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Zeta

Nuts: which are best?

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Hi everyone,

I've been meaning to make a couple posts about nuts for a long time now. I keep waiting until the archives are up so I can reference an older discussion about the virtues of various nuts, but I keep missing the archives' uptime. So I'll just fire away now.

I think I'm going to break up the nut-related posts into three or so. The first, this one, is about which nuts (and I'm including two seeds, and a few other items) are "good" -- scare quotes because after a lot of digging around, I've concluded that all nuts, and most (maybe all?) seeds, have something good about them. (2nd post: how eat/prepare; 3rd: how/where buy.)

(Another prefatory note: I'm on the very steep part of my learning curve, actually now coming off it a bit, with Microsoft Excel, and am almost tempted to start over with a new, more complete dump of data from CRON-O-Meter for the creation of the spreadsheet referenced below. We'll see. For now, I'll post what I have written, and upload the spreadsheet in its current incarnation. But it might be worth starting over, and, in particular, not rearranging the order of the nutrients from a CRON-O-Meter dump, so that adding new food items later would be easier. 2015-09-27. Edit: I am going to start over.)

Background: after going off my lowish-fat diet via massive quantities of avocado and olive oil, I finally decided upping my nut intake instead might be a wiser way to get my dietary fat percentage to where I want it. (Though after the investigations outlined here I've upped my avocado intake again, but not olive oil.)

I created a fake daily entry in CRON-O-Meter with 250 calorie portions of a bunch of nuts, and a couple seeds, that I rotate among, as well a few other fatty items, and then some vegetables, as well, for comparison. Then I downloaded the data and created an Excel spreadsheet. I also added data on a few items from the USDA database that CRON-O-Meter doesn't track (some individual fatty acids), and I made copies of a few columns (nutrients) and pasted them near the beginning (the left), to make it easy to survey the most important nutrients.

I'm still learning Excel (I became such a sophisticated user of Word's Visual Basic I never felt I needed to learn Excel, but I see now how powerful it is!), but I was able to do some basic sorting, and I saw some helpful things.

First, the file:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-jAMGxHPyw7UmJYZGRYc3JqQVU/view?usp=sharing

The CR Society also agreed to host a version of the same file that Google Docs converted to its own (Google) format:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1VZTZe2mu40Z9UCsnMsn8MIFZfkp-Lsng3VRA97CQ40M/edit?usp=sharing

 

Edit, 2015-10-05: All nut-related files, including an explanatory note about them, will be in this directory:

 

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B-jAMGxHPyw7NTc4RTdTUlY3aGs&usp=sharing

 

Perhaps we could manipulate/add to that Google version. Otherwise, feel free to download the original Excel version (2015-10-26: which now is being updated periodically, so it's not really "original" anymore, though the CR Society will, for now, keep all older versions here) and play around with it. The basics in Microsoft Excel (2003 is the version I use): hit ctrl-A (or the Apple/Linux, etc. equivalent) twice, to select everything, then click Data, then Sort, select "Header Row", and then the column by which you want to sort.

I did this for several nutrients, and created a couple ratios based on simple formulas (for example ω-6:3), marking bad numbers as red, good as blue (really good or bad, also bolded). There are some inconsistencies in the color-coding, apparent and real (laziness, desire to post this instead of waiting for perfection, etc.), especially relating to ω-3 and -6 values ("bad" ratio doesn't matter if absolute amount of ω-6 is low). I entered some zeros in blank areas (sometimes "0.001" to avoid divide-by-zero errors), and colored them brown to remember it's not a real number.

Then one can just read from left to right for a particular item and get a quick sense of its virtues and vices -- well, I can, according to my criteria.

To do: add more individual fatty acids (if one added palmitoleic acid -- the ω-7 FA macadamias are rich in -- macadamias would appear even better than they do), add more food items (flax seeds would be important to others, for ex. -- I hate the taste of them).

Non-nut related things that stand out: basic, non-stellar vegetables ("stellar" = arugula, various brassica, etc.) are stellar compared with nuts and seeds in most ways; also: sardines are great!

Now, some conclusions about the nuts/seeds/etc., taking items in decreasing order of goodness, according to criteria that matter to me:

Chia seeds. Amazing. Lots of ω-3; lots of minerals; lots of B vitamins; lots of fiber.
Downsides: some people worry about PUFAs and oxidation; Mn isn't very low;  I don't love the taste. See also Chia seed post.
How criteria adjustment would affect ranking: it wouldn't (aside from the concerns in the post about chia seeds, which I'm completely unconvinced by -- but need to investigate; could be a big "aside").

Walnuts. Very good. Lots of ω-3; low SFA; good amount of lots of minerals; lots of fiber; various phytochemicals that are likely healthy (not shown in CRON-O-Meter). Tasty.
Downsides: Some people (sort of including me) worry about PUFAs and oxidation; not a tiny amount of ω-6; Mn isn't very low; really hard to find good quality (see coming post about purchasing).
How criteria adjustment would affect ranking: If I could be certain about quality, and, to a lesser degree, if I thought Mn didn't matter much, I'd eat tons of these. TONS!

Pistachios. Very good. Not so high SFA, low Mn; decent overall "B-score" ("B" as in B vitamins); curiously high amounts of phytochemicals (not in spreadsheet) and even carotenoids (not all in spreadsheet or CRON-O-Meter).
Downsides: zero ω-3; middling levels of ω-6; Mn isn't very low. Cost per calorie highest of nuts/seeds/oils (if that matters).
How criteria adjustment would affect ranking: If they were cheaper, and I thought Mn didn't matter much, I'd probably put up with the bad ω-6:3 ratio and eat more of these.

Avocados. Good. Decent "B-score". Lots of MUFA. Lots of E. Low Mn, low Cu. Very cheap per calorie. Tasty!
Downsides: Like olive oil, fairly high SFA (and, also like olive oil, the vast majority as 16:0!).
How criteria adjustment would affect ranking: If I thought the 16:0, while high compared to most nuts, is still low enough not to cause problems, I'd eat lots of avocados.

Almonds. Good. OK "B-score". Low SFA. Lots of MUFA. Lots of E. Very cheap per calorie. Fairly tasty.
Downsides: zero ω-3; non-tiny (though not huge) amount of ω-6.
How criteria adjustment would affect ranking: If I thought Mn didn't matter much, I'd probably put up with the bad ω-6:3 ratio and eat more of these. (Eating a fair amount as it is.)

