Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's Just Nuts! Bulk Nuts for Parrots and People

With the holidays behind us, this is a great time of year to stock up on bulk nuts in the shell, both for you and your parrots. Bulk nuts in the shell may still available in major grocery stores and supermarkets, usually in the produce section. You might even snag some great deals from produce managers wanting to clear out their stocks of bulk nuts. Any extra nuts that you get simply put in airtight containers and freeze. The nuts will keep in the freezer for long periods of time. Once thawed however, we don't recommend refreezing.


The form of vitamin E (gamma-tocopherol) found in walnuts is unusual and particularly beneficial. This form of vitamin E has been found to provide significant protection for the heart. Walnuts also contain antioxidants not found in any other foods, and unlike other nuts, are rich in the plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids.


Almonds are one of the most nutritionally dense nuts. They are among the richest sources of vitamin E and provide an array of minerals and antioxidants. There may be more than twenty different antioxidants in almond skins alone! Almonds are richer than eggs in protein: a quarter-cup contains more than seven grams.


Pistachios are one of the lowest-calorie, lowest-fat nuts and among the highest nuts in antioxidants. They are an excellent source of B vitamins, copper and manganese, which are important for keeping blood sugar stable, protecting bones and nerves, and helping metabolize fat and cholesterol.


Pecans contain more than nineteen vitamins and minerals. They also contain different forms of vitamin E called tocopherols, which have been shown to decrease bad (LDL) cholesterol by as much as one-third. Pecans are also a rich source of oleic acid, the same heart-healthy fat found in olive oil.


Hazelnuts have the highest content of a plant compound (proanthocyanidin) shown to decrease the risk of blood clots, heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases. Hazelnuts also rank number one in a B vitamin (folate) essential for preventing birth defects and may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and depression. Doctors and herbalists once used hazelnuts to treat the common cold, persistent coughs and even baldness.


Like pecans, cashews are a very good source of the beneficial fat oleic acid and minerals such as copper, phosphorus, and magnesium, which are important for bones, muscles, and stable blood pressure.

Nuts for Health: Eating nuts actually is associated with weight loss! Studies have found that people who ate nuts at least twice a week were much less likely to gain weight than those who almost never ate nuts. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, eating a handful of nuts a day may reduce the risk of heart disease. The plant sterols and good fats in nuts — monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — are believed to lower bad (LDL) cholesterol levels. Nuts are a source of l-arginine, a nutrient that may help prevent blood clots. Much of the antioxidants in nuts is in their skins — for example, that's where about ninety percent of the antioxidant-rich phenols in walnuts are stored. Most nuts contain a good supply of vitamin A and B vitamins. Many nuts contain vitamin E, which is important for preventing plaque in arteries and is good for skin, hair and nails. Many nuts are high in potassium, calcium and magnesium, minerals important for healthy blood pressure. In multiple studies, these minerals have a much greater impact on blood pressure than salt.

Nuts for Protein: Nuts are protein-rich but they're not complete proteins because they don't contain all the amino acids. Combining nuts with grains, beans, or vegetables such as greens or broccoli with other amino acids creates a complete protein. Unlike protein from animal sources such as meat and eggs, which have an acidic reaction on the body, most nuts have an alkaline reaction. (Walnuts, peanuts and hazelnuts are exceptions.)

The bottom line is: Nuts are good for people, and nuts are good for parrots! As long as they are part of a balanced diet.

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