When looking for a quick snack while you are on the run this summer, reach for a handful of heart healthy nuts! Nuts are proven to have a variety of health benefits and are recommended as part of an overall healthy diet.
The FDA recommends eating 1.5 ounces of nuts per day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. Tree nuts are categorized as a plant-based protein that contain fiber, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, cholesterol-lowering properties, and heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
However, not all nuts are created equal. When consuming tree nuts, pay attention to portion size and type. Choose raw nuts over roasted, sugar coated, or flavored varieties. In addition, nuts are a calorie-dense food, ranging from 160-200 calories per ounce. Therefore, it is recommended to replace them in the diet for other foods, particularly those high in saturated fats.
Follow these tips below from eatright.org next time you are choosing a nut variety or including nuts in your meal.
Pistachios (Approximately 49 nuts per 1-ounce serving)
Contain a variety of antioxidants. Pistachios make for great addition to salads, grain dishes and as a coating for meats due to their bright color.
Almonds (Approximately 23 nuts per 1-ounce serving)
Excellent source of vitamin E and magnesium, also provides calcium and folate. Almonds are a versatile ingredient that can be used whole, sliced, blanched to remove skins, and as flour, paste or butter.
Cashews (Approximately 18 nuts per 1-ounce serving)
Cashews are a good source of copper and magnesium. They have a soft consistency with a delicate, sweet flavor.
They are generally eaten as a snack, but often used in Asian recipes and to make a rich, creamy nut butter or vegan cheese.
Macadamias (Approximately 10-12 nuts per 1-ounce serving)
This nut is high in fat, however 17 of the 22 grams are monounsaturated. Macadamias provide a great source of manganese.
They have a unique buttery taste and smooth texture that makes them a great snacking choice. In addition, they are often baked into cookies or coated with dark chocolate.
Pecans (Approximately 19 halves per 1-ounce serving)
Pecans are rich in antioxidants and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. They have a sweet, mellow flavor and meaty texture that well suites them for a variety of dishes, including salads, as a coating for fish, and in sweets such as pralines and pecan pie.
Walnuts (Approximately 14 halves per 1-ounce serving)
Walnuts are considered an integral part of a Mediterranean diet. They are rich in antioxidants and excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based form of omega-3.
Brazil Nuts (Approximately 6 nuts per 1-ounce serving)
Brazil Nuts are the largest nut that is commonly eaten. In addition to polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, they contain more than 100 percent of the daily value for the antioxidant selenium. Their rich, creamy texture makes them a great snacking choice.
Melinda Caldwell is a TSET Healthy Living Program Specialist.