What is the difference between raw and roasted nuts?
Nuts are very healthy and make a perfect snack on the go. They are filled with healthy fats, fiber, and protein and are a source of essential antioxidants and nutrients. In addition, studies showed that there are several health benefits of eating nuts, including lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. However, some people wonder if roasting nuts affects their nutritional content.
This article compares raw and roasted nuts and takes a detailed look at which variety is healthier. You can find out more about roasting nuts on our other blog posts on How to Roast and Blanch Hazelnuts? and Comprehensive Guide on Kal (Unripe, Early Picked, Boza) Pistachios, the difference between macadamia and hazelnut, the difference between Hazelnut, Filbert and Cobnut, A Complete Guide to Pistachio Industry.
What do we have here:
- Why are nuts roasted?
- Nutritional Differences between raw and roasted?
- The potential dangers of raw nuts
- The potential dangers of roasted nuts
- Which type should you eat
- The bottom lines
Why are nuts roasted?
Nuts are roasted to enhance their taste, flavor and crunchy texture. Roasting means cooking with dry heat, which evenly cooks the food on every side. Most of the nuts, apart from pistachios, are roasted without their shell. Meanwhile, the raw nuts have not been roasted. Roasting is sometimes used to separate the nutshells from their kernels. This is a common method of shelling cashews and the reason why they are almost never sold raw.
There are two main types of roasting:
Dry roasting: roasting without any oil. Nuts can be toasted in the oven or in a frying pan.
Oil roasting: roasting with oil. Nuts can also be oil roasted in the oven or in a frying pan.
In addition to these two methods, nuts can be toasted in the microwave.
You can buy roasted nuts, or you can roast them yourself.
Roasting nuts enhances the taste, creating a dynamic snacking experience. Most experts believe that roasting nuts do not alter the structure of the nut or its nutritional benefits. Roasting the nut cooks evenly with dry heat. Most nuts are toasted without shells using either dry roasting or oil roasting — with the exception of pistachio. Roasting is also one of the most common and easiest ways to do this.
In addition to making certain nuts, such as pistachio, almonds, pecans, and cashews easier to eat, toasting offers an unexpected benefit— it can alter the way your body digests them. Experts have found that a roasted almond is easier for your body to digest than a raw almond. Roasted nuts are digested much more effectively, satisfying your hunger faster than raw nuts.
Nutritional Differences between raw and roasted
Roasting nuts changes their structure and chemical composition. Specifically, it changes their color and reduces their moisture content, giving rise to their crunchy texture. Raw and dry-roasted nuts contain very similar amounts of fat, carbs and protein. While roasted nuts have slightly more fat and calories per gram, the difference is small. One ounce (28 grams) of raw almonds contains 161 calories and 14 grams of fat, while the same number of dry-roasted almonds contains 167 calories and 15 grams of fat.
Check the nutritional information for several popular nut types for a better idea:
Pecans: One ounce of raw pecans has 193 calories with 14 grams of fat, while an identical roasted pecan serving contains 199 calories and 21 grams of fat.
Almonds: There are 161 calories and 14 grams of fat in one ounce of raw almonds, and 167 calories and 15 grams of fat in dry-roasted almonds.
Cashews: There are 157 calories and 12 grams of fat in one ounce of raw cashews, whereas dry-roasted nuts have 163 calories and 13 grams of fat.
The roasting process is the cause of this slight nutritional variance, where the nuts lose moisture and weight. Some studies have shown that the overall fat content of roasted nuts does not change. However, as the nut structure changes, the polyunsaturated fats in roasted nuts become more susceptible to oxidation.
Meanwhile, raw and roasted nuts have a very similar protein and carb content. However, in these macronutrients, roasted nuts may be slightly higher or lower, depending on the type of nut
Contrary to your expectations, oil-roasted nuts in fat and calories are only slightly higher than dry-roasted nuts. This is because nuts are naturally high in fat and can absorb much more fat.
The potential dangers of raw nuts
The potential dangers of raw foods are one thing to consider when deciding whether you prefer raw vs. roasted nuts.
