The hickory nut is filled with healthy goodness, which makes it a great dietary supplement. It provides a lot of energy in just a small serving, which makes it a great breakfast item for those who want to lose weight as it will keep them full for a longer period of time. An additional benefit for all is that it keeps fatigue at bay. It is a great snack for those who need to exert a lot of physical energy in their day to day lives, as well as pregnant women. However, it is always a good idea to get the consent of a professional before consuming any nut, as some might be allergic to it.It is also a rich source of good fatty acids, which enables bodily functions to carry on smoothly. It can also act as a good source of plant protein, making it a great addition to a vegetarian meal. As a result, it is a great way to enable the muscles to grow and the bones to develop. Its chemical composition is balanced favorably and improves bone health. Regular yet moderate consumption of this nut can prevent degenerative and debilitating bone diseases such as osteoporosis. Many experts advise older men and women to consume this nut on a daily basis to maintain bone health.
The hickory nut, which comes from hickory trees, is a unique nut in more ways than one. It has a hard outer shell that needs to be cracked open to extract the meaty, edible part. This little quirk makes it a little difficult to source and more often than not, it is sold in specialty supermarkets. It shares some characteristics with the nut family but still stands apart in the nutritional value it offers. However, not all 18 varieties of the hickory nut are palatable, although they are edible. There are certain crowd favorites that are integral parts of a cuisine, and then there are some that are consumed solely as dietary supplements. Hickory plants can be readily grown from ripe seeds buried within weeks of being extracted. Moist, deep soils are ideal for growing hickory plants.
The nutritional value of this nut makes it worth the work that goes into sourcing it, as it is not commonly available in the market. A 100 gm serving of the hickory nut can give up to 657 kcal of energy. This quantity contains 64.37 gms of healthy fat, 18.25 gms of carbohydrates, and 12.72 gms of protein. It is also rich in potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium at 436 mg, 336 mg, 173 mg, and 61 mg, respectively. It is also a great source of many vitamins including, but not restricted to, thiamine, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and riboflavin. A small handful of these nuts, consumed on a daily basis, can be very healthy for people of all ages.
Most of us use sugar and caffeine as sources of energy on a daily basis. Moreover, these sources also include a crash when they finally burn out in our bodies. Hickory nuts are a healthier source of energy and are capable of giving the same kick start to each day, minus the experience of a crash. This property can be attributed to the relatively high carbohydrate content in these nuts. The complex carbohydrates in the hickory nut provides controlled, sustainable energy to the body, as opposed to a sudden rush that results in an unhealthy fluctuation of insulin and glucose. This ensures that the body is up and running for a longer period of time. It can also keep fatigue at bay, making it a great snack for people whose routines are physically intensive.
Many people rely on chemical supplements and unhealthy foods to gain weight. However, in the long run, this has a detrimental effect on the body. Hickory nuts are calorie rich, and are therefore a good source of healthy nutrients that enable mass gain at a comparatively faster pace. In fact, doctors recommend including hickory nuts in the diets of patients recovering from traumatic injuries, as they need the energy and mass gain it can offer. Just a small serving of hickory nuts, no more than a handful, contain 200 calories.
The same properties that make the hickory nut a valuable asset in weight gain, also help in weight loss. Instead of snacking on unhealthy foods, snacking on hickory nuts makes the body feel full for a longer period of time, without compromising on the amount of energy required by the body to perform its regular tasks. It reduces the urge to overeat and minimizes hunger pangs. Since the energy is released in the body in a controlled manner, and insulin levels are more or less stable, it reduces the chances of developing diabetes.
Contrary to popular belief, not all fat is bad. It is a fact that the human body needs certain kinds of fats to ensure that bodily functions are not negatively impacted. A 100 gm serving of hickory nuts contains 85% good fats that can benefit the body in many ways. For one, this nut can moderate the levels of good and bad cholesterol in the body by providing the good cholesterol that is needed. Having a balanced proportion of cholesterol and fatty acids in the body ensures that the heart is healthy, and reduces the chance of suffering from heart diseases.
Many a times, if they are not careful, vegetarians may develop conditions that are brought on by a lack of protein in the diet. The hickory nut is a great way to make up for this lack, as it is one of the richest forms of plant protein. Protein, in its turn, is essential for muscle and bone growth and development. It is the key component in the formation, deconstruction, and reformation of cells and tissues. Hickory nuts contain a fair amount of vitamin B6, which is known to enhance protein metabolism. The efficiency with which proteins are absorbed in our body improves our growth and development.
The high amounts of magnesium present in the hickory nut are crucial to bone health. Magnesium improves the activity of enzymes in the body, assists in optimizing metabolism, and also regulates levels of calcium in the body. Additionally, hickory nuts have a healthy combination of nutrients like magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus, which is essential maintaining and protecting bone mineral density. Maintaining bone mineral density is important as it prevents the onset of degenerative bone disorders such as osteoporosis. As such, it is an effective dietary supplement for women, whose bones are known to get weaker with age.
Similar to most nuts, hickory nuts are also high in fiber. That, combined with certain minerals maintains a healthy digestive system. The fatty content of the nuts ensures that bowel movement is regular, thus minimizing the risk of suffering from constipation. It is also effective in reducing flatulence, bloating, and cramping. This makes it a great food product for women who are on their menstrual cycle. Along with having general gastrointestinal benefits, it also has properties that reduce the chances of developing more serious conditions such as gastroenteritis.
Vitamin B is known to be crucial to the body’s metabolism and general functioning. Hickory nuts can aid the metabolism process as it contains a good amount of vitamin B-1 in it. It ensures that the heart, muscles, and nervous system are all working as they should, and in sync with each other. Enhanced metabolism is related to weight loss, making the benefits offered by hickory nuts multifaceted.
The earliest recorded use of the hickory nut is that of a health drink made by simply boiling the nut in water. The oiliest part of this concoction was referred to as hickory milk and was used extensively in home cooking. Today, experts have recognized the benefits of consuming the nut as is, without having it. It has a strong earthy flavor, but the flesh inside the nut has a soft texture which makes it a great ingredient for adding an earthy robustness to savory recipes. However, they can also be added to desserts as a crunchy element. Although, that would defeat the purpose of consuming it as a healthy snack with all the processed sugar in the mix.
As with any nut, hickory nuts can also cause allergies to certain people who might be susceptible. It is best to consult a professional to assess susceptibility to the allergens present in the hickory nut. Besides this drawback, the hickory nut is extremely healthy and safe to consume in its commercial form, wherein it is sold in sealed packages. As hickory nuts contain a lot of fat, doctors caution those people who are sensitive to dietary changes against consuming them.
The hickory tree is grown extensively across India, China, Mexico, and the United States, although there are many other countries who also cultivate it. There are about seventeen to nineteen species of hickory plants and their respective nuts, twelve of which can be found in the United States alone.