Hazelnuts. Not so great (mostly because of the Mn). Low-fat, very low SFA, fair amount of MUFA, but that's it.
Downsides: Low B-score; really high levels of Mn.
How criteria adjustment would affect ranking: If I thought Mn didn't matter much, I'd eat more of these.

Olive oil. Lots of MUFA, polyphenols. Very cheap per calorie. Tasty.
Downsides: Do I really want to be scarfing down tons of refined oil? The "it's not natural" isn't a completely brainless argument, esp. in light of the weakness of observational studies. Like avocados, fairly high SFA (and, also like avocados, the vast majority as 16:0!).
How criteria adjustment would affect ranking: ? My plan is to get the massively high polyphenol olive oil and have 15-20 g day.

 

Macadamias. Lots of B1 (though not other Bs); tons of oleic; lots of ω-7. Really tasty.
Downsides: Middling levels of Mn; high SFA, for a nut.
How criteria adjustment would affect ranking: If I thought the SFA didn't matter so much, and, to some degree, that dietary Mn didn't matter much, I'd eat tons of these. I love them.

Sesame seeds. Lots of possibly good plant sterols. Decent B1 (though not other Bs). Good Ca, lots of gamma-tocopherol. Really tasty.
Downsides: Tons of ω-6, low B-score (aside from B1). Lots of Cu, not so low Mn. High SFA, for a nut.
How criteria adjustment would affect ranking: If I thought the Ca were fairly absorbable, and important to get via food instead of supplements, and if Cu concerns really can be "Zn-supplemented away", would eat more, almost entirely because of the taste.
 
The others. Unsure. More research needed. Cashews? Lost of Cu, lots of SFA, but as 18:0, not 16:0. Salmon and sardines: good!
Occurs to me a wiki or a Google Doc, that can be updated and manipulated by lots of people, would be good here, since discussion will lead to frequent tweakings of the above list and criteria.
 
 
Questions.
 
Does dietary Mn matter? If not, or not much, I'd greatly increase my hazelnut consumption, and generally eat more nuts with less worry!
 
Does saturated fatty acid (mostly palmitic) matter, at the levels seen in nuts/etc. (compare goat cheese!)? If not, or not much, I'd increase my macadamia consumption (greatly, if Mn also doesn't matter much) -- and would also increase avocado consumption.
 
Zeta

Edited by Zeta

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Thanks Zeta - very helpful table!

 

My favorite nuts, which I eat every day, are walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts. I also eat 1/2 a brazil nut daily for the selenium (yes I know selenium content varies wildly depending on the type of soil brazil nuts are grown in...).

 

Seeds not on your list that I consume regularly in small quantities (as a mix) are: flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), hemp seeds (not just the hearts).

 

 

Does dietary Mn matter? If not, or not much, I'd greatly increase my hazelnut consumption, and generally eat more nuts with less worry!

 

Regarding dietary manganese - is there evidence to support the idea of its toxicity? I did some searching and couldn't find much to support concern. The neurotoxicity cases in humans all seem to be through acute (usually occupational) exposure through inhalation of manganese-ladened dust [1]. It appears the human body is pretty good at either not absorbing dietary Manganese in the first place, or filtering out quickly in the liver [2]. From the full text of [3]:

 

Mn absorption by the gastrointestinal tract is influenced by several factors. For example, the concentration of Mn in the diet is known to influence the amount of Mn absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract as well as its elimination via the bile. Adaptive changes to high dietary Mn intake include reduced gastrointestinal tract absorption, enhanced liver metabolism, and increased biliary and pancreatic excretion of this metal (Britton and Cotzias, 1966; Davis et al., 1993; Dorman et al., 2001, 2002; Finley and Davis, 1999; Malecki et al., 1996). Mn absorption from the diet is also influenced by the presence of other trace minerals, phytate, ascorbic acid, and other dietary constituents (Davidsson et al., 1991).

 

 

This helpful Dr. Greger video :) on hibiscus tea pointed me to this interesting paper [4] that tells a similar story. They found that tea drinkers had a significantly greater intake of Manganese, sometimes over 10mg/day, but didn't have elevated blood levels relative to non-tea drinkers:

 

Dietary Mn intakes (mean (range)) were significantly lower (P < 0.0001)
in non tea drinkers (3.2 mg/day (0.5-6.5)) than tea drinkers (5.5 mg/day (2-12)
or 10 mg/day (5-20) depending upon the value used for Mn levels of black tea).
Whole blood, plasma Mn levels and expression of MnSOD and cAP-P did not differ
between the groups.

 

It seems that food sources should be even less of a concern than tea, due to lower absorption potential.

 

Regarding saturated fat. I'm not convinced it's harmless. Clearly it raises serum LDL cholesterol, and while its oxidized cholesterol that matters for heart disease, without excess cholesterol in the first place there is a lot lower chance of oxidized cholesterol accumulation. Hence I avoid macadamia nuts.

 

--Dean

 

---------

[1] Neurotoxicology. 1999 Apr-Jun;20(2-3):213-23.

Nutritional aspects of manganese from experimental studies.

Keen CL(1), Ensunsa JL, Watson MH, Baly DL, Donovan SM, Monaco MH, Clegg MS.

Author information:
(1)Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.
clkeen@ucdavis.edu

In experimental animals, dietary manganese deficiency can result in numerous
biochemical and structural abnormalities. Deficient animals can be characterized
by impaired insulin production, alterations in lipoprotein metabolism, an
impaired oxidant defense system, and perturbations in growth factor metabolism.
If the deficiency occurs during early development, there can be pronounced
skeletal abnormalities and an irreversible ataxia. Several lines of evidence
suggest that manganese deficiency may be a problem in some human populations.
Manganese toxicity can also pose a significant health risk. In experimental
animals, acute manganese toxicity can result in numerous biochemical pathologies.
However, the above occurs typically when the manganese is given via injection;
most animals show considerable resistance to dietary manganese toxicosis.
Similarly, confirmed cases of manganese toxicity in humans are currently
restricted to cases of exposure to high levels of airborne manganese, and to
cases when manganese excretory pathways are compromised.


PMID: 10385885

 

---------------------

[2] J Nutr. 1998 Feb;128(2 Suppl):368S-371S.

Dietary standards for manganese: overlap between nutritional and toxicological
studies.

