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19 Interesting Facts About Nuts

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Introduction

Nuts are nutrient-dense foods that have been enjoyed by humans for thousands of years. Packed with healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, nuts offer a wide range of health benefits when consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

In this article, you will discover 19 fascinating facts about different types of nuts and their origins, nutritional values, culinary uses, and more. From the toxic cashew to the pollinating bees required for almond growth, read on to uncover surprising trivia about these tasty treats!

Interesting Facts About Nuts

Nuts
Nuts
  1. Walnuts Are One of the Oldest Tree Foods – Walnuts date back to 7000-10000 BC, making them one of the oldest known tree foods consumed by humans.
  2. Almonds Rely on Bees for Pollination – Almonds require bee pollination to grow properly. No bees, no almonds!
  3. Cashew Shells Are Toxic – Cashews belong to the same plant family as poison ivy and poison sumac. The toxic, itchy oil is primarily concentrated in their shells, which is why cashews can’t be eaten whole.
  4. Pistachios Get Their Color from Antioxidants – The green color of pistachios comes from antioxidant pigments also found in leafy greens like kale and spinach. These antioxidants support heart health.
  5. Macadamia Nuts Have the Hardest Shells – It takes a pressure of over 300 pounds per square inch (PSI) to crack open macadamia nut shells, which are the hardest of any tree nut.
  6. Brazil Nuts Come From Bolivia – Despite the name, Brazil nuts are native to the Amazon rainforest region of South America, especially Bolivia.
  7. Pecan Nuts Went to the Moon – Pecans had the honor of being the first nuts carried to the moon by astronauts aboard Apollo 11 in 1969.
  8. Pistachio Trees Can Live 300 Years – Pistachio trees are extraordinarily long-lived, continuing to bear nuts for over 300 years.
  9. Peanuts Are Legumes, Not Tree Nuts – Peanuts are technically a legume, not a nut. However, their similar nutritional content and culinary usage place them in the nuts category.
  10. Chestnuts Are Low in Fat – Unlike most other nuts, chestnuts contain very little fat, getting most of their calories from carbohydrates instead.
  11. Pine Nuts Can Substitute for Pesto – When pine nuts get too expensive, cooks often substitute similarly flavored nuts like almonds or walnuts in pesto recipes.
  12. Almond Milk Needs Almond Meal – To make almond milk, almonds are finely ground into almond meal before mixing with water to extract their flavor and nutrients.
  13. Macadamia Nuts Fall off Trees – Macadamia nuts cannot be picked directly from trees. When fully ripe, they detach and fall to the ground for collection.
  14. Hazelnuts Grow in Clusters – Unlike solitary almonds and walnuts, hazelnuts grow in bunches of 3-8 nuts encased in a soft leathery shell.
  15. Cashew Apples Are Juicy Fruits – A cashew nut grows attached to the bottom of a cashew apple, a tropical fruit related to mangos that is juicy and sweet.
  16. Almond Extract Uses Bitter Almonds – Almond extract flavoring relies on bitter almonds. Most almonds consumed as nuts are sweet almonds.
  17. Pili Nuts Are Extremely Hard – With a rock-hard shell that resists even sledgehammers, Philippine pili nuts must be roasted before cracking and eating.
  18. Nuts Have Essential Nutrients – Nuts provide protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial nutrients.
  19. Most People Are Not Allergic to Nuts – Despite fears about nut allergies, over 90% of people are not allergic and can safely consume tree nuts.

Conclusion

As you can see, nuts come in a diverse array of shapes, sizes, textures, flavors, origins, nutrient contents, and uses. Consuming a variety of nuts can add taste, nutrition, and variety to your diet. Just be sure not to overindulge, as nuts are calorie-dense. By integrating nuts into meals and snacks in reasonable portions, most people can enjoy their documented health advantages.


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