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By: May Shabti/Arab America Contributing Writer
You can hardly find any Arab kitchen that doesn’t serve or contain any form of nuts which have many uses. Arab Americans include nuts in main dishes, desserts, and even as a quick healthy snack, and most importantly when welcoming guests. It is usually the first thing you will notice at a table. In addition to their numerous and unique uses, there are also many health benefits that come along!
1. Pine Nuts or Snobar
In the Arab culture, you may have heard a lot about Snobar and the fact that it is sprinkled around into a large number of main dishes. Pine nuts are known as “Snobar” in the Arabic language. Consuming these pine nuts can also contribute to a much healthier heart. Furthermore, Pine nuts are an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids. Pine nuts are also high in vitamin E, vitamin K, copper, iron, and manganese, in which all of these are beneficial and crucial in the maintaining of a healthy cardiovascular system.
2. Walnuts in Sweets such as Baklawa
Walnuts are crucial in Arab American culture and are highly adored and appreciated. Regarding their health benefits, they are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a good source of protein. However, they are dense in nutrients and provide heart-healthy fats. The combination of protein, healthy fats, and fiber in walnuts helps to increase satisfaction, fullness, and of course improvement in memory.
Pistachios are a great source of healthy fats, fiber, protein, antioxidants, and various other nutrients, including vitamin B6 and potassium. Their health benefits may include lower cholesterol, a healthier overall gut, and blood sugar, in addition to promoting weight loss and eye and blood vessel health. Other than its use in baklava, Pistachios are consumed by Arab Americans as a snack.
4. Pumpkin Seeds/Bizzir
According to the book Healing Foods by DK Publishing House, pumpkin seeds are considered as a significant source of B vitamins, magnesium, iron, and protein. These seeds are a source of valuable nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, manganese, copper, antioxidants, and phytosterols.
Almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. These health benefits may include lower blood sugar levels, reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. They are mostly used with sweets, top of rice and as a snack. They are also known to reduce hunger and promote weight loss. Almonds are very popular in the Levante of the Arab World because the climate is just right for the growth of almond trees. In fact, they are also eaten as a snack freshly green with salt off the tree. In addition to the types of Almonds, a very popular one would be “Green Almonds” also known as “Loz” in Arabic. These almonds make a delicious snack and are very fun to crack open and eat.