Nutty Nutrition ~ [Issue 0306-1]
Mar 13, 2006 11:16 PST
Some diets tell us to avoid nuts or eat them sparingly. After all,
they are high in fat, and that translates into lots of calories. But
adding more nuts to your diet can keep you in better health - without
packing on the pounds. In fact, nuts can help you stabilize your
weight, since they are full of protein, which helps satisfy you and
keep you full longer than a lot of high-carb, low-fat foods. Plus,
the fat that nuts contain is the good kind - monounsaturated.
Nuts also have other great qualities to recommend them. Eating a
handful four or five times a week can improve your heart health and
provide a long list of essential nutrients to your diet. They offer
healthy amounts of vitamins A and E, plus several B vitamins and lots
of fiber. As for minerals, nuts provide calcium, magnesium, zinc,
selenium, phosphorous, and copper - all essential for optimal health.
And just about any variety you choose is good for you. Almonds come
with some bonus calcium, along with almost 20 percent of your daily
RDA for riboflavin (one of the B vitamins) in just 1/4 cup. Brazil
nuts rank first in supplying selenium and offer up lots of vitamin B1
(thiamin). If it is copper you are after, stock up on cashews - a
mere 1/4 cup gives you 38 percent of your necessary daily dose, plus
lots of magnesium and phosphorous. Sweet hazelnuts (which go great
with chocolate) are one of the best suppliers of vitamin E, plus they
contain a healthy helping of folate and plenty of potassium. And
walnuts serve up 91 percent of your RDA for omega-3 fatty acids, and
a whopping 43 percent of your manganese requirement.
In addition to their health benefits, nuts also make a convenient
snack or addition to any meal. They keep for a long time (some up to
12 months in the freezer) and they come in lots of different forms -
raw, blanched or roasted; nut butters and flours; whole, sliced,
diced, or slivered.
And here are some fun facts about nuts. Did you know that . . .
- All nuts are seeds, but not all seeds are nuts.
- Peanuts are not nuts at all, they are legumes.
- Chestnuts are the least fatty nuts of all, only 8 percent.
- You can refresh frozen nuts by lightly toasting them in your oven.
- All varieties have been shown to improve cholesterol levels.