Eat More Nuts for a Healthier Christmas
A study reported in BMC Medicine that looked at more than 800,000 participants has found that eating at least 20g of nuts a day can reduce risk of heart disease by 30%, cancer by 15%, bring a 40% reduction in diabetes and half the deaths from respiratory disease.
From a nutritional standpoint there are many reasons why nuts are so good for us. Since prehistoric times nuts have been widely eaten as a storable source of essential fats and protein. In recent years some people have avoided these amazing foods due to the fear that their fat content will increase weight. If eaten roasted and salted the delicate fats can actually be changed into something harmful, and lead to storage of fat in the body. However, if eaten raw the body easily processes the essential fats, which as the name suggests are simple essential for our overall health.
Nuts are a great source of essential minerals, such as absorbable calcium (unlike the calcium in dairy which can be hard for the body to process), zinc, magnesium, potassium and iron. One of the great health problems facing people today is a deficiency in minerals in our soil, and therefore our food. Nut trees are able to go deep into the soil to extract the minerals essential for health.
Nuts are also a good source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, which is needed for the production of energy from food, maintaining healthy skin and fertility. Eating over 20g of nuts per day doesn’t have to be boring and there are many raw recipes that use the goodness of nuts in delicious ways.
There is nothing like cake at Christmas time, and for people that have dairy and gluten intolerances or seek a healthier option – I’ve come up with a solution.
My Christmas cake is as delicious as any out there, and it’s packed with super nutrition, is free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar – and all the family will love it!
So now you can have your cake and eat it, guilt free.
Ingredients for a large cake (12 slices)
▪ 1 cup almonds, soaked for at least 1 hour and water discarded
▪ 1 cup mixed seeds (I like using pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and hemp seeds)
▪ ½ cup walnuts
▪ ¼ cup raisins or incan berries
▪ ¼ cup goji berries
▪ ¼ cup dried cranberries (without sulphur dioxide)
▪ 1 cup pitted dates
▪ 1 tbl maple syrup
▪ ½ tsp ground cinnamon
▪ ½ tsp mixed spice
▪ 1 tbl grated orange zest
Place the seeds and nuts into a food processor and blend until it has broken down into a biscuit-like consistency. Then add the remaining ingredients and blend until all the fruit is broken down and you have a dough-like consistency. Pour into silicon mould and press firmly down with your hand making a firm base. Place in the freezer while you make the topping.
▪ 3 tbl coconut butter melted
▪ 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 30 mins
▪ ½ tin coconut milk
▪ 1 tsp grated orange zest
▪ 1 tsp ground cinnamon
▪ 3 tbl maple syrup or agave nectar
▪ ½ tsp vanilla extract or vanilla pod extract
First place the cashew nuts, coconut butter, maple syrup and coconut milk into the food processor and blend until creamy. Then add in the vanilla, cinnamon and orange zest and re-blend until mixed in. Pour this over the base and spread out evenly. Place the cake back in the freezer to set for 30mins.
You can keep this cake in the freezer covered until the day you want to eat it. Take it out 1 hour prior to eating and leave to defrost. Serve chilled with some grated orange zest and enjoy a healthy and delicious Christmas.