Greger JL(1).

Author information:
(1)Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706,
USA.

The Estimated Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intake (ESADDI) for adults for
manganese is 2-5 mg Mn/d. The LOAEL (lowest-observable-adverse-effect level) for
manganese in water is 0.06 mg Mn/(kg.d) or 4.2 mg Mn/d for a 70-kg individual.
The inconsistency in these standards reflects limitations in the available data
as well as differences in the way in which the standards are calculated.
Manganese balance and excretion data are not useful biomarkers of manganese
exposure but do demonstrate that the body is protected against manganese toxicity
primarily by low absorption and/or rapid presystemic elimination of manganese by
the liver.
Serum manganese concentrations in combination with lymphocyte
manganese-dependent superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) activity, and perhaps blood
arginase activity, seem to be the best way to monitor ingestion of insufficient
manganese. Serum manganese concentrations in combination with brain magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and perhaps a battery of neurofunctional tests,
seem to be the best way to monitor excessive exposure to manganese.

PMID: 9478027

 

-------------

[3] Mol Aspects Med. 2005 Aug-Oct;26(4-5):353-62.

Nutritional aspects of manganese homeostasis.

Aschner JL(1), Aschner M.

Author information:
(1)Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN
37232, USA.

Manganese (Mn) is an essential mineral. It is present in virtually all diets at
low concentrations. The principal route of intake for Mn is via food consumption,
but in occupational cohorts, inhalation exposure may also occur (this subject
will not be dealt with in this review). Humans maintain stable tissue levels of
Mn. This is achieved via tight homeostatic control of both absorption and
excretion.
Nevertheless, it is well established that exposure to high oral,
parenteral or ambient air concentrations of Mn can result in elevations in tissue
Mn levels. Excessive Mn accumulation in the central nervous system (CNS) is an
established clinical entity, referred to as manganism. It resembles idiopathic
Parkinson's disease (IPD) in its clinical features, resulting in adverse
neurological effects both in laboratory animals and humans. This review focuses
on an area that to date has received little consideration, namely the potential
exposure of parenterally fed neonates to exceedingly high Mn concentrations in
parenteral nutrition solutions, potentially increasing their risk for Mn-induced
adverse health sequelae. The review will consider (1) the essentiality of Mn; (2)
the concentration ranges, means and variation of Mn in various foods and infant
formulas; (3) the absorption, distribution, and elimination of Mn after oral
exposure and (4) the factors that raise a theoretical concern that neonates
receiving total parenteral nutrition (TPN) are exposed to excessive dietary Mn.

PMID: 16099026

 

-------------

[4] Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006 Jan;60(1):1-8.

Influence of tea drinking on manganese intake, manganese status and leucocyte
expression of MnSOD and cytosolic aminopeptidase P.

Hope S(1), Daniel K, Gleason KL, Comber S, Nelson M, Powell JJ.

Author information:
(1)WRc-NSF Ltd, Henley Road, Medmenham, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, UK.

OBJECTIVE: Since black tea contains high levels of manganese (Mn), we
investigated the relationship between dietary Mn intake, circulating Mn levels
and leucocyte expression of two Mn-dependent enzymes in tea drinkers and non-tea
drinkers.
DESIGN: We assessed Mn intakes (food frequency questionnaire), fasting whole
blood and plasma Mn levels, and quantitative expression of peripheral blood
mononuclear cell Mn-dependent superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) and cytosolic
aminopeptidase-P (cAP-P).
SETTING AND SUBJECTS: In total, 24 tea drinkers (> or = 1 l black tea/day) and 28
non-tea drinkers were recruited from the staff and students of King's College
London by circular email.
RESULTS: Dietary Mn intakes (mean (range)) were significantly lower (P < 0.0001)
in non tea drinkers (3.2 mg/day (0.5-6.5)) than tea drinkers (5.5 mg/day (2-12)
or 10 mg/day (5-20) depending upon the value used for Mn levels of black tea).
Whole blood, plasma Mn levels and expression of MnSOD and cAP-P did not differ
between the groups.
In a continuous analysis, whole blood Mn levels and
expression of MnSOD correlated inversely but no other parameters associated with
each other.
CONCLUSIONS: Tea drinking is a major source of dietary Mn and intakes commonly
exceed proposed adequate intake values of 1.8-2.3 mg Mn/day and, on occasion,
exceed upper limits of 10-11 mg/day. Dietary Mn intake has little influence on
markers of Mn status or expression of Mn-dependent enzymes. Fasting whole blood
Mn levels and leucocyte expression of MnSOD could, together, be further
investigated as markers of Mn status.

PMID: 16118651

Edited by Dean Pomerleau

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Dean, thanks! Your post has helped me edge towards not worrying as much about Mn.

 

I believe I am indeed going to start over with a new Excel sheet, so stay tuned. There are too many other items I want to add. Dean, I'll add the seeds you eat, also.

 

 

 

Regarding dietary manganese - is there evidence to support the idea of its toxicity? I did some searching and couldn't find much to support concern.

 

There's not a lot, no. But read through the safety section at the Linus Pauling Institute. A lot of the information is on frank toxicity: that doesn't worry me, of course. I'm thinking more about long-term effects of slightly too high intake. And would low iron status (which you and I both have) create additional concerns? Probably not. The study (abstract only) the institute cites apparently only address iron-deficiency. But still: nervous -- but less so after reading your post, so, again, thanks!

 

As for SFA, I understand your decision about macadamia nuts. I'm unusually motivated by taste here! I like walnuts almost as much, though, so I should probably eat more walnuts instead. If only I could get really good ones.... (More on that in a coming post.)

 

Zeta

Edited by Zeta

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A couple new posts coming in a few days. Meanwhile, I can report that hemp seeds look amazingly good! The one problem is a high cys+met:protein ratio.

 

Zeta

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Boy, this playing around with Excel spreadsheets is fun -- and useful!

 

Dean, I added all the items you mentioned (not simply as a favor to you, but I figured if you ate them, there was probably reason to believe I might want to eat them).

 

See

 

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B-jAMGxHPyw7NTc4RTdTUlY3aGs&usp=sharing

 

for latest version.

 

As before, I made copies of a few nutrients (columns) and added them to the left of the spreadsheet, to make it easier to compare more important nutrients, but I didn't do that with minerals this time. I also added a new metric: met+cys:protein ratio ("M+C:prot").

