Nuts can be a healthy food. Just be careful of their salt (sodium) and calories!

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A handful of nuts a day (about 1/4 cup) promote health, can improve glycemic control, lower your risk of heart disease and help prevent a heart attack. The Nurses Health Study showed that those who ate 5oz nuts (about size of airline packet of nuts) had 1/3 fewer heart attacks than those who rarely or never ate nuts.

Nuts do not have cholesterol but they do have fat. You can count on 160 – 200 calories per one ounce of nuts. 

The good news is most nuts in moderation are health promoting. Nuts contain monounsaturated (as in olive oil) or polyunsaturated fats (as in flaxseed) and much better for your heart, arteries and immune system than the fat in beef, pork and dairy products. Nuts are rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Avoid most nuts grown below the equator (coconut or palm used in ethnic dishes and found in processed foods) since these nuts and their oils have more artery clogging saturated fats. Nuts have a high-ranking, tasty place as part of a healthy diet.


 Nuts     Notable Qualities  How often
 Walnuts    Rich in heart-healthy Omega 3 fats, Vitamins B-1 (thiamin), B-6, folic acid, High in magnesium, zinc, and potassium and protein. Frequently
 Almonds    Rich in monounsaturated fats, niacin, vitamin E, and phytosterols, High in magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium and protein Frequently
 Pistachios    Rich in vitamin A, phytosterols and potassium. High in, vitamins B6 and Thiamin, phosphorus, and protein. Lower in total fat than most nuts. Moderately
 Hazelnuts    Rich in Folic Acid. High in monounsaturated fat, Vitamin E, potassium, manganese. Local to New England. Moderately
 Pecans    Rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. High in vitamin A, manganese, zinc, plant sterols and fiber.    Moderately
 Peanuts    Technically a legume yet our body uses it more like a nut. High in protein, plant sterols and folic acid.  Good source of fiber, niacin and vitamin B6. Moderately
 Brazil Nuts Higher in saturated fat than most nuts they are an excellent source of the powerful anti-oxidant selenium. 1 nut a day
 Cashews    Have more saturated and less polyunsaturated fats than other nuts. Also, contain magnesium and phosphorus.  Rarely
 Macadamia    Typically processed in peanut oil. Higher in saturated and lower in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats than most nuts.     Rarely



Buy nuts raw or dry roasted (not roasted in oil). Store nuts in the refrigerator or freezer to keep the oils from going bad. 

  • Roasting: add nuts to a dry skillet over medium heat stirring them often.
  • Add walnuts and/or almonds to oatmeal or a high fiber cereal.
  • Use walnuts and/or almonds in salads for protein and a satisfying crunch.
  • Add almond butter or peanut butter to celery sticks or apple slices for a snack.
  • Trail Mix:  In a large container: Fill 1/2 container high-fiber cereal, 1/4 with roasted nuts (almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts) and 1/4 with dried cranberries and apples.

Package in snack size zip-lock bags.

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