What are nuts ?
It is difficult to classify nuts in one specific category as they are seeds, fruits, legumes with a hard shell. Different nuts fall in different categories. Most commonly consumed nuts include walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, cashews, etc.
These are generally high in fat of the good kind and also contain proteins, vitamins and minerals. Nuts are also rich in magnesium which helps to control BP and sugar cravings and its deficiency affects liver function and also leads to anxiety and insomnia. Both walnuts and peanuts have cholesterol-lowering properties and pistachios help stabilise blood sugar levels. Walnuts also have omega-3 fatty acids and strengthen kidney function.
What are dry fruits ?
Dry fruits are essentially the dried versions of actual fruits once the water has been soaked out of them. Most common ones include dried apricots, prunes, raisins, figs, etc.
These are rich in fibre and antioxidants and help keep diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease at bay. Many of them contain high amounts of beta carotene, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium.
Raisins improve bone health because of their potassium and boron (micronutrient) content, both of which are necessary for proper bone formation while dates improve intestinal health. Dried figs prevent anaemia as they have iron.
Which is healthier ?
Though both have their own set of health benefits, you need to eat them in moderation. Nuts are high in calories so one needs to limit their intake. Besides proteins, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats, they also have saturated fats. So heart patients shouldn’t consume too much of them. Same goes for weight watchers because of their high calorific value. Salted, fried or honey or sugar coated nuts are a strict no-no. Eat them raw after soaking in water overnight.
Dry fruits have sugar in high concentrations compared to the fresh ones. They are beneficial to anaemic, athletes, etc. Weight watchers, diabetics with very high sugar levels, heart patients, those with gallstones, high BP and triglycerides, severe water retention, should restrict their intake. Fitness Professional recommends skipping dry fruits and opting only for nuts as they do not have sugar and are a good source of fatty acids.
However, if you do not suffer from these conditions one can eat these many a day:
Nuts: Just 2 or 3 walnuts, almonds, pistachios and cashews
Dry fruits: 4 or 5 raisins, 1 date, 1 or 2 figs