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The five key nutrition elements

Today most pre-packed foods carry nutrion panels on the packaging. Nutrition values are often specified by manufacturers in five elements; energy, protein, carbohydrates, fats, fibre and sometimes also vitamins and minerals.

In this section we give a short overview of the different funtions benefits for our body delivered by these elements.

Energy

Peanuts and nuts are a good source of energy. A handful of peanuts or nuts, approximately 30 grams, contains about 195 calories. Man and women can consume about 300 calories of snacks a day.

Given the numerous favourable nutrients peanuts and nuts contain, they fit nicely into a balanced diet. Still, it is important to consider the amount of energy they provide. 

Proteins

Proteins are an important building block for our body. We need them for the formation of cells, muscles, organs, the nervous system, bones and blood.

Peanuts and nuts are a good source of protein. Other sources are meat, fish, beans, milk, cheese and eggs. Nuts contain on average 16 grams of protein per 100 grams. Normal western foodstuffs usually contain a sufficient quantity of proteins.

Protein plays a role in the reduction of the sensation of hunger. It has a greater hunger satisfying effect than carbohydrates and fats. This effect is even greater in combination with fibre.

Carbohydrates

Along with fats, carbohydrates are the most important sources of energy for the body. Carbohydrates are broken down by the body to form glucose, which ends up in the bloodstream. The glucose is transported to different parts of the body via the bloodstream, where it serves as a fuel.

A shortage of glucose may manifest itself in dizziness, shaking and a feeling of hunger. Too much carbohydrate is stored as fat if it is not used.

Fats

Fat is an important source of energy for the body and for the assimilation of the vitamins A, D, E and K, since these are soluble in oil.

Fats are building materials and are indispensable to our nutrition. They can be subdivided into saturated fat and unsaturated fat. Saturated fat is also called the ‘bad’ fat, while unsaturated fat is known as the ‘good’ fat.

Peanuts and nuts are an important source of unsaturated fat. On average, of the total quantity of fat in nuts and peanuts 80-90% is unsaturated fat. It is important to our health that we choose products that are high in unsaturated fat.

Unsaturated fat can reduce our blood cholesterol level, which helps prevent the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases.

Food fibre

Food fibre is an indigestible substance that ensures that our intestines function correctly. There are different types of fibre: “water-soluble fibre” and “water-insoluble fibre”. Both types of fibre bind with water. This ensures that stools remain fluid and soft and thus can easily pass through the digestive tract.

Most foodstuffs contain a combination of both types in different quantities. Insoluble food fibre can be found mainly in whole grain products such as wheat, but can also be found in peanuts and nuts. Soluble fibre can be found in vegetables, fruit and pulses, for example.

The guideline for adults is that they should eat 30-40 grams of food fibre per day. On average, peanuts and nuts contain 5 grams of food fibre per 100 grams. This corresponds to 15% of the recommended daily amount of fibre.

A quarter of the fibre that is present in peanuts and nuts is soluble. Soluble food fibre also has a favourable effect on our cholesterol level and our blood glucose level. This last point may be useful for people who suffer from type II diabetes.