Going a Little Nuts

July 31, 2018 in Health, Mediterranean, Uncategorized by Joyce Bunderson

It seems to be one of the holdovers from the days when so many were eschewing any food with fat; but there are still people who don’t include nuts in their diet because of the fat content. Too bad!!! Nuts and seeds are dense with fiber and nutrients. The fat in nuts is mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated and some omega-3 fatty acids –good kinds of fat.

Some large studies have found that people who eat nuts five or more times a week had a 27% lower risk of diabetes. There is a great deal of research that has found a relationship between eating nuts and lower cardiovascular disease; one study even found that those who eat nuts every day had a 32% lower risk of heart disease.

It’s not yet fully clear what it is about nuts (some possibilities that researchers are considering: the unsaturated fats; omega-3 fatty acids; the fiber; the vitamin E; the plant sterols (plant sterols and stanols are powerful cholesterol-lowering properties); and the L-arginine (an amino acid linked with heart health benefits.)

Nuts, not only add to the nutrition in a big way, but flavor and satiety also really get a big boost when nuts are included. Nuts are a great snack food. If you feel like you just can’t make it to the next meal, try a tablespoon or two and you may be surprised how fast this healthy food knocks down the hunger.

Don’t forget nut butters; they’re a real bargain. This healthy bargain property definitely includes peanut butter; even though the peanut is technically a legume, not a nut. Also, I’ll remind you to look for nut butters that have no added oil or sugar.

Besides having nuts for a snack, you may want to consider ways to increase flavor and nutrients, like: making pesto; crusting fish with nuts; using in stir-fries; sprinkling them on cereal and vegetables; and of course, baking with nuts.

The area that needs a little caution is calories. So you’ll want to have a moderate portion size. It’s probably not a good idea to sit down to watch a movie with a canister of nuts within reach. When you add nuts to a recipe, consider cutting back on the added fats in the recipe, to offset the calories of the nuts. Most nuts are 160 calories an ounce, or more. Two of my favorites, macadamias and pecans are 200 calories per ounce. Think of them like you do olive oil; it’s healthy and a great item to include in your diet, but you don’t want to over indulge. So just go a little nuts.