I love nuts and eat them every day. Portable, convenient, delicious and packed with fantastic benefits, they’re one of nature’s most overlooked superfoods. If you’re trying to snack smarter and are looking for foods that sustain and enhance health, nuts are the answer. Here’s a quick guide on what you need to know, to go nuts for nuts:
Bust a Myth: Nuts Won’t Make You Fat!
Read my lips: a 1-ounce serving of nuts everyday won’t make you fat – but they will make you healthier! Nuts are loaded with protein, fiber, antioxidants and LDL-lowering fats – the kind that make your heart happy, so don’t miss out. Check out the stats below to get a better idea of what the serving sizes are and enjoy a serving a day.
Lets Get Nuts
When buying nuts, the prescription is simple: buy ‘em raw, unroasted, unsalted and organic to get the most benefit. If you like roasted nuts, then roast ‘em yourself to maintain their nutrients. Nuts that are processed, packaged, coated in yoghurt or chocolate are essentially candy, so skip them altogether.
Transform Your Nuts
Not a nut eater? Then sneak them into your diet by blending a few into your morning smoothie. Even nut refusnicks will hardly know they’re there. Or try tossing nuts into a food processor. Grate/chop them into powdered form and use the powdered nuts to top oatmeal, salads, soups and fruit. You can also use the processor to grind your nuts into homemade, preservative-free nut butter. If you’re going store-bought, look for nut butters with the fewest ingredients – preferably sugar free and organic. To add a bit more flavor without sacrificing nutrition, you can stir in your own pinch of Himalayan salt.
Refer to the Nuts-o-pedia…
My favorite nuts from a nutritional standpoint are almonds, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts. Here’s what they can do for you:
- They’re high in protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, folic acid; they’re the most nutrient-dense nut of all and help lower cholesterol. Got a headache? Almonds can help take the edge off a headache because in addition to all the aforementioned nutrients, they also contain pain-blocking compounds.
- There are 23 almonds are in a 1-ounce serving, and roughly 165 calories.
- A little goes a long way. Just one Brazil nut contains a bit more than a day’s dose of selenium, which helps support thyroid health and is thought to offer some protection from prostate and breast cancers. Don’t go overboard on this little powerhouse though – a single nut, enjoyed two or three times a week, is plenty.
- 6 nuts are in a typical 1-ounce serving – but remember, you only need one nut every other day or so. Each Brazil nut clocks in at about 31 calories.
- Cashews nuts are a great source of iron, folate, vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, vitamin B, zinc, folic acid, vitamin E and omega-3s. In addition to their delicious creamy taste, cashews help make your heart happy by delivering a dose of monounsaturated fats, which help lower bad cholesterol.
- Though botanically, cashew nuts are actually considered seeds, you can enjoy 18 of ‘em in each 1- ounce serving.
- Hazelnuts are packed with vitamin E, folate, B vitamins and arginine, plus fiber, protein and potassium. They are thought to support health in part by delivering antioxidants that help strengthen blood vessels. They’ve also been shown to help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and reduce symptoms of depression.
- You’ll get to enjoy 21 nuts in every 1-ounce serving, so dig in.
- People are so used to seeing pecans in sugar-drenched pies that they probably don’t realize that pecans taste great without all that sugar and are amazingly good for you. What’s inside a pecan? More than 19 vitamins and minerals, plus protein, cholesterol-lowering compounds, antioxidants and plant sterols that support prostate health and help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
- The best part is that a 1-ounce serving entitles you to 19 halves – a perfect portion for a pre- or post- workout snack.
- Pistachios aren’t just fun to crack open and eat, but they’re also heavy on nutrition and light on calories. These nuts rate high in potassium and cholesterol-lowering plant sterols. They’re a great source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are essential to supporting eye health. Protein-rich pistachios are also thought to be helpful in reducing blood pressure as well as the risk of some cancers.
- If you like pistachios, you’re in luck because a 1-ounce serving will net you a 50-nut handful!
- While I hate to play favorites, walnuts are tops in my book when it comes to taste and nutritional advantages. What makes them so special: walnuts deliver omega-3’s to support brain health; ellagic acid to support immune function; and alpha-linoleic acid to protect against heart disease, depression and Alzheimer’s. Not bad for a funny looking little nut with a tough shell, eh?
- You’ll get 18 halves to chew on in every 1-ounce serving, so I suggest we all get cracking!
To add even more foods-with-big-benefits to your daily diet, check out my post on my 9 favorite superfoods.