 

Some (new) highlights:

 

Almonds are great for those trying to limit met and cys (while nonetheless getting a goodly amount of protein).

 

Hemp seeds are good in most ways, but: high met+cys: protein ratio (of course, this partly explains why they're considered a good plant-based "complete" protein) -- though not as high as chia or sesame seeds (both of which have a higher ratio than sardines!) -- and really high manganese -- more than hazelnuts. But, again, that might not matter so much.

 

Pumpkin seeds (USDA has them as "Pumpkin or Squash seeds) don't look so great.

 

Sunflower seeds are great sources of B vitamins -- maybe the best among all seeds/nuts, depending on which B vitamins matter -- and tons of E. A lot of omega-6, like most seeds, but I'm increasingly doubtful that that matters much.

 

Zeta

Edited by Zeta

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Thanks Zeta! Your updated and revised table is extremely helpful.

 

Some (new) highlights:

 

Sunflower seeds are great sources of B vitamins -- maybe the best among all seeds/nuts, depending on which B vitamins matter -- and tons of E. A lot of omega-6, like most seeds, but I'm increasingly doubtful that that matters much.

 

I also note that for those who want to get selenium from dietary sources without eating anchovies or Brazil nuts, the best sources are chia, sunflower, hemp and flax seeds in that order. Of course you'd need to eat 500kcal of the richest of them (chia seeds), to get the RDI of 55 mcg. Or you could risk overdosing with half a Brazil nut per day as I do  :)xyz .

 

--Dean

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I still believe in Walford's advice that getting all known, needed nutrients from one's non-supplemented diet will mean that it's more likely than otherwise that one would be getting needed, but not yet known (or not yet known to be essential) nutrients as well. But Se is an exception for me: I supplement a small amount when my CRON-O-Meter total doesn't reach 100% RDA (which is most days). The brazil nut option seems too hit or miss.

 

Zeta

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Another highlight -- related not to nuts but to one of my "for the heck of it" comparison items: look at the met+cys:protein ratio of carrots! (High almost entirely because of cys.) Amazing. And carrots don't have a tiny amount of protein (per calorie); indeed, they have more protein than several nuts -- not just macadamias (that's a low bar), but also pecans and pine nuts. So, aside from the alpha-carotene, carrots aren't a great staple food for those limiting met+cys.

 

Zeta

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Seeds not on your list that I consume regularly in small quantities (as a mix) are: flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), hemp seeds (not just the hearts).

 

In preparation for a coming post, I'm wondering: where do you get your hemp seeds? Nuts.com? (Yikes, huge price difference between organic (raw, no shell) and conventional.)

 

I see nothing on where they're grown. I hope not China (likely Canada).

 

(Wasn't nuts.com the site people liked because they freely gave info about where they source their products? Maybe one must call.)

 

Zeta

Edited by Zeta

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Zeta,

 

Yes, I get my whole hemp seeds (in shell) from Nuts.com. As you noticed, they are non-organic. They are a LOT less expensive, and I figure the shells (really just pods) may have some value, at least for the fiber. I'm not sure about where they come from, but I'm sure they'd tell you if you ask. They are super-helpful.

 

--Dean

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Manganese: I wouldn't put much stock in near-term studies on bioavailability: for most metals, and many vitamins, blood levels don't tell you anything much about functional status or body burden, and unfortunately we don't have good functional biomarkers for most of them. It certainly finds itself into the brains of rats when fed via diet.(4) Dean, you seem to have missed it, but in a previous post I delineated some evidence of the neurotoxicity of dietary manganese:
 

Massive manganese exposure in welders is known to cause a Parkinsonian syndrome, and there's substantial evidence that very high levels of Mn in drinking water can cause it too. EPA has an aesthetic-based limit (taste and clothes staining) of 50 ppb; "California has set a health-based notification level of 500 ppb;" New York has a Maximum Contaminant Level for manganese of 300 ppb, and "If iron and manganese are present, the total concentration of both should not exceed 0.5 mg/L. Your local water supplier should be publishing annual water quality reports on their website; I'm not sure whether Fe and Mn are required to be on these, but they have been in the last several communities in which I've lived, across several states.

Whether the same is true of dietary Mn is not known, but some studies suggest that it may be. Most of these are studies conducted in neonatal rodents, who of course are not humans IAC and whose Mn metabolism is apparently not yet properly-developed at the ages in question, but see (1), in humans (weak, case-control, high-Fe interaction probably doesn't apply to me or anyone not eating a ton of red meat). During past efforts, I have found it very hard to meaningfully lower my Mn intake in the context of a vegetarian, grain-averse CR diet.

Reference
1: Powers KM, Smith-Weller T, Franklin GM, Longstreth WT Jr, Swanson PD,
Checkoway H. Parkinson's disease risks associated with dietary iron, manganese,
and other nutrient intakes. Neurology. 2003 Jun 10;60(11):1761-6. PubMed PMID:
12796527.


PD is such a rare disease, and it's so late-onset, that it's very difficult to do conventional (and more reliable) prospective epidemiology on the question. But combined with other evidence of neurotoxicity (from other routes, and from evidence from food and water in children (below)), efforts to avoid excessive intake seems prudent.

"Other evidence:" the CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry documents some reasons for concern in the "Health Effects" section of the manganese report, with animal studies finding harm at high (in some cases very high and with no intermediate values) dietary manganese causes harm to the cardiovascular system (particularly when Mg intakes are low) and that high dietary or water Mn exposure causes neurological harm in children. There is additional evidence on the latter in a recent review (3):
 

The average daily intake for many Western diets is between 2.3 and 8.8 mg [44], but this can be much higher. Consumption of food or water contaminated with high levels of Mn has toxic consequences [45]. For example, the water supply in Bangladesh is contaminated with Mn up to 2.0 mg/L [46], which is fourfold higher than the WHO standard for drinking water of 400 µg/L [47]. Studies among school children suggest that increased levels of Mn in the drinking water in Bangladesh area are inversely associated with students’ achievement scores in mathematics [48]. High levels of Mn in drinking water in Canada have been found to lead to significantly higher levels of Mn in hair samples in school-age children. The increased hair Mn concentrations are significantly associated with increased hyperactive behaviors [49], impaired cognitive development [47], and a decrease in IQ points [50]. [...] It is alarming that the high Mn concentration in drinking water is not solely a public health issue unique to developing countries; approximately 5.2 % of the 2167 wells surveyed across the USA exceeded the health benchmark of 300 µg/L [52].

