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Nuts

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 1oz nuts (about size of airline packet of nuts) 5 days per week 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 ounce of nuts.  In gerneal, 1 ounce, or about ¼ cup, is considered to be one serving 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 are 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.  Have them frequently!  

COMMON NUTS

Nuts # in 1 ounce Notable Qualities
Walnuts 14 halves Rich in heart-healthy omega 3 fats, vitamins B-1 (thiamin), B-6, folic acid, High in magnesium, zinc, and potassium and protein.
Almonds 24 whole nuts Rich in monounsaturated fats, niacin, vitamin E, and phytosterols, High in magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium and protein
Pistachios 47 nuts Rich in vitamin A, phytosterols and potassium. High in, vitamins B6 and thiamin, phosphorus, and protein. Lower in total fat than most nuts.
Hazelnuts 18-20 Rich in folic acid. High in monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, potassium, manganese. Local to New England.
Pecans 20 halves Rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. High in vitamin A, manganese, zinc, plant sterols and fiber.

Peanuts 30 whole nuts Technically a legume. High in protein, plant sterols and folic acid.  Good source of fiber, niacin, and vitamin B6.
Brazil Nuts 8 nuts An excellent source of the powerful anti-oxidant selenium.
Cashews 18 whole nuts Good for magnesium and phosphorus.
Macadamia 12 nuts Slightly higher in saturated fat than other nuts.

Ways to work nuts into your day…

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 nuts 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.