Can I Eat Nuts For A Snack?
When I talk about diet to my patients, I often get asked whether nuts make a good snack. I have to be honest, I’ve wondered this myself. The short answer is yes. But first I would like to mention that