Nuts are a healthy and nutritious part of any diet. Here are 7 health benefits of nuts that you may not have heard before.
How much should I eat?
As much as 80 percent of a nut is fat. Even though most of this fat is healthy fat, it's still a lot of calories. That's why you should eat nuts in moderation. An average healthy diet can consist of anywhere between 20-40% fat. So if you are eating a 2000 calorie per day diet, you're looking at around 600 calories from fat sources. A 1/4 cup serving of mixed nuts is about 170 calories, with 17 grams of fat. Or 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter have 200 calories or 16 grams of fat.
I happen to love eating a slice of whole-grain toast every morning with peanut butter, then a 1/4 cup serving of nuts in the afternoon as a snack. So that's about 370 calories and 33 grams of fat. Coupled with the natural fat I'd get from meats and other food, that's plenty.
The best way to think of nuts is as a healthy substitute for unhealthy sources of saturated fat that you'd get from baked goods, ice cream, potato chips, etc.
What kinds of nuts are most nutritious?
Most nuts appear to be generally healthy, though some more so than others. Walnuts are one of the best-studied nuts, and it's been shown they contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts and pecans are other nuts that appear to be quite heart healthy. And peanuts — which are technically not a nut, but a legume, like beans — seem to be relatively healthy.
The lowest-calorie nuts at 160 per ounce are almonds (23 nuts; 6 grams protein, 14 grams fat); cashews (16 to 18 nuts; 5 grams protein, 13 grams fat); and pistachios (49 nuts; 6 grams protein, 13 grams fat). (source: health.com)
Keep in mind, you could end up canceling out the heart-healthy benefits of nuts if they're covered with chocolate, sugar or excess salt.
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