You’ll be shocked about the reasons why
Nuts are a healthy source of fat and other nutrients. As a general rule, we should be eating more of them not fewer. But some nuts are either not so healthy or cause environmental damage.
Here are 5 types of nuts that you may want to avoid.
#1 — Cashews
Cashews are very popular and generally considered to be very healthy. They contain high levels of minerals, fiber, protein, and unsaturated fat.
The problem with them is not that they’re not healthy, but that processing them causes toxins to be released that damages the health of the workers.
Cashews are the seeds of the cashew apple. Cutting the apple to get to the seeds releases toxins — cardol and anacardic acid. These are acids that easily burn the skin of the workers.
Many workers have permanent damage to their skin.
Most cashews are grown in India and Vietnam. Time magazine recently reported that they are sometimes processed by drug addicts in forced labor camps. They even termed the phrase “blood cashews”.
#2 — Almonds
Almonds are one of the most popular and healthy nuts. As well as eating the nuts raw, many also consume products such as almond butter and almond milk.
So, what’s wrong with them? Just as with cashews, the problem is the environmental damage they cause. 80% of almonds are grown in California. It takes over 1 liter of water for each almond that’s grown. It’s said that this has helped fuel the droughts that California is prone to.
But it’s a multi-billion dollar industry, so I doubt it will stop any time soon.
Update: David Mokotoff left the following comment on this story:
“California could have solved its drought problems decades ago by building desalination plants along its hundreds of miles of coast. I have little sympathy for their woes in this regard. Israel figured this out 60 years ago and they grow almonds without adverse environmental impact.”
He makes an excellent point. It’s not almonds per se that are bad but rather the way they are grown. An alternative is to support growers that follow more environmentally friendly growing methods. Thanks David.
#3 — Peanuts
Peanuts can sometimes be contaminated with aflatoxin, a type of fungus that’s been associated with an increased risk of liver disease. You should avoid any moldy or discolored peanuts, and only buy from reputable companies. I prefer to avoid them altogether.
#4 — Macadamia
Macadamia nuts are fine if you eat them in small quantities. The main problem they have is that they are very high in calories and fat.
One cup of macadamia nuts contains around 1,000 calories. That’s half your daily calorie needs. A cup also contains over 100 grams of fat, which is above your daily allowance.
#5 — Pine Nuts
Eating pine nuts can sometimes lead to pine nut syndrome. No one knows what causes this but it usually happens 12–48 hours after eating them. The symptoms are a bitter or metallic taste in your mouth.
This reaction usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks.
This article in the Los Angeles Times gives examples of a few cases.
There are still plenty of other tasty and healthy nuts you can eat. These include walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and pistachios.