk. This compares to saturated fats (or bad fats) in meat and dairy products, that increase blood cholesterol levels, choking the arteries and raising the risk of blood pressure. Further, the proteins in nuts is more alkaline in nature, leading it to be more easily absorbed by our bodies.
The following nuts are high in either (or both) calcium or protein concentrations, and are good foods for people looking at reducing their consumption of meat or dairy products.
Almonds have a calcium concentration that is more than twice that of milk, while having a protein concentration similar to lamb, chicken or pork. Flavnoids (present in the skin of almonds) help protect our hearts, while Vitamin E, helps improve the condition and appearance of your skin. Almonds also contain riboflavin and L-carnitine, nutrients that boost brain activity and help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Cashew nuts have a protein concentration that is only slightly lower than meat products. They are also rich sources of minerals (including manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc) and certain Vitamin B complexes. The nutrient composition of cashew nuts help in preventing heart diseases, osteoporosis and cancer.
Walnuts are also a good source of both proteins and calcium, with concentration levels just slightly lower than meat and dairy products respectively. Walnuts are high in protein, vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, trace minerals, lecithin and oils. Walnuts are unique amongst nuts because the fats in them are primarily polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and are the only nut with a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). PUFA, ALA and omega 3 all support memory and cognitive function, which is why walnuts are often referred to as brain foods. Other health benefits include helping in prevent and control diabetes, cancers, weight and kidney stones.
Peanut butter has a protein concentration similar to meat products. With a high concentration of good (or mono unsaturated) fats, peanut butter helps reduce cholesterol in the blood, reducing blood pressure and heart disease risk. It is also a good source of magnesium, potassium, dietary fibre, Vitamin E and certain Vitamin B complexes.