The Nutty Lifestyle
Nuts are bite-size nutritional powerhouses that are packed with healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals such as potassium and magnesium. Nuts are rich in heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, which lower “bad” cholesterol; plus, they are a good source of phytosterols (compounds that help lower blood cholesterol). And although nuts are a healthy choice by themselves, they’ll quickly become detrimental to any diet. Nuts are high in fat and calories, so while a handful can hold you over until dinner, a few more handfuls can ruin your diet altogether.
There are a few nuts that are very important to your health, such as almonds, cashews, and pistachios (they are the best if you’re on a diet). All three nuts are almost equal in terms of calories per ounce, are all healthy additions to any diet, of course in moderation. Because they are so full of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fibre, they help you feel full and suppress your appetite. Any of these are very good additions to any weight loss meal plan as a perfect snack.
- Almonds have one of the lowest-calorie content for nuts in general. An ounce comes up to about 163 calories per ounce, which is approximately 23 nuts (6 grams protein, 14 grams fat).
- Pistachios contain about 159 calories (49 nuts; 6 grams protein,13 grams fat). It’s best to avoid nuts packaged or roasted in oil. Instead, eat them raw or dry roasted. Roasted nuts may have been heated in unhealthy fats, or cooked at high temperatures that have the power of destroying the nutrients.
- Cashews are about 158 calories (16 to 18 nuts; 5 grams protein, 13 grams fat).
- Walnuts are the best nuts for your heart, 14 halves contain 185 calories (18 grams fat, 4 grams protein). They also have high amounts of heart-healthy alpha linoleic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in plants. Research has suggested that ALA may help heart arrhythmias and they were as effective as olive oil in reducing inflammation and oxidation of the arteries after eating a fatty meal.
- Peanuts are high in folate – a mineral essential for brain development that may protect against cognitive decline. Studies suggest that it also makes peanuts a great choice for pregnant women, who need folate to protect their unborn babies from birth defects. Like other nuts, peanuts are also full of brain-boosting healthy fats and vitamin E. One ounce of peanuts (about 28 unshelled nuts) contains about 170 calories, 7 grams protein, and 14 grams fat.
Now you know all about nuts and getting the most health benefits, it’s also important to pay attention to how you eat them. Preferably eat mixed nuts, raw and unsalted, as they provide the best variety of nutrients and antioxidants.