Whether we enjoy them salted, sugared, slightly toasted, or raw, nuts are a nutritious and tasty snack anytime. In their simplest forms — nuts can be raw or toasted, and either way, they offer an array of fiber, protein, and healthy fats to keep you active and healthy. Studies have also shown that eating nuts have several health benefits, including lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. But there does seem to be an ever-growing divide in the nut-loving community — should we eat them raw or have them toasted?
So what is better, raw or roasted nuts? While roasting nuts may create a dynamic snacking experience by improving the flavor, aroma, texture, and crunch, some believe the toasting process could affect the nutritional benefits of the nut. Roasting can be defined as cooking using dry heat, which evenly cooks the food on all sides. Most experts believe roasting nuts doesn’t change the structure of the nut or its nutritional benefits. Roasting cooks the nut steadily with dry heat. Roasting methods can sometimes be used to separate the shells of nuts from their kernels. This is a standard method of shelling cashews and the reason why they’re seldom sold raw. There are two main kinds of roasting, namely dry and oil roasting.
Several studies have shown that roasting nuts don’t change the actual l fat content. However, the polyunsaturated fats in roasted nuts can become more susceptible to oxidation, as the structure of the nut changes. This can sometimes cause the formation of harmful free radicals, which may damage your cells. Oxidized fat, or rancid fat, is responsible for the “off” taste and smell we sometimes find in some nuts. Luckily, you can roast them yourself and reduce the formation of these free radicals by controlling the roasting process. The key is to carefully control the cooking temperature and keep an eye on the time. Research has shown that when nuts are roasted at a low-to-medium temperature, their fats are less likely to go bad. On the other hand, raw nuts are more likely than roasted nuts to contain harmful bacteria like Salmonella, with that said, these risks are still low. So basically, both raw and roasted nuts are good for you and provide a myriad of health benefits. The final recommendation is simple — include raw or roasted nuts in your diet for better health.