Health in a Nutshell
Because nuts are high in fat, they've been banished to the tiny tip of the Food
Pyramid along with other oily outcasts. Nuts, however, are also loaded with
protein and other nutrients, and numerous studies are linking these tasty little
morsels with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and
especially heart disease.
University researchers studying the health habits of physicians and nurses over
many years found that those whose diets included the most nuts had the lowest
risk of dying from heart disease during the study -- even after taking into
account other risk factors for heart disease, such as exercise, smoking, weight,
use of vitamin supplements and diet. The mono - and polyunsaturated fats found
in nuts are speculated to be responsible for their cholesterol-lowering effects,
especially if nuts are substituted for artery-clogging saturated fat.
studies have shown that nuts may help lower LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol),
in particular. Some nuts are also high in alpha-linolenic acid, a fatty acid
that has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Nuts contain
heart-healthy dietary fiber, vitamins E and folic acid, and the minerals copper,
selenium and magnesium, which may also play a role.
– Don't Add Fat
Which nuts offer the most benefit and how many are recommended have yet to be
determined. And despite their potential health benefits, nuts still pack a lot
of fat and calories. A quarter-cup of most nuts contains 200-240 calories and 15-20
grams of fat. The best bet is to include a variety of different nuts into your
diet and substitute them for fatty snacks and meats.
time you're snacking, grab a handful of peanuts instead of chips. Add a sprinkle
of walnuts to your favorite pasta recipe and cut back on the meat. Cashews are
great in chicken dishes, pecans taste fabulous on pancakes, and almonds add
flavor and crunch to salads.