The Many Healthy Benefits of Eating Nuts – Sometimes the many delicious varieties of nuts have been touted as unhealthy by dieters and those trying to eat better. However, numerous studies have shown that nuts give us a healthy source of fat along with a number of beneficial nutrients including vitamins E and folate, the minerals copper, magnesium and potassium as well as phytosterols and fiber.
According to studies and research by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, consuming one to two ounces of nuts daily along with a healthy diet can lower cholesterol levels and offer cardiovascular protection. The FDA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has reported a positive relationship between consuming nuts and lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease following the results of various clinical trials.
Although doctors aren’t precisely sure why or how nuts can reduce cholesterol and protect the body from the ravages of heart disease, they are developing several viable theories. Naturally, to get the most benefits from eating nuts you will have to eliminate foods high in saturated fats or sugars. Substitute nuts for unhealthy choices like potato chips, fried foods, or fatty desserts.
Adding Nuts to Your Diet
Other than simply grabbing a handful whenever it’s convenient for you, it’s easy to incorporate healthy nuts into your diet. Instead of using croutons, use nuts in your salads and sprinkle some on yogurt and on hot and cold cereals. Nuts can be baked into breads, muffins, pancakes, waffles, and of course, in cookies and cakes.
Eat nuts with unsalted, unbuttered popcorn or add to pasta dishes, steamed vegetables, meats, and soups. Nuts can be lightly toasted in the oven to enhance their flavor and then eaten alone. Do remember that eating nuts covered with chocolate or salt will be quite tasty but will negate the healthy benefits.
Choose from tasty varieties like almonds, cashews, filberts, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, and walnuts. Dry or honey roasted peanuts aren’t actually nuts at all – they are legumes.
Of course, as is the case with any food, too much of a good thing will end up doing more harm than good. One ounce of nuts is equal to about a small handful, and calories can quickly add up if you aren’t careful with portion sizes. To keep yourself from mindlessly consuming too many nuts in one sitting, eat the shelled type which takes longer to eat.
Fortunately, many of the health benefits from nuts come with eating as little as one ounce a day so you won’t have to worry about excess calories. Macadamia nuts and pecans are among the nuts containing the most calories with approximately 200 and 190 calories respectively for one ounce. Chestnuts contain the fewest at 70 per handful. Pistachios, dry roasted peanuts, cashews, and raw almonds contain about 165 calories for a one ounce handful.
Even though nuts are among the healthiest and most natural foods you could eat, many people have life threatening allergies to nuts with an estimated one percent of the population aware of their allergy.
Peanuts and tree nuts are the prime culprits for allergies and eating too many authentic Brazil nuts that are grown in selenium rich soil can cause selenium toxicity. However, nuts remain one of the easiest and tastiest snacks to enjoy and can become a vital part of a heart healthy diet.