Another potential source of oral exposure is from consuming milk- or soy-based infant formulas, which contain high levels of Mn. [...] The higher level of dietary Mn intake has been suggested to be associated with the risk of developing the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) [56]. ((3) below)


Two additional studies add further evidence:
 

In this study, we report results of a cross-sectional investigation of intellectual function in 142 10-year-old children in Araihazar, Bangladesh, who had been consuming tube-well water with an average concentration of 793 microg Mn/L and 3 microg arsenic/L. Children and mothers came to our field clinic, where children received a medical examination [...] After adjustment for sociodemographic covariates, water Mn was associated with reduced Full-Scale, Performance, and Verbal raw scores, in a dose-response fashion; the low level of As in water had no effect. In the United States, roughly 6% of domestic household wells have Mn concentrations that exceed 300 microg Mn/L, the current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lifetime health advisory level. We conclude that in both Bangladesh and the United States, some children are at risk for Mn-induced neurotoxicity.(2)


We examined associations of exposure from concentrations of manganese in water and hair with memory, attention, motor function, and parent- and teacher-reported hyperactive behaviors. [From the full text: "This cross-sectional study was conducted in eight municipalities located in southern Quebec (Canada) in 2007–2009. Municipalities were considered as potential study sites if their aqueduct was supplied by groundwater, and were selected to achieve a gradient of MnW [Mn in Water]. However, we did not limit our recruitment to children living in houses connected to the aqueduct, and many participating children lived in a house with a private well (we had no information on the MnW in private wells before recruitment). ... [E]nrollment was restricted to children who had lived in the same house for > 3 months ... A total of 375 children 6–13 years of age participated in the study."] ...

After adjusting for potential confounders, a 1-SD increase in log10 MnH [hair Mn] was [linearly] associated with a significant difference of -24% (95% CI: -36, -12%) SD in memory and -25% (95% CI: -41, -9%) SD in attention. [...] A 1-SD increase in log10 MnW was associated with a significant difference of -14% (95% CI: -24, -4%) SD in memory, and this relation was nonlinear, with a steeper decline in performance at MnW > 100 μg/L. A 1-SD increase in log10 manganese intake from water was [linearly] associated with a significant difference of -11% (95% CI: -21, -0.4%) SD in motor function. ...

CONCLUSION: Exposure to manganese in water was associated with poorer neurobehavioral performances in children, even at low levels commonly encountered in North America.(1)


Again, when you put together the very solid evidence linking airborne Mn to Parkinsonism with weaker evidence of PD from dietary Mn and moderately-good evidence of neurological harm (including to motor function) in children, I'd say there's a good case to be made to try to avoid it.

And, unfortunately, this is a very difficult thing to do with many otherwise very healthy dietary practices typical of CR folk.
 

I still believe in Walford's advice [favoring] getting all known, needed nutrients from one's non-supplemented diet ... But Se is an exception for me: I supplement a small amount when my CRON-O-Meter total doesn't reach 100% RDA (which is most days). The brazil nut option seems too hit or miss.


It's much worse than hit or miss.
 

Analysis was performed on 72 individual nuts obtained in stores as shelled nuts in bulk and shelled and unshelled nuts in packages. Their average selenium content was 14.66 ppm with a range of 0.2 to 253.0.(5)


This range is WAY too wide to be considered a safe source of Se -- especially granted that all of the nuts in a bag or bin are likely to come from the same crop: if you're unlucky enough to buy a high-Se bag of nuts, you could be taking toxic doses every day for months or a year if you only eat 1-2/d to get the RDA.
 
I'm surprised, IAC, that you have trouble getting the RDA of Se: I always get >1.5x.

Hempseed: way too high in n6 for my taste (ditto for walnuts and definitely sunflower seeds!). What are you targeting? The IOM "Adequate intake" for linolenic acid omega-6 (meaning, not the mimimum you actually need, but a level that is confidently judged to be more than enough cover whatever the as-yet-undetermined real requirement) is 17 g LA/d for young men and 12 g/d for young women, but there's epidemiological and mechanistic reasons to want it to be lower, particularly if you get your n3 from ALA rather than fish (oil); the World Health Organization (WHO)  recommendations for fats and fatty acids posit an acceptable macronutrient distribution range (AMDR) of 2.5-9% of energy, with av'g requirement at 2% of energy and an individual nutrient level  ("the recommended level of nutrient intake for all healthy people in the population, which is set at a certain level x above the mean requirement") of 2.5% of energy.(6) At 1850 Calories, eg, that's just 5 g! Again, arachidonic acid counts "extra" because it's already metabolized.

I am to get no more (and not much less) than 12 g/d.

References
1: Oulhote Y, Mergler D, Barbeau B, Bellinger DC, Bouffard T, Brodeur MÈ, Saint-Amour D, Legrand M, Sauvé S, Bouchard MF. Neurobehavioral function in school-age children exposed to manganese in drinking water. Environ Health Perspect. 2014 Dec;122(12):1343-50. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1307918. Epub 2014 Sep 26. PubMed PMID: 25260096; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4256698.

2: Wasserman GA, Liu X, Parvez F, Ahsan H, Levy D, Factor-Litvak P, Kline J, van Geen A, Slavkovich V, LoIacono NJ, Cheng Z, Zheng Y, Graziano JH. Water manganese exposure and children's intellectual function in Araihazar, Bangladesh. Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Jan;114(1):124-9. PubMed PMID: 16393669; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1332667.

3: O'Neal SL, Zheng W. Manganese Toxicity Upon Overexposure: a Decade in Review. Curr Environ Health Rep. 2015 Sep;2(3):315-28. doi: 10.1007/s40572-015-0056-x. PubMed PMID: 26231508; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4545267.

4: Foster ML, Bartnikas TB, Johnson LC, Herrera C, Pettiglio MA, Keene AM, Taylor MD, Dorman DC. Pharmacokinetic evaluation of the equivalency of gavage, dietary, and drinking water exposure to manganese in F344 rats. Toxicol Sci. 2015 Jun;145(2):244-51. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfv047. Epub 2015 Feb 26. PubMed PMID: 25724921; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4490190.

