Nuts have become a “go to” snack for lots of people. They provide an economical source of protein, and nearly all types of nuts have heart-healthy benefits. They contain a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to prevent irregular heart rhythms that can lead to heart attacks. Experts believe the unsaturated fats in nuts can play a part in lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Nuts have also stepped up as a flour for the gluten-averse, and milk for the lactose-intolerant.

Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale Prevention Resource Center said, “while high in calories nuts can actually help control and reduce total caloric intake and therefore weight. One hundred-calorie packs of junk food, not so much.”  As more people become vegetarian or vegan, nuts can provide a nutritious base for protein. Nuts have not always been seen in such a healthy light.  “I like to say the setting in which we eat nuts matters.  In the 70s, a cup of nuts, a double scotch and a big prime rib is the wrong setting.  While wearing an exercise outfit, emerging from the gym and having a 2 ounce serving, along with a low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables, is the right setting,” said Dr. David Heber, director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. Keep in mind nuts contain different calorie levels, fat content, fiber and protein.  Walnuts for example have 185 calories per ounce, 18.49 g of total fat per ounce, 1.99 g of fiber and 4.32 g of protein.  Almonds contain 163 calories per ounce, 14.01g of total fat per ounce, 3.5 g of fiber and 6.02g of protein.  However, Dr. Haber cautioned if you find yourself enjoying them dipped in sugar, candied, or oiled, they will be packed with extra calories, and should be considered candy!     Los Angeles Times     10/17/12

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