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Nut-Based Melba Toast: Functional Nutrients for Blood Sugar Support, Adrenal Function, and Hormone Balance - Blog Image

Nut-Based Melba Toast: Functional Nutrients for Blood Sugar Support, Adrenal Function, and Hormone Balance

BY: Andrea Nakayama

DATE: 2018-03-01


There are so many aspects of the work I do that I cherish. Assisting clients and students in our Full Body Systems training program to gain a deeper understanding of their unique physiology and how to support it is definitely one of them. I’m passionate about discussing functional nutrients and their impact on health outcomes, emphasizing the significance of comprehending our body’s inner workings while making dietary and lifestyle adjustments to enhance our well-being.

With nearly two decades of experience, working with countless individuals both in my private practice and online courses, I’ve been able to discern certain recurring patterns when it comes to functional nutrients, particularly those present in nuts. These patterns have provided valuable “evidence” from a clinical perspective.

Two specific aspects of this “evidence” have sparked my interest in nuts. First, the question often arises: “What’s a suitable snack when I’m aiming to support my blood sugar levels, adrenal function, and overall hormone balance?” My answer frequently involves nuts, provided they are suitable for the individual. (Seeds can sometimes be an alternative if nuts are not an option). Nuts offer a trifecta of benefits for blood sugar regulation: fat, fiber, and protein – a powerful combination that we lean into frequently here at the Functional Nutrition Alliance.

Then, after the adoption of nuts as part of their dietary routine and the ensuing benefits experienced, a second question typically surfaces: “How can I determine when I’m consuming too many nuts?” 

The answer is surprisingly straightforward – it’s often when you start asking that question!

For those who can incorporate nuts into their diet (more on that later), they provide a treasure trove of nutrients, with each type of nut offering its unique advantages. I encourage you to give them a try and discover where they fit best into your daily regime while also ensuring a balanced intake. Whether it’s a sprinkle on your morning cereal, added to a salad, or in the form of Melba toast, nuts have a place in your nutrition.

My Nut-Based Melba Toast recipe is a personal favorite snack that helps me maintain stable blood sugar levels (and therefore hormonal balance) while keeping chronic stress at bay. Give it a try and experience the benefits for yourself.

Nuts and blood sugar support

But why nuts, you might wonder? Nuts boast an impressive profile as they are not only an excellent source of protein but also contain essential fatty acids, magnesium, and fiber, among other key nutrients. 

In fact, scientific evidence suggests that incorporating a variety of nuts into your diet can contribute to lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. So, it’s important to emphasize that you shouldn’t shy away from these good fats!

And yet, when considering the health benefits of nuts, I like to remind folks to opt for raw or sprouted nuts rather than their roasted and salted counterparts, avoiding those with added oils. Nuts are highly sensitive, and their beneficial fats can turn detrimental when exposed to high heat in those roasting processes.

How to incorporate nuts, according to your unique physiology

While I’m an ardent supporter of nuts, I’m also acutely aware of the challenges that many individuals face when consuming them. Nuts are known to be a common allergen, and some people may be sensitive to specific types while tolerating others without issue. It’s important to note that nut-related issues aren’t solely limited to the immune system – some individuals may experience digestive problems, such as gas, bloating, and indigestion. (Oh my!)

For those who encounter difficulties with nuts, it’s not always about completely eliminating them from your diet (depending on the reaction, of course), but rather exploring different ways to consume them. Nuts can be enjoyed in various forms: raw, sprouted, or blended into nut butters. Raw nuts contain both enzymes and enzyme inhibitors, while roasting nuts destroys both. On the other hand, sprouting nuts eliminates these inhibitors while activating the enzymatic activity that aids in directing the nutrients to the cells, providing much-needed energy. For some individuals, sprouting nuts, which involves soaking and possibly dehydrating them to restore their crunch, is the only way to unlock the functional nutrients of nuts without causing digestive distress. Those sprouted nuts can be eaten in all ways, plus blended into butters. All the benefits and none of the burden. 

Regardless of your preferred method, it’s important to store your nuts in tightly sealed glass containers, ideally in a cool, dark place, to preserve their inherent goodness. Speaking of goodness…

Nut-Based Melba Toast

I’ll admit that I don’t always have a lot of time for food prep during the week, so I like to keep things simple in the kitchen. Even if the ingredients in my recipes are “fancy” or unusual, my favorite culinary tools are my blender(s) and food processor(s). Yes. I have several.

