It’s Time To Go Nuts With Your Diet
There are many benefits of incorporating nuts into your diet. Even a small handful of these nutritious snacks can provide you with a substantial amount of protein, fiber, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. Tree Nuts, which include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts, have been linked to better weight control, heart health and lower cholesterol.
Nuts offer a variety of nutrients especially when compared to other snacks that are high in fat. Similar to olive oil, the fat in nuts is primarily unsaturated (both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) fats.
Despite providing a variety of nutrients, nuts are high in calories, so it’s good to get in the habit of substituting them for less healthy foods or animal-based proteins, rather than adding them into your diet. For example, use them as salad toppers in place of croutons or bacon bits. The majority of calories in all nuts comes from their fat content but they contain no trans fat or cholesterol. Along with the fact that they are high in protein, nuts are very satiating.
Incorporating nuts into your diet can lower your bad cholesterol level (Low-density lipoprotein or LDL). Having a high LDL count is one of the primary causes of heart disease. All nuts contain fiber, which aids in lowering your cholesterol as well. Another option is nut oils, which are a good source of omega-3s and vitamin E, but do not provide any of the fiber found in whole nuts.
The lowest calorie nuts are almonds, cashews and pistachios – around 160 calories per ounce. Almonds have more calcium and antioxidants, like Vitamin E, than any other nut and are rich in fiber. Cashews are high in iron, zinc and magnesium. Nuts like macadamias and pecans have the lowest amount of protein but the highest amount of fats.
Brazil nuts have a good amount of selenium, which studies have shown may protect against prostate cancer. On the flip side, studies have shown that too much selenium can be harmful and may be linked to type 2 diabetes. One Brazil nut contains more than 100 percent of your RDA, so eat sparingly.
- Make a bag of trail mix with mixed nuts and dried fruits.
- Use ground nuts instead of breading for fish.
- Sprinkle chopped nuts over yogurt, cereal or oatmeal.
- Spread nut butters on apples or bananas or on whole-grain toast.
Walnuts: 14 halves = 185 calories, 18 grams fat
Almonds: 23 nuts = 170 calories, 15 grams fat
Cashews: 18 nuts = 165 calories, 13 grams fat
Pecans: 18 halves = 200 calories, 21 grams fat
Brazil nuts: 5 to 6 nuts, 185 calories, 18 grams fat
Macadamia nuts: 10 nuts = 200 calories, 22 grams fat
Pistachios: 50 nuts = 160 calories, 14 grams fat
Hazelnuts: 21 nuts = 180 calories, 17 grams fat
At Fresh ‘N Fit, we recognize the healthy benefits of nuts and have incorporated them into many of our dishes like our blueberry almond muffins, our turkey meatballs with sliced almonds and sesame squash, or our macadamia crusted duck breast, all which can be found in our Paleo menu. Our new Fall menu includes a delicious paleo breakfast bar made with cashews and almonds, as well as Bourbon glazed turkey with a pecan sweet potato soufflé.
How do you incorporate nuts into your diet? Share them in the comments section!