Eating Healthy Calories with Nuts

May 2, 2010

Go for Nuts in Moderation

I once was told by a client that she stays away from nuts because they are like “little fat pills”.  Nuts do have about 80 percent of their calories from fat. Their nutrient dense properties and potential health benefits are worth consideration.

  • Nuts are great source for: protein, fiber, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorous, protein, and fiber.  The essential fatty acids, linoleic and linolenic acids found in nuts are the healthy fats. They help with growth, healthy skin and hair, blood pressure control, immune system and blood clotting.
  • Eating nuts like almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and macadamias have been associated with decreased risk of heart disease by 30-50 percent. This is due to their action: 1) reduce build-up of plaque in blood vessels 2) reduce LDL the “bad” cholesterol 3) raise the HDL the “good cholesterol “.  It was thought that fat from nuts may be metabolized differently than let’s say fried chicken. See nut nutrition facts below.
  • Eating 5 or more 1 oz serving per week may reduce risk for type 2 diabetes. (Harvard School of Public Health study) Who would not want that?
  • Eating nuts can help with weight loss. When eating nuts in moderation (1/3 cup serving) and control your total calorie intake you can lose weight. The theory is that you can feel fuller, and less deprived from the fat, protein and fiber in nuts. This is one of the reasons flight attendants used to give you a package of nuts and a drink to hold you until landing.

Nuts are usually thought of as a snack food. Actually you can count eating one serving of nuts (1/3 cup) as one ounce of meat. They belong to the meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, nuts and seeds group.  Due to the high protein content nuts are great for a vegetarian diet. Try nuts on your cereals, salads, toppings for desserts, and in casseroles. Many oriental dishes call for nuts.

Nut Tips:

  • If you counting calories don’t eat nuts straight out of the container, portion it out first. 1 ounce ~ 1/3 cup
  • Choose the dry roasted, unsalted more often for the lower fat and sodium content.
  • To bring out more flavor you can roast nuts at 350° F for 5-10 minutes.
  • Coating nuts with seasonings other than salt or sugar (such as spices) for healthier nuts.
  • Buy nuts in bulk through a food co-op then freeze to keep fresh and save money.

Nut Calorie Chart

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