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5 fascinating facts about nuts

In the USA, National Nut Day is celebrated on October 22. Reason enough to take a closer look at the little vitamin bombs. 

1. Not everything we call a nut actually is one 

In fact, from a botanical point of view, there are only a few “true nuts”, including hazelnuts, walnuts as well as sweet chestnuts. Botanically, peanuts are legumes. Almonds, pecans, pistachios, cashews and coconuts belong to the drupe family. Brazil nut, macadamia nut, nutmeg and pine nuts are botanically seeds; the shea nut is a berry. 

2. Nuts have a lot of valuable ingredients 

Nuts are very healthy: they contain many unsaturated fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. They are attributed various positive effects on health. For example, studies have shown that eating nuts is good for the cardiovascular system, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Nuts can also have a positive effect on the nervous system, the immune system, digestion and hormone balance. 

Nuts in portrait: In our picture gallery you can learn even more exciting facts about the individual nuts. 

3. Nuts are one of the most common triggers of food allergies 

About 1 percent of the population is allergic to nuts. Hazelnut and peanut allergies are particularly widespread, while almonds or coconuts, for example, trigger allergic reactions less frequently. It is not possible to make a general statement about which nuts are problematic for people with allergies, as this can vary from person to person. In addition, cross-reactions are widespread among those allergic to nuts. For example, an allergy to hazelnuts is often accompanied by a pollen allergy. Other people who are allergic to nuts also show allergic reactions to stone fruit, kiwis, strawberries, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds or even rye. 

4. Nuts are versatile 

Whether as a snack, in cereals, spreads, pesto, salad, chocolate, ice cream, cakes or baked goods: Nuts are a popular ingredient in various foods. Some nuts are also used to produce oil, which can be used in a variety of ways. Moreover, nuts are not only found in foods: Shea butter, almond milk, macadamia oil and coconut oil are used in many cosmetic products. 

5. Nuts belong to the „Big 8 Food Allergens“ 

To protect people with allergies, peanuts and tree nuts are subject to mandatory labeling. However, the definition of which nuts are considered “tree nuts” varies from country to country. In the EU, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, Brazil nuts, pistachios and macadamia nuts must be labeled in addition to peanuts. In the USA, shea nut, coconut and beechnut must also be labeled. Pine nut must be labeled in the USA as well as in Canada, Argentina, Brazil, South Korea and Australia. 

Food manufacturers must ensure that their products are correctly labeled. To verify this, we offer a broad portfolio of PCR tests. SureFood® ALLERGEN tests can be used to reliably test for peanut, walnut, hazelnut, almond, cashew, macadamia, Brazil nut, pecan and pistachio – and also for more unusual nuts such as pine, beechnut and shea nut, which are only subject to labeling in certain countries. For efficient analyses, multiplex kits that can detect multiple nuts in a single run are also available.