5: Carol L. Secor, Donald J. Lisk. Variation In The selenium Content of Individual brazil Nuts. Journal of Food Safety Volume 9, Issue 4, pages 279–281, January 1989
 
6: Elmadfa I, Kornsteiner M. Fats and fatty acid requirements for adults. Ann Nutr Metab. 2009;55(1-3):56-75. doi: 10.1159/000228996. Epub 2009 Sep 15. Review. PubMed PMID: 19752536.

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Alright Michael, you've convinced me with your dire warning about brazil nuts and selenium overdosing. I'll switch to taking 1/2 the RDA of selenium from a supplement. As for manganese, as you say it's tough to figure out how to avoid that one on an (otherwise) healthy plant-based diet.

 

Thanks once again,

 

--Dean

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Regarding Michael's:  "I wouldn't put much stock in near-term studies on bioavailability: for most metals, and many vitamins, blood levels don't tell you anything ...."

 

Is there an interesting more general perspective to be derived from this?  If you find something (anything) in the blood then, pretty much by definition, it is there because the body wants to *transport* it from where it was to someplace else.  But how often is blood a storage medium for anything?  I suppose it is a major storage medium for oxygen.  And if you are grossly deficient some nutrient there isn't likely to be a lot of it in the blood.   

 

Nevertheless, evidence of it in the blood tells us primarily that the body needs to move it to a new place, not that you have adequate or inadequate stores of it?

 

Rodney.

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Just a quick note about hemp seeds:

 

1. They apparently contain no or little phytic acid, which is why many claim they don't need to be soaked (this, for those who, like me, always soak nuts/seeds, and even sprout, a bit, where possible -- again, more on that in coming "How to eat/prepare" post). For now I'm not going to soak them, even though there might be other antinutrients (1) in them. Have to look into that.

 

2. They are delicious!!! I mean, wow. Yummy. But all that damn Mn....

 

Zeta

 

(1) What's this antinutrient business, you may wonder? More later, but Google will give you a brief orientation. It's a bit controversial. For me, it's a practical matter: when I made a few changes in my diet, including only or nearly only eating nuts after a long soak, my gut health improved.

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By the way, a slightly updated version of the spreadsheet is available. Added price. Interestingly, most nuts and seeds and other "good oil" sources (avocado and olive oil) -- the ones I buy: organic in most cases, though not avocados or Amphora Nueva olive oil -- are very close to the same price per calorie: 0.5 to 0.6 U.S. cents per calorie. Exceptions: olive oil is cheaper, and macadamias are around 0.7 cents and pistachios are close to 0.8 cents.

Edited by Zeta

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Al Pater posted this new review [1] of the phytochemical content of various nuts (thanks Al!). Here is the main table from the paper:

 

HubbKSw.png

 

Zeta, relative to your table, this data generally agrees, although the exact values aren't the same. The 'winning' nuts for the various phytochemicals you list are generally high in this table too. But this one has extra nuts, extra phytochemicals and some phytonutrient values for some nuts that your table is missing. I've highlighted the 'star nuts' for the various categories.

 

Two nuts I haven't given much consideration to, chestnuts and pecans, did quite well across a range of categories. I've always considered chestnuts a pain because apparently they need to be cooked to reduce their tannin level. The microwave method looks pretty easy, but for any of these cooking methods I'd worry about peroxidation. Amazon sells organic chestnuts already roasted and peeled, with generally good reviews, and a good price ($8/lb) but the country of origin is China, so I'm hesitant...  Nuts.com sells chestnuts, both fresh in the shell ($10/lb) and dried/pealed ($14/lb). Both need to be cooked though. Living Nutz (Zeta's favorite nut vendor) doesn't appear to sell them.

 

 Does anyone consume chestnuts regularly, and if so, where do you buy them and how do you prepare them?

 

--Dean

 

---------

[1] Review of nut phytochemicals, fat-soluble bioactives, antioxidant components and health effects.

Alasalvar C, Bolling BW.
Br J Nutr. 2015 Apr;113 Suppl 2:S68-78. doi: 10.1017/S0007114514003729. Review.

Abstract

The levels of phytochemicals (total phenols, proanthocyanidins, gallic acid+gallotannins, ellagic acid+ellagitannins, flavonoids, phenolic acids, stilbenes and phytates), fat-soluble bioactives (lipid, tocols, phytosterols, sphingolipids, carotenoids, chlorophylls and alkyl phenols) as well as natural antioxidants (nutrient and non-nutrient) present in commonly consumed twelve nuts (almond, Brazil nut, cashew, chestnut, hazelnut, heartnut, macadamia, peanut, pecan, pine nut, pistachio and walnut) are compared and reported. Recent studies adding new evidence for the health benefits of nuts are also discussed. Research findings from over 112 references, many of which have been published within last 10 years, have been compiled and reported.

 

PMID: 26148924

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Just a quick note about hemp seeds:

 

1. They apparently contain no or little phytic acid, which is why many claim they don't need to be soaked (this, for those who, like me, always soak nuts/seeds, and even sprout, a bit, where possible -- again, more on that in coming "How to eat/prepare" post). For now I'm not going to soak them, even though there might be other antinutrients (1) in them. Have to look into that.

 

2. They are delicious!!! I mean, wow. Yummy. But all that damn Mn....

 

Zeta

 

(1) What's this antinutrient business, you may wonder? More later, but Google will give you a brief orientation. It's a bit controversial. For me, it's a practical matter: when I made a few changes in my diet, including only or nearly only eating nuts after a long soak, my gut health improved.

I'm curious if the Ca:P ratio in the diet is of importance, as hemp seeds seem to have a very low ratio here (and a CR vegan diet seems to be fairly low here.)  If I recall, a higher intake of Ca is necessary into higher intakes of dietary protein.  Often, phosphorus is bound to phytic acid to limit bioavailability, which wouldn't be the case in hemp seed (high in phosphorus, low in calcium, low in phytic acid.)

 

 
"It is reasonable to assume that measuring serum phosphorus in people with normal renal function cannot adequately reflect early disturbances in phosphorus metabolism due to high phosphorus consumption."  "Adverse health outcomes have been associated with normal serum phosphorus concentrations, suggesting that in individuals with adequate kidney function, the measurement of tightly controlled serum phosphorus levels may misrepresent the detrimental effect of high dietary phosphorus intake.  A a recent study found that daily phosphorus intakes more than twice the RDA (i.e., >1,400 mg/day) were significantly associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality": http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24225358
 

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I have found chestnuts to be problematic.  But they seem to be the ONLY nut with an astonishingly low overall fat level.

