Goin' Nuts

November 08, 2012

Nuts have gained a place of honor in the nutritional regimens of millions of Americans. As more people turn to vegetarianism as a healthy alternative to meat-based diets or simply lower their meat intake, nuts have become valued as a great base for protein.  And nuts come with tremendous health benefits!
  • In 2003, the U.S. FDA issued a statement for particular nuts -- walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pine nuts, hazelnuts and pistachios -- allowing labels to say that scientific evidence suggests that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • In 2009, the National Institutes of Health studied walnuts' effects on people with diabetes and found that the participants who ate walnuts felt full without an effect on their insulin levels.
  • Studies found that 1 oz. of nuts a day can diminish inflammation.
  • A study published by British Medical Journal in 1998 found that individuals who ate nuts five times a week had a 35% reduction in heart disease risk.
  • Fiber-packed nuts help slow digestion, which helps you feel full longer and can lead to weight loss.
  • Research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found an additional 25% reduction in cholesterol levels after nut consumption.
What are the best nuts to eat?  They're all good, but come with their own special benefits.   Check out some of those health benefits of  a one-ounce serving of the following nuts.
  • Almonds pack almost nine times more monounsaturated healthy fat than dangerous saturated fat and healthy dose of protein, fiber, calcium, and iron. They are one of the best sources of vitamin E, which offers protection against stroke and cancer and no cholesterol! One serving of almonds has 160 calories and 14 grams of fat.
  • Walnuts are loaded with the same omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and and are filled with polyunsaturated fat, thought to protect against type 2 diabetes. One serving of walnuts has 190 calories and 18 grams of fat.
  • A study from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University found that pistachios have the highest level of LDL-lowering plant sterols. They're also a great source of potassium and are high monounsaturated fat, with nearly as much as almonds. One serving of pistachios has 160 calories and 13 grams of fat.
  • Hazelnuts are packed with folate, which offers protection against against birth defects and have high of good fat to bad. One serving of hazelnuts has 180 calories and 17 grams of fat.
  • Pecans are a good choice for fighting high cholesterol. High in unsaturated fat, they're also lower in bad saturated fat than other nuts. One serving of pecans has 160 calories and 20 grams of fat.
Peanuts?  Well, they're actually legumes, but many studies have found that they're a good choice for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels AND are higher in protein than actual nuts, coming in at a whopping 7 grams of protein per serving!  One serving of peanuts has 170 calories and 14 grams of fat. So get a little nutty, it's good for you!

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