I like toast. I like crackers. I like chips. But I rarely eat any of the standard fare of those foods. That means I’m always looking to recreate what I most crave. I like to eat my greens with a wrap or a toast, and these Nut-Based Melbas have not only fulfilled my snack attacks, but also provided a great accompaniment to my stack of greens.

Note: Baking time depends on your desired consistency. I like to leave these in the oven for up to six hours, flipping in the middle, so that they are hard, crispy toasts, like a traditional Melba toast. You may prefer them softer. And the truth is that they’re good, right from the processor too! Find what works for you and enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 cups raw or sprouted and dehydrated pecans

    (see *note below)

  • 3/4 cup coconut flour

    (see *note below)

  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt

  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup coconut syrup, honey, or maple syrup

  • sea salt for sprinkling

Materials

  • waxed paper

  • parchment paper

Preparation

  • In a food processor, pulse the nuts to create a fine flour. Be sure not to over-process where the nuts incorporate to become a paste or butter.

  • Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and continue to pulse until a ball of “dough” forms.

  • Remove the “dough” from the processor, placing it onto the waxed paper.

  • Mold the “dough” into a log and roll tightly within the waxed paper. Make sure the log is tight and compact. Place the log in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes.

  • Preheat the oven to its lowest setting (200F or below). Alternatively, you can use a dehydrator in place of an oven if you have one.

  • Remove your Melba log from the freezer. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log into thin slices, about ¼ to ⅓” thick. Place these rounds on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, sprinkle the tops with sea salt, and place in the preheated oven.

  • As noted above, baking time depends on your desired consistency. I like to let my Melba toasts bake up to six hours (flipping in the middle), so that they are hard, crispy toasts, like a traditional Melba toast. Find the consistency that works for you!

*Note on ingredients: I’ve successfully used cashews in place of pecans and have also substituted garbanzo flour for coconut flour. If you can’t eat nuts, see if some sunflower or pumpkin seeds work here instead.


I invite you to be an adaptable and forgiving cook in the kitchen! These can be altered in any way you choose. Use different spices, make them chocolatey with cacao nibs (eliminating the garlic, of course), and just have fun playing with the options. Make these YOUR Nut (or Seed)-Based Melbas!


References:

Glenn AJ, Aune D, Freisling H, et al. Nuts and Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes: A Review of the Evidence and Future Directions. Nutrients. 2023;15(4):911. Published 2023 Feb 11. doi:10.3390/nu15040911

Arnesen EK, Thorisdottir B, Bärebring L, et al. Nuts and seeds consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and their risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Food Nutr Res. 2023;67:10.29219/fnr.v67.8961. Published 2023 Feb 14. doi:10.29219/fnr.v67.8961

Guasch-Ferré M, Tessier AJ, Petersen KS, et al. Effects of Nut Consumption on Blood Lipids and Lipoproteins: A Comprehensive Literature Update. Nutrients. 2023;15(3):596. Published 2023 Jan 23. doi:10.3390/nu15030596

Altamimi M, Zidan S, Badrasawi M. Effect of Tree Nuts Consumption on Serum Lipid Profile in Hyperlipidemic Individuals: A Systematic Review. Nutr Metab Insights. 2020;13:1178638820926521. Published 2020 Jun 15. doi:10.1177/1178638820926521

Gonçalves B, Pinto T, Aires A, et al. Composition of Nuts and Their Potential Health Benefits-An Overview. Foods. 2023;12(5):942. Published 2023 Feb 23. doi:10.3390/foods12050942
Weinberger T, Sicherer S. Current perspectives on tree nut allergy: a review. J Asthma Allergy. 2018;11:41-51. Published 2018 Mar 26. doi:10.2147/JAA.S141636


Andrea Nakayama

By: Andrea Nakayama, FxNA Founder & Functional Medicine Nutritionist

Functional Nutrition Alliance provides the comprehensive online Functional Nutrition training in the Science & Art of the Functional Nutrition practice. Learn to address the roots of your clients’ suffering with client education, diet & lifestyle modifications.

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