 

When I have bought them 'fresh' in the fruits-and-vegetables aisle of grocery stores, not infrequently some are already mouldy inside the 'shell'.  And if they aren't mouldy the day I buy them, they soon are.

 

Similarly, preparation is difficult.  Some parts of them tend to burn while other parts are still raw.  I have never tried eating them uncooked.

  

Given the above, if you have a good source of palatable already-prepared/roasted chestnuts, that would seem to me to be the ideal situation.   Thanks for the input on this.  I may check out Amazon as a source myself. 

 

Rodney.

 

============

 

"The unverified conventional wisdom is almost invariably mistaken."

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Rodney,

 

I have found chestnuts to be problematic.  But they seem to be the ONLY nut with an astonishingly low overall fat level.

 

Thanks for pointing out that relative to other nuts, chestnuts are very low in fat and calorie. Note: I'm talking about tree chestnuts, not to be confused with water chestnuts which are ever lower in calorie, but not a nut at all, but the root bulbs of a water-growing plant. 

 

Given that chestnuts have only a little over 1/3 the calories per gram as other nuts (e.g. 245 kcal/100g chestnuts vs. 654 kcal/100g walnuts), the polyphenol advantage of chestnuts in the table above from PMID: 26148924 becomes even more dramatic on a per calorie basis. By my calculations based on the above chart, chestnuts have over 4x the total phenols per calorie as the second closest nut competitor, walnuts. The phenols in chestnuts are primarily gallic acid and ellagic acid, which are the same polyphenols that pomegranates are rich in [1], and which are thought to the reason pomegranates are so healthy.

 

So I might try adding roasted chestnuts to my mix of nuts - these organic ones from Amazon which are only $6/lb. It's the season for them after all  :)xyz.

 

Anyone have any serious reservations about chestnuts that would make me change my mind?

 

--Dean

 

------------

[1] Pharmacogn Mag. 2011 Apr;7(26):161-4. doi: 10.4103/0973-1296.80681.

Total phenolic distribution of juice, peel, and seed extracts of four pomegranate
cultivars.

Gözlekçi S(1), Saraçoğlu O, Onursal E, Ozgen M.
 

Free full text: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2015/938475/

 

The total phenolic distribution of juice, peel, and seed extracts of four Turkish
pomegranate, Punica granatum L., cultivars ("Lefan," "Katirbasi,"
"Cekirdeksiz-IV," and "Asinar") was investigated. Total phenolic compounds were
determined with the Folin-Ciocalteu colorimetric method. The results showed that
the levels of total phenolic compounds changed depending on cultivars and fruit
parts. In all cultivars, the highest levels of total phenolic content were
obtained from the peel extracts. The total phenolic content ranged from 1775.4 to
3547.8 mg gallic acid equivalent (GAE)/L among the cultivars. However, the total
phenolic content of pomegranate juice and seed extract ranged from 784.4 to
1551.5 mg GAE/L and 117.0 to 177.4 mg GAE/L, respectively. "Lefan" displayed the
highest amount of the total phenolic content among the four popular cultivars
tested.

PMCID: PMC3113357
PMID: 21716925

 

----------

[2] Quality Assurance and Safety of Crops & Foods

Volume 4, Issue 4, pages 199–205, December 2012
DOI: 10.1111/j.1757-837X.2012.00180.x
 
Phenolic compounds and antioxidant activities of chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) fruits
 
Semih Otles* and Ilknur Selek
 
Abstract
Introduction
Anatolia is one of the original centers of European chestnut production. Therefore, chestnut fruits were procured from four regions, 16 provinces in which chestnuts are grown in Turkey and examined in terms of phenolic content, antioxidant activity and some phenolic compounds.
 
Objectives
Chestnut has become increasingly important because of positive health effects. We aimed to determine whether chestnut is a natural antioxidant source and to learn the phenolic profiles of chestnuts of some provinces of Turkey.
 
Methods
Total phenolic contents, total antioxidant capacities and specific phenolic compounds of chestnuts were determined. Fifteen antioxidant standards were used in high-performance liquid chromatography with diode-array etection for phenolic compounds' analyses.
 
Results
The results show that the total phenolic contents varied between 5 mg GAE g−1 DM and 32.82 mg GAE g−1 DM. All chestnut samples had no significant differences statistically in terms of total antioxidant capacity. Among the specific phenolic analytes, myricetin, kaempferol, fumaric acid and quercetin were not found in any chestnut. In all chestnut samples, vanillic acid was determined in relatively high amounts.
 
Conclusion
It could be concluded that total phenolic contents and specific phenolic compounds varied between the provinces; the total antioxidant capacities were nearly the same statistically in Turkey.
 

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............   and not to be confused with Horse Chestnuts, either.

 

Rodney.

 

==========

 

"The unverified conventional wisdom is almost invariably mistaken."

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So, I finally got around to eating some chestnuts.  I cracked two bags open, oven baked at somewhat low temps (275F), shelled, then ran it through the food processor with some pecan butter, fresh vanilla bean, ceylon cinnamon, organic gelatinized maca root, sea salt, and some baobab fruit, then pressed it down into a baking dish and threw that in the fridge.  Fantastic, but a royal pain in the ass.  I'm thinking I could improve on this with a little bit of carrot and some citrus zest and get some sort of semi-carrot cake (minus most of the sweetener.)

 

I like a nice 50-75g amount of starch in my meals, where a slice of this unsweetened 'cake' was fantastic.  I could see throwing this into the mix more often, if it wasn't such a PITA to peel chestnuts by hand (a good portion of which seemed to have a little bit of mold or were very hard.)  Checking glucose 15m after my meal read 88 mg/dL, then checking at 35m after my meal read 80 mg/dL, where there doesn't seem to be much of an issue here with how I'm eating lately.  I suspect around the 45-60m mark I would be up somewhere in the 90's, without a spike over 100.

 

I'm curious how the polyphenols compare with something like chestnut flour (a refined carbohydrate, generally best avoided?) vs buying shelled roasted chestnuts, vs cooking them up fresh in the oven (or better boiled?)  Is the high antioxidant rating for chestnuts including the deep red skin that is discarded, or are most of the goodies found in the pale starch?

