With obesity reaching record levels in the U.S and the numerous diets created in response to that, nuts seem to have gotten the cold shoulder. However, nuts can be very important to our diets. They can give us a great energy boost and provide our bodies with plenty of antioxidants, vitamins and especially minerals. What has likely given nuts somewhat of a bad name are the fats and the calories that they are generally high in. Yet, most of the fats that nuts contain are actually healthy fats like Omega 3’s and other monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (MUFA’s and PUFA’s) that can actually help you lose weight instead of gain it.
The calorie content of nuts are daunting. Many of us tend to have trouble managing the amount of nuts we eat because we tend to snack on them right out of the container. This makes it hard to keep track of how many you’ve eaten at a given time which makes it hard to determine the calories you’ve eaten. On top of that, several companies can add salt, honey, or even candy them in some way, which can make us want to eat even more.
Keep your daily intake of nuts to about 2 ounces per day. GO for unsalted and unsweetened nuts. This will help keep your calorie intake to a minimum while also giving you many of the health benefits. As a bonus, our bodies can’t digest all the parts of the nuts (mainly the fiber) so it may actually reduce the amount of calories that you would get by 10-15%.
Nuts are low on the glycemic index, which is great if you have or are at risk for diabetes. Peanuts are especially good for diabetics because they are very low on the index.
Nuts are a great source of vitamin E, you’ll find a healthy dose of vitamin E for most nuts in just 1 serving. Many nuts are also packed with manganese, selenium or copper. These are essential for our bodies in small amounts because they help us produce powerful antioxidants like Glutathione.
To sum it up, Nuts can help you lose weight, keep your heart healthy, fight off obesity, diabetes and cancer and give you a healthy dose of antioxidants, vitamin E and minerals that give us energy, and protect us from diseases. It’s important to remember to keep your daily intake to about 2 ounces per day.
- Trox J, Vadivel V, Biesalski H, et al. Bioactive compounds in cashew nut (Anacardium occidentale L.) kernels: effect of different shelling methods. Journal Of Agricultural And Food Chemistry [serial online]. May 12, 2010;58(9):5341-5346.
- The Dr. Oz Show