Women’s Month is celebrated during August and always coincides with discussions about women’s rights and reminders of just how awesome and powerful women are. We’ve put together some information of the top five wholesome super snacks women need, because we care. Even the most awe-inspiring women need to make sure they remain healthy to enjoy and spread their particular awesomeness. 

Take a look at five of the wholesome super snacks women need
1. Crazy for Cranberries

Juicy cranberries are rich in antioxidants and high in dietary fibre. The soluble dietary fibre in cranberries plays a role in glucose absorption and maintaining a healthy blood cholesterol level. The insoluble dietary fibre helps to keep the gut healthy.

Montagu carefully selects the highest quality cranberries. These whole cranberries retain more cranberry content and flavour with small seeds.

Clever ways to incorporate dried cranberries in your diet includes adding them to your favourite cereal, to your blueberry muffins for extra flavour and colour, over your salads or even pairing them with chicken and pork dishes.

2. Wonderful Walnuts

Walnuts are often described as ‘little brains’ – and that’s no coincidence! They are known for their “brain-boosting” health properties.

They are also considered to be heart-friendly nuts and eating them on a regular basis will help support your heart health. A daily intake of 30g of raw walnuts contributes to reducing the risk of heart disease by improving the elasticity of blood vessels. Just one cup of walnuts contains 18g of protein, 765 calories and 8g of dietary fibre.

A 30g serving of walnuts is high in manganese and copper. By being high in copper and manganese, walnuts contribute to the normal functioning of the immune system and the maintenance of bones, teeth, hair, skin and nails.

Ways to include walnuts in your diet include chopping them up and adding them to a green salad, adding them to hot cereal, adding finely ground walnuts to soups for a bit of crunch or adding finely ground nuts to a smoothie for added oomph.

3. Awesome Almonds

Almonds are truly awesome. Just a small 30g daily serving can do wonders. The nuts are high in dietary fibre, providing more than 3g of fibre per 30g serving.

They are also high in monounsaturated fatty acids. If you replace saturated fats with monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) in your diet, they contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.

Almonds are also a generous source of the following:
  1. Vitamin E – which contributes to protecting cells from oxidative stress, maintaining a healthy immune system and supporting cardiovascular health.
  2. Copper – aids in the formation of bone, while also contributing to the normal functioning of the immune system and the nervous system.
  3. Magnesium – helps maintain a healthy muscle and nervous system, contributes to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue, and is also necessary for teeth and bone structure and their maintenance.
  4. Almond oil – is packed with antioxidants, is high in Vitamin E, A, D and B, contains protein, as well as essential minerals and healthy fats. It is also rich in oleic and linoleic acids and due to its high content of nutrients, the oil is used as a skin care product, medicinal oil and as a treatment for some skin disorders.
  5. Manganese – contributes to the normal formation of connective tissue.
  6. Potassium – necessary for normal water and electrolyte balance with more than 200mg potassium per 30g serving of almonds.

They are also low in sodium, something that coupled with a high intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium, is associated with protecting against bone demineralisation, arterial hypertension, insulin resistance, and overall cardiovascular risk.

Ways to incorporate almonds in your diet include topping yoghurt with crushed almonds, using almonds in your homemade muffins, adding some almonds to your morning cereal, adding chopped almonds to a chicken salad or rice dish, and snacking on a few raw almonds instead of reaching for a bag of chips.

4. Powerhouse Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses wrapped in very small packages with a wide variety of nutrients that range from fibre, magnesium and copper, to zinc and potassium.

They are high in dietary fibre and the soluble dietary fibre in the seeds plays a role in glucose absorption and maintaining healthy blood cholesterol levels. Pumpkin seeds are a source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s). Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats (such as PUFA’s) in the diet contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.

These super-seeds are a source of magnesium and this helps to maintain a healthy muscle and nervous system and contributes to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue. It is also necessary for teeth and bone structure and their maintenance. They are also a rich source of potassium, low in sodium, a source of copper and a source of zinc. These minerals contribute to good immune function, healthy bones and have several other health benefits.

Include pumpkin seeds in your diet by adding them to smoothies, muffins, oatmeal, soups, salads or adding them the next time you make your own wholesome muesli or trail mix.

5. Bravo for Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are one of the richest known food sources of selenium. Just to give you an idea – if you eat two Brazil nuts per day (about 7g), you will have an intake of between 56 and 581 mcg of selenium. The South African RDA (recommended dietary allowance) for selenium is 55 mcg selenium (daily).

Selenium is an essential trace mineral important for cognitive function, a healthy immune system and fertility for both men and women. It is also necessary for normal immune system function and contributes to the normal functioning of the thyroid. It also contributes to healthy hair and nails.

More Brazil nut benefits include protein, dietary fibre and copper. Copper contributes to healthy hair, skin and nails, as well as the formation and maintenance of bones and teeth.

The Brazil nut is the only internationally-traded nut that comes from the wild, specifically from the Peruvian Amazon. It’s also one of the most important non-timber forest products for export that the people of Bolivia have, helping them to make a sustainable living.  Montagu Dried Fruit & Nuts’ premium quality Brazil nuts come from Bolivia in South America and by sourcing our Brazil nuts from Bolivia, we are indirectly supporting this community. Montagu is extremely proud to be playing a small part in sustaining the livelihood of a community.

Brazil nuts can be eaten as a snack, while coarsely ground Brazil nuts can be sprinkled over fruit and vegetable salads. They can be enjoyed roasted, salted, or sweetened. Brazil nuts are used in fudge, puddings, pesto, chocolate bar and crunchy bar preparations, as well as in other desserts, particularly in fruitcakes. The nuts can also be added to soup, as well as meat and vegetarian dishes for extra crunchiness, taste and nutrients.

SOURCES : (Links to articles included in blog)

The South African Journal of Natural Medicine Aug 2016, p. 081-082.

Montagu Dried Fruit & Nuts internal training document making use of the following documents:

Ladizinsky, G. (1999). Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 46: 143. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1008690409554  

South African Department of Health. (2014). Regulations relating to the labelling and advertising of foods: Amendment (R429) (Draft document for comments). Government Gazette

Wolmarans, P. et al. (2010) Condensed Food Composition Tables for South Africa. Medical Research Council, Parow Valley, Cape Town.

Khoo, C. and Falk, M. (2014). Cranberry Polyphenols: Effects on Cardiovascular Risk Factors (pp 1049-1065). In: Polyphenols in Human Health and Disease (Volume 2). (Eds R.R. Watson, V.R. Preedy and S. Zibadi). Elsevier Academic Press.

South African Department of Health. (2014). Regulations relating to the labelling and advertising of foods: Amendment (R429) (Draft document for comments). Government Gazette

South African Department of Health. (2010). Regulations relating to the labelling and advertising of foodstuffs (R146). Government Gazette