There is increasing interest in nut consumption and human health outcomes, especially since the growing interest in plant-based diets, which is why I want to share this delicious Kumara (Sweet Potato) and Cashew Nut Fritters with you this week.
In the past, when I was so overweight during my menopause transition, I’ve been a bit reluctant to eat too many nuts due to their known higher-fat content (and yes, we can have too many nuts!). However, over the years, as more and more research has arrived on the benefits of nuts to our cardiovascular and muscle health as we age, I’ve added them back into my diet. I encourage MyMT™ ladies to have them too.
With recent research from the University of Wollongong in Australia, presented at the Dietitians Australia conference earlier this year, suggesting that the measuring system for estimating fat content of nuts may be flawed, this may be good news for some of you who are worried about your weight gain and nut consumption.
Lead researcher, PhD candidate, Cassandra Nikodijevic says, because the 100 year old Atwater system for calculating kilojoules doesn’t take into account how our bodies metabolize food, nuts may provide up to 26 per cent less kilojoules than previously thought. That’s good news to me!
Nuts are commonly consumed in the Mediterranean diet, and their consumption has been recommended to populations all over the world. (de Souza et al, 217).
Tree nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, cashew nuts, Brazil nuts, macadamias, walnuts, and pistachios, as well as legume seeds, such peanuts, are nutrient-dense foods and in general, around 3/4 to 1 cup of nuts provide a serving of protein (20gms).
Whilst dietary requirements for protein intake differs between women, especially if they are regular exercisers doing heavy weight training, the general recommendation for women’s ageing and cardiac health is to have between 1.0 – 1.4 gm/kg/day of protein. [Lonnie, Hooker et al, 2018].
Nuts give us nutrients that our body needs during our menopause transition. They also may help with melatonin production too for your precious sleep and I’ve written about this HERE. And yes, portion control is important!
Depending on the type of nuts you may be eating, they are not only rich in protein, but they also contain healthy monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA) fatty acids – these fats are great for women’s heart health.
As well, there is the protein content of nuts which I’ve already mentioned, and soluble and insoluble fibre (helping to keep your colon healthy) and vitamins E and K, folate, magnesium and nuts such as Brazil Nuts give you selenium – a nutrient that is deficient in many global soils. All of these nutrients have recognized benefits to human health.
I’ve included the delicious recipe below, (even though it is higher in fats with the addition of coconut cream), because the cashew nut has the one of the best quality proteins among many different types of nuts, due to its essential amino acid profile. These are the types of proteins that your body doesn’t make, so they must be provided by food in your diet.
I hope that sometime over the next while, you can try this delicious recipe. With Kumara (Sweet Potato) teamed up with cashew nuts and other delicious ingredients, it’s a tasty meal or snack for the whole family.
Kumara, Cashew and Coriander Fritters
- 1/4 cup rice flour, potato flour or oat flour (ground up oats)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 packed cups (250g) grated raw kumara
- 3/4 cup chopped roasted cashew nuts
- 3 Tbsp finely chopped coriander
- 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
Coriander leaves, to garnish
- Combine flour, baking soda, curry powder, salt and pepper, egg white and coconut milk in a mixing bowl and beat to a smooth batter. Mix in kumara, cashews and coriander (and chilli flakes if you like a bit of spice).
Chill for approximately 20 minutes in the fridge.
- Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a heavy frypan. Place dessert spoonfuls of mixture into heated pan and cook for about 1 minute each side to brown. They will not be cooked through at this stage. Transfer browned fritters to a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Bake fritters for 10 minutes or until springy to the touch and fully cooked. To serve, scatter with coriander leaves and serve with a salad. Bon appetit!
de Souza RGM, Schincaglia RM, Pimentel GD, Mota JF. Nuts and Human Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017 Dec 2;9(12):1311. doi: 10.3390/nu9121311
Freitas, J. B., Fernandes, D. C., Czeder, L. P., Lima, J. C. R., Sousa, A. G. O. and Naves, M. M. V. (2012). Edible seeds and nuts grown in Brazil as sources of protein for human nutrition. Food and Nutrition Sciences 3, 857–862.
Lonnie M, Hooker E, Brunstrom JM, Corfe BM, Green MA, Watson AW, Williams EA, Stevenson EJ, Penson S, Johnstone AM. Protein for Life: Review of Optimal Protein Intake, Sustainable Dietary Sources and the Effect on Appetite in Ageing Adults. Nutrients. 2018 Mar 16;10(3):360.
Nikodijevic, CJ., et al. ‘A systematic review of the ins and outs of nut energy balance’. Oral presentation, Dietitians Australia conference, August 2022.
Meng, X., Li, Y., Li, S., Zhou, Y., Gan, R. Y., Xu, D. P., & Li, H. B. (2017). Dietary Sources and Bioactivities of Melatonin. Nutrients, 9(4), 367. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9040367
Verde, A., Míguez, J., Leao-Martins, J. Gago-Martínez, A., & Gallardo, M. (2022). Melatonin content in walnuts and other commercial nuts. Influence of cultivar, ripening and processing (roasting). Journal of food composition and analysis, 105, 104180. doi: 10.1016/j.jfca.2021.104180