Edited by sirtuin

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Sirtuin, 

 

So, I finally got around to eating some chestnuts.  I cracked two bags open, oven baked at somewhat low temps (275F), shelled, then ran it through the food processor with some pecan butter, fresh vanilla bean, ceylon cinnamon, organic gelatinized maca root, sea salt, and some baobab fruit, then pressed it down into a baking dish and threw that in the fridge.  Fantastic, but a royal pain in the ass.  I'm thinking I could improve on this with a little bit of carrot and some citrus zest and get some sort of semi-carrot cake (minus most of the sweetener.)

 

That does sound tasty!

 

I have to report I was somewhat disappointed with the Gefen roasted and shelled chestnuts I picked up at the grocery store before the holidays, and which are also available here from Amazon.

 

They tasted OK (nothing to write home about), but were pretty mushy and didn't strike me as particularly fresh. Paul McGlothin posted a warning about AGEs in roasted chestnuts, to spoil everyone's holiday cheer on his (paywall protected  :mellow:) "Living the CR Way" website. He suggests boiling them rather than roasting them, although roasting them as you did Sirtuin at only 275F seems like it shouldn't be too bad in this regard.

 

 

I'm curious how the polyphenols compare with something like chestnut flour (a refined carbohydrate, generally best avoided?) vs buying shelled roasted chestnuts, vs cooking them up fresh in the oven (or better boiled?)  Is the high antioxidant rating for chestnuts including the deep red skin that is discarded, or are most of the goodies found in the pale starch?

 

Good question, to which I don't know the answer. I too would avoid the flower, and I would suspect the skin would have more polyphenols than the flesh, but just how much more is hard to say.

 

--Dean

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I have to report I was somewhat disappointed with the Gefen roasted and shelled chestnuts I picked up at the grocery store before the holidays, and which are also available here from Amazon.

 

They tasted OK (nothing to write home about), but were pretty mushy and didn't strike me as particularly fresh. Paul McGlothin posted a warning about AGEs in roasted chestnuts, to spoil everyone's holiday cheer on his (paywall protected  :mellow:) "Living the CR Way" website. He suggests boiling them rather than roasting them, although roasting them as you did Sirtuin at only 275F seems like it shouldn't be too bad in this regard.

I found this article interesting: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/qas.12000/abstract

 

"The results of the analyses showed that the total phenolic contents of roasted chestnuts were higher than boiled ones."

 

It looks like cooking the chestnuts dramatically increases the antioxidants via transfer of the polyphenols from the shell into the starch.  (Perhaps soaking followed by low temp baking would be ideal?)

 

Hmm..  I wonder how dry shelled / rehydrated chestnuts compare.  It would be nice if I could find a big bag of freshly boiled, organic, shelled, frozen chestnuts at my local grocery store that were ready to go.  I'm feeling a bit too lazy to peel up another bag until next season, unless I come across a better technique.

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As I mentioned earlier today in this post on the thread about precommitment tricks, I received and finally had a chance to eat some of the Galil organic, roasted, shelled chestnuts (3-20oz packages, price $6/lb) I ordered from Amazon, and compare them to the Gefen organic roasted and shelled chestnuts I picked up at the grocery store before the holidays, and which are also available here from Amazon.

 

First - appearance. Here is a picture of representative chestnuts from each source, with the Galil on the left and the Gefen on the right (see packages in background). Some of the chestnuts are pictured whole, and some I have sliced open to show the insides.

 

3IXgAZr.png

 

Here is a close-up on the nuts themselves, again with Galil on the left and Gefen on the right:

 

UtIOP3m.png

 

Visually, the only differences I can see are

  • The Galil chestnuts (on the left) are generally a little bigger
  • The Galil ones appear a little lighter - both inside and outside.

I'm not sure if the lighter color is a sign of less intense roasting, better freshness or a natural function of the chestnuts themselves. But due to the possible benefits associated with lighter color, I think I'm going to stick with the Galil ones (for now anyway - since I have 3 big bags of them!), since from a taste, texture and moisture perspective, they are quite similar - I'd go so far as to say indistinguishable.

 

I've never eaten fresh roasted chestnuts, so I can't compare taste or texture. These chestnuts definitely aren't firm or crunchy like regular nuts, and they don't taste like they have nearly the fat content of regular nuts (since indeed they don't). 

 

The best way I can figure out to describe them is as follows - to me they seem very similar in taste, firmness, "mouth feel" and moisture content to canned, cooked chickpeas, only a little bit sweeter tasting. Over the last several days they've grown on me, and I've come to really enjoy them - hence the post to the other thread about locking them up in a fridge/freezer compatible container  :)xyz. Apparently they are quite perishable, and once open should be kept in the fridge and eaten within a week or two.

 

Fortunately I've discovered they freeze really well, and I'm pretty confident this will preserve them much longer. Plus I like the more nut-like texture they have when eaten (slightly) frozen, rather than completely thawed. My plan is to snack on a few occasionally, but mainly add a small amount to my usual nut mixture, of almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and (recently - see this post for why) a few pecans, which I coarsely pulverize in my food processor to mix them together and improve their absorption. The chestnuts pulverize and mix with the other nuts much better when frozen then when moist, so storing them in the freezer has that advantage as well.

 

--Dean

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Update on Galil Chestnuts:

 

I just noticed something on the packaging of the Galil Chestnuts reviewed above that I thought some of you nut nuts might be interested in. In this post over on the "Best source of nuts" thread, Zeta expresses the desire for companies to disclose harvest dates for their nuts. I wish they would to, at least on their website if not on the package themselves. Well - I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Galil Chestnut packages have both a "Best By" date (10/08/2016 for the one's I just received, which I presume is October 2016), as well as a "Production Date" of 08/08/2015. I suppose the production date could indicate when they were roasted, and the nuts themselves could have been picked long before that. But at least it suggests they haven't been sitting on the shelf for a tremendously long time, and are perhaps more likely than not to have been harvested and roasted this fall.

 

In contrast, the Gefen chestnuts have neither a "Best By" date or a "Production Date" printed on the package - only a cryptic string of letter and digits that doesn't mean anything to me "PJ20NTD19P". So that's all the more reason to go with the Galil brand rather than the Gefen brand chestnuts.

 

It would be nice if other nut purveyors would print production / harvest dates on their nut packages...

 

--Dean

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