Health MATTERS: Let’s go NUTS!

nuts1I’ve been going nuts for a while because these tiny treats come packed with major nutritional benefits. I put them in lots of things like homemade granola, energy bars & salads.  They’re one of the cornerstones of a Mediterranean diet and while all nuts are healthy, each variety has its own unique benefits.  Here are some of the standouts:

ALMONDS

Call them the skinny nuts.  In a 2013 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who ate about one and a half servings of almonds with breakfast felt a significant decrease in appetite.  When the nuts were consumed as an afternoon snack, they quashed appetites by about two and a half times that, helping subjects naturally eat less for the rest of the day.  Serving Size: 23 nuts, 164 calories.

WALNUTS

Walnuts not only taste great but are a rich source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and an excellent source of those hard to find omega-3 fatty acids. Like most nuts, they can easily be added to your Healthiest Way of Eating. Just chop and add to your favorite salad, vegetable dish, fruit, or dessert. The form of vitamin E found in walnuts is somewhat unusual, and particularly beneficial. Researchers are convinced—more than ever before—about the nutritional benefits of walnuts when consumed in whole form, including the skin. We now know that approximately 90% of the phenols in walnuts are found in the skin, including key phenolic acids, tannins, and flavonoids. Serving Size: ¼ cup, 196 calories

PECANS

A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who consumed about three servings of pecans experienced as much as a 33 percent drop in oxidized LDL cholesterol (the kind that causes artery-clogging plaque to form).  The pecan’s power may lie in its high levels of heart-protecting antioxidants. Serving Size: 19 halves, 196 calories.

PISTACHIOS

Not only are pistachios the lowest-calorie nut of the bunch, but they’re also rich in healthy unsaturated fatty acids.  In a study, a group that consumed 20 percent of their daily calories from pistachios for nearly six months had lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels – two risk factors for heart disease – and trimmed their waistlines more than those who ate a wholesome but pistachio free- diet.  Great news – I love pistachios!  Serving Size: 49 nuts, 159 calories.

MACADAMIAS

These pack roughly 21 grams of fat per serving, but most of it is the unsaturated kind.  Macadamia nuts are an excellent source of two nutrients vital for healthy brain and nerve function: manganese (one serving delivers 65 percent of what you need daily) and the B vitamin thiamine (30 percent of your recommended dietary allowance).  Serving Size: 10-12 nuts, 204 calories.

BRAZIL NUTS

First the bad news: you can’t eat a lot of them.  Each of these Amazonian nuts contains about 33 calories – the equivalent of nearly 10 M&M’s.  Now the good news: You needn’t go overboard to reap their health benefits.  Just two nuts per day for 12 weeks can increase blood levels of the mineral selenium by 64 percent.  Selenium is essential for proper immune function, as it helps build germ-fighting white blood cells.  Serving Size: 6 nuts, 186 calories.

So, go NUTS!nuts2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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