5 Nuts You Ought To Know
Although many people seem to veer away from nuts and nut butters for fear of fat, this whole food is a nutrient powerhouse. One I choose to include in my diet – daily! Nuts are a nutrient dense food and ideal as a satisfying snack on the run as they fit easily right inside your purse or bag. Recent research by the USDA found that those who consume nuts are more likely to get enough vitamin A and E, folate, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and fiber.
Walnuts are the winners when it comes to antioxidants and heart-healthy fats. According to a recent study from the University of Scranton, walnuts beat out eight other nuts! Top off a salad of leafy greens and berries with seven walnuts to reap the rewards of this nut.
23 almonds are all it takes to meet 35% of your daily vitamin E and 25% of your daily magnesium needs. Whole almonds help you to meet your fiber goals and help fight off inflammation in your body; both contributing to a healthy heart.
What I love the most about pistachios is that they are truly a slow food. Whereas most of us can consume hundreds of calories in a few moments of eating most any other nut, shelled pistachios require us to pause as we peel off each individual shell. As you snack on the recommended serving of 49 kernels you will be rewarded with as much potassium as ½ banana - helping to reduce your risk of blood pressure. This nut is perfect for a campfire companion as you can toss your shells right in the fire!
Okay, so peanuts are not actually a nut at all (rather a legume along with beans and peas), but as most of us group them together with the nut family, here they are. According to David Grotto, RD, (http://101foodsthatcouldsaveyourlife.answerstv.com/AnswersTV/index.aspx ) peanuts are a good source of antioxidants, protein, and surprisingly, resveratrol – the antioxidant found in red wine! The nutrient combination alone is enough reason for me to continue adding two-tablespoons of natural peanut butter to my oatmeal in the morning! My favorite brand is Koeze (http://koeze.com/all-natural-peanut-butter.aspx ) as the ingredient statement is clean and simple: peanuts and sea salt. Yum!
This nut delivers many of the same nutrients found in the other nuts, yet hazelnuts include more folate than the rest. Folate (the natural version of folic acid) is essential for women trying to conceive as this B vitamin has been proven to reduce the risk of neural tube birth defects. Hazelnuts are delicious raw, but I must admit that my favorite way to indulge is when they are blended together with cocoa, sugar, and skim milk in the form of the Italian spread, Nutella (http://www.nutellausa.com/ ). Delicious in oatmeal with sliced banana or simply spread on a warm slice of whole grain toast.
This hearty nut is a great source of heart-healthy fats. Pecans may do one better for your heart according to the January 2011 issue of the Journal of Nutrition which indicates the antioxidant rich pecans, primarily in the form of vitamin E, may contribute to heart health and a lowered disease risk. While pecans are delicious on their own, I cannot get enough of pecan-crusted seafood (http://www.ilovepecans.org/recipes_entrees.html#trout ). This is a must for your recipe arsenal!
Whether you opt for a raw trail mix, natural nut butter, or a handful of nuts on their own; eat and enjoy with the satisfaction that you are aiding both body and mind with each bite. Just be sure to keep portion control in mind as a serving of nuts is a single one-ounce serving, roughly the size of a small handful.
Aim for 4-5 servings each week for the health benefits discussed above!