Go Nuts!Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Nuts are a healthy way to get fat into your diet. Yes, you need fat! The important thing to remember is that not all fats are equal. Here’s a rundown on why nuts should be part of your healthy eating plan.
The majority of the fat found in nuts is monounsaturated. You should focus on eating unsaturated fats, particularly monounsaturated, while limiting saturated and trans fat.
Monounsaturated fat is the “heart-healthy” kind, helping to keep your good cholesterol levels up and your bad cholesterol levels down.
Nuts are also a good source of fiber. We want to aim for at least 25 grams of fiber per day, so every little bit counts. Fiber helps to make you feel full and to keep your digestive tract functioning properly.
Even though they contain healthy fats, those fats come with a considerable amount of calories so stick to about one ounce of nuts per day. Choose unsalted or lightly salted nuts whenever possible (sodium causes inflammation, too!). Use nuts to make your own trail mix with dried fruit for a healthy snack or toss some on top of your favorite salad. Those healthy fats will help your body to absorb many of the vitamins that are found in those veggies.
Take advantage of the different nutrients found in nuts by including various types in your healthy eating plan. Here is a breakdown of the most popular varieties.
Almonds are rich in vitamin E, a power antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body, lowering the risk for developing cancer. One serving (1 ounce or 24 almonds) gives you 37% of the daily recommended dose of vitamin E. Almonds are also a good source of riboflavin, magnesium, and manganese.
Nutrition Facts for 1 ounce (24 nuts): 170 calories, 15 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber
Cashews are high in magnesium, containing 20% of the daily recommended amount. Magnesium is involved in over 300 chemical reactions in the body! It works with calcium and vitamin D to keep your bones strong. It’s necessary for proper nerve and muscle function, and helps to regulate blood pressure.
Nutrition Facts for 1 ounce (16 nuts): 155 calories, 12 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein, 1 grams of fiber
These green gems are packed with vitamin B6, with 24% of your daily needs in just 1 ounce. Vitamin B6 helps form important brain chemicals, like serotonin and dopamine, which are known as the “feel good” chemicals. For this reason, getting enough B6 is thought to help improve mood. This vitamin also helps to lower homocysteine levels, which in turn lowers your risk for developing heart disease.
Nutrition Facts for 1 ounce (45 nuts): 156 calories, 12 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber
This nut is highest in omega-3 fats. These particular fats help reduce inflammation in the body. Walnuts are an easy way to boost your omega-3’s (especially if you don’t eat fish) packing 2.5 grams into just 1 ounce.
Nutrition Facts for 1 ounce (14 halves): 185 calories, 18 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber
Let’s Discuss: What’s your favorite way to make nuts part of your healthy eating plan?Filed under Food Facts, Nutrition & Health, Tips | Comments: more