- While roasted and raw nuts have similar nutritional values and help minimize heart disease, there is a significant potential health concern for raw nuts.
- Raw nuts have been reported to carry salmonella, such as almonds and pistachios. The risk of salmonella contamination and other harmful bacteria is known to be reduced by dry or oil roasted nuts. That’s because, during harvesting, nuts are sometimes thrown on or fell to the ground. The nuts will easily come into contact with the bacteria if the soil is contaminated with bacteria. Contaminated water may also cause harmful bacteria during harvesting or after harvesting.
- Salmonella has actually been found in raw nuts, including almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pistachios. One study reported that Salmonella was found in nearly 1 percent of samples of various nuts, with the highest contamination rate in macadamia nuts and the lowest in hazelnuts. In pecans, it was not detected. However, the amount of Salmonella detected in healthy individuals was low, so it may not cause illness.
- While roasting nuts reduces the number of bacteria on them, one study detected Salmonella in one sample of roasted pistachios. Another study did not find either Salmonella or E. Coli in nuts roasted.
- In addition, nuts may contain the toxic aflatoxin carcinogen produced by fungi that sometimes contaminate nuts and grains. In raw and roasted nuts, including pistachios and walnuts, it was detected. Aflatoxin is very resistant to heat and may survive the roasting process.
The potential dangers of roasted nuts
- Roasting Might the Healthy Fats in nuts as they are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in Nuts. These healthy fats can reduce cholesterol in the blood and can prevent heart disease.
- High temperatures and long cooking times have the greatest impact. When polyunsaturated fats, as is the case with roasting, are exposed to heat, they are more likely to become damaged or oxidized. This can cause harmful free radicals to form, which can damage your cells. Some nuts are responsible for the “off” taste and smell of oxidized fat, or rancid fat. Fortunately, by controlling the roasting process, you can reduce the formation of these free radicals.
- Nuts, including vitamin E, magnesium and phosphorus, are a great source of nutrients. They are loaded with antioxidants as well. Some of these nutrients are heat sensitive and may be lost in the process of roasting. For example, during roasting, certain types of antioxidants are degraded. Antioxidants are important for your health because they help prevent damage to your cells from free radicals.
- The rich flavor, color, and aroma of roasted nuts come from compounds formed in a chemical reaction called the Maillard reaction. This is a reaction in the nuts between the asparagine amino acid and natural sugar. It occurs when they are heated above 248 ° F (120 ° C) and give their brown color to roasted nuts. When roasted at high temperatures, a harmful substance called acrylamide may form in almonds. The amount of acrylamide this may produce, however, is not likely to be harmful.
Which type should you eat?
The short answer is both of them. Raw nuts, however, may contain harmful bacteria, are very healthy. Even though they do, it is unlikely that they will cause a disease.
On the other hand, roasted nuts may have fewer antioxidants and vitamins. Although not in harmful amounts, some of their healthy fats may also become damaged and acrylamide may form. Temperature and duration of roasting can have a big impact in the end.
If nuts are roasted for approximately 15 minutes at a low-to-medium temperature of approximately 284 ° F (140 ° C), vitamin loss is kept to a minimum, healthy fats are harmed and acrylamide is less likely to form.
If you want to eat roasted nuts, keep in mind that salt is seasoned on some roasted nuts sold in shops, and some are even sugar-coated.
Buy them raw and roast them yourself, preferably in the oven, instead of buying roasted nuts. This allows you to better control the temperature at a time and roast larger quantities of nuts.
The bottom lines
Both raw and roasted nuts are good for you and are good for your health. There are similar amounts of calories, protein, carbs, and fiber in both varieties.
However, roasting nuts can damage their healthy fat, reduce their nutrient content, and cause acrylamide to form a harmful substance.
On the other hand, raw nuts are more likely to contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella than roasted nuts. These risks, however, are low. Importantly, the way in which nuts are roasted can greatly affect their nutrient content. If you roast them on your own, keep the temperature relatively low for 15 minutes at around 284 ° F (140 ° C). The nuts should come out with a color that is lightly roasted.
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