The Daniel Fast is a spiritual-based fast modeled after the actions of the Biblical character Daniel. In the hope of becoming spiritually closer to God, Daniel abstained from certain foods he believed were defiling. Modern day Daniel fasting includes consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds, healthy oils, water and nuts. The Daniel Fast guidelines suggest that all types of nuts can be consumed as long as they do not contain sweeteners, artificial preservatives, artificial flavorings or additives.
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Types of Nuts
A variety of nuts, including nut butters, can be consumed while on the Daniel Fast. Given the variety of nuts available, you should be able to find a nut that suits your taste. Cashews, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, chestnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, walnuts, pecans and almonds are a few nut choices. Nuts can be lightly salted with sea salt if desired. Nut butters that may be consumed on the diet include peanut butter, hazelnut butter, cashew butter and almond butter.
Benefits of Nuts
Nuts contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which are also known as good fats. Good fats can help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, reduce your risk of blood clot development and can help lower cholesterol. According to the July 2010 issue of "Nutrients," nuts are a sufficient source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, L-arginine, fiber and plant sterols, which are substances researchers report as being heart healthy.
Serving Sizes and Calories
The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of four servings of nuts weekly for a 2,000 calorie diet. One handful of nuts is considered a serving. Depending on your hand size, this equates to about one to 1.5 ounces. According to the AHA, nuts contain nine calories per gram, making them high in calories. To avoid consuming excess calories, eat nuts in moderation. If you are concerned with calories, roasted chestnuts have only 69 calories per one-ounce serving.
Oils such as olive oil, canola oil, walnut oil, grape seed oil, peanut oil, and sesame oil are allowed on the Daniel Fast. Nut oils are a good source of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. However, they lack fiber and contain both saturated and unsaturated fats. Nut oils are also high in calories and fat so they should be used sparingly.
The Daniel Fast restricts certain food groups so the body may be miss out on vital nutrients while fasting. The American Cancer Society warns that even a short-term fast can have side effects such as headaches, fatigue and dizziness. Long-term fasts can damage the body's organs and weaken the immune system. The Daniel Fast website recommends that individuals, especially those with health problems, consult their physician before beginning the fast. Brazil nuts are exceptionally high in selenium, with 544 micrograms in a 1-ounce serving, and the recommended intake for adults is only 55 to 70 micrograms. While selenium plays a role in preventing diseases such as heart disease, alzheimer's and cancer, too much selenium can be toxic and cause gastrointestinal, neurological and respiratory distress, hair loss, tremors, flushing, lightheadedness, kidney and heart failure, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Limit Brazil nut intake to avoid risk of toxicity.