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Health Nuts

Timeless Nutrition Tips...

Almonds and walnuts have made 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.

Cholesterol Conscious Almonds

Fresh Almonds Nine clinical studies over more than a decade have shown that almonds can lower cholesterol as part of a diet low in saturated fat. These clinical trials were an integral part of the data submitted to the FDA for the first authorized qualified health claim:

"“Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease."

Almonds may also help with regularity. Just one ounce of almonds provides 3 grams of fiber. This is 12 percent of the recommended Daily Value.

Of the 14 grams of fat found in one ounce of almonds, nine grams are monounsaturated. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that the majority of fat intake be monounsaturated. A crunchy one-ounce serving of almonds contains a similar amount of total polyphenols as one cup of green tea and 1/2 cup of steamed broccoli.

Almond Eating Suggestions

  • Satisfy your sweet tooth by mixing almonds with your favorite dried fruits or chocolate chips.
  • A handful of almonds can satisfy your craving without undoing your whole day. Sprinkle them over some fat-free frozen yogurt or whole grain cereal. When you really want to indulge, keep a gourmet chocolate bar with almonds on hand. Just make sure you keep your portions in check.
  • Almonds work great with fish, poultry, and other proteins. They can also liven up all sorts of side dishes.
  • A satisfying handful of almonds can get you through an afternoon slump.

Nutrients in Walnuts

Fresh Walnuts

Walnuts are rich sources of n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are known to lower blood cholesterol levels. Plus, Walnuts are the only nut that contain a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids!

Walnuts are also a good source of magnesium, phosphorus and copper. Walnuts also provide protein and dietary fiber.

Did you know?

  • Walnut oil was once used as lamp oil.
  • The walnuts grown commercially in the U.S. are known as "English walnuts" because they were first brought to our shores on British mercantile ships.

Eat Peanuts!

Eat Peanuts!

When researchers at Vanderbilt University tracked the diets of more than 70,000 Americans for 5-1/2 years, they found that those who ate the most peanuts had a 21 percent lower risk of death in that time frame than those who ate the least. Just a small handful every day could gain you similar benefits. It's the unsaturated fatty acids, fiber and antioxidants that work magic that benefits your heart.

People who love nuts are celebrating the new research findings that state the unsaturated fat in nuts can actually reduce your risk of heart disease.

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 never 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.

Health NUt Food Fix

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

September 13th is National Peanut Day.

Here is a chart to help you in determining an ounce of various nuts.

Type of Nut # of Nuts in 1-ounce Calories
Brazil nuts
6 to 8
10 to 12
Pecan halves
Pistachios (shelled)
Walnut halves

Printable page of the caloric content chart  (a new window will open for you).