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Health Nuts

Timeless Nutrition Tip

Almonds and walnuts continue to make headlines for their health benefits, specifically their ability to lower blood cholesterol levels. Nut lovers rejoice and have about 1/4-cup of walnuts or almonds three times a week.

Health Nuts

But what about nuts that do not fall under the scientific spotlight? In a general sense, all nuts are high in fat (although most of it is the healthier unsaturated variety). They contain plenty of protein and small amounts of fiber and iron.

On closer inspection, a few of them sport some interesting nutritional value. For example, both almonds and cashews are good sources of vitamin E, carrying about four to five times more of this antioxidant than other nuts that are rich in the mineral selenium - so rich, in fact, that scientists are studying their potential as a weapon against certain types of cancer.

More studies already suggest that pecans, macadamias, and pistachios may be equally adept at lowering blood cholesterol levels. So, don't single out one nut to munch on. Variety and portion control are key.

Refined sugar, soda and candy are considered "added sugar" in the Food Guide Pyramid. These foods provide energy, but little other nutrients. However, refined sugar is not "bad" sugar and there is no evidence that sugar causes hyperactivity or diabetes.

Good Fats for Health Nuts

Essential fats, often called good fats, are fats that our bodies cannot make on their own. We need to get them from the foods we eat.

The problem is most of the good fats naturally found in our food supply are destroyed during processing and cooking. These special fats are important because they play a role in virtually every function in the body and are found in every cell in the body.

Quality sources of good fats include oils such as flax, olives, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Good fats are also found in seafood sources such as salmon and tuna. Last but nevre least, they are found in avocados and in nuts like walnuts and almonds.

To be sure you are getting enough good fat in your diet, add a tablespoon of good oils to prepared foods, or have a serving of salmon or tuna two or three times a week.

Extra: Food Fix

To crush nuts quickly and easily, place in a self-sealing plastic bag and roll with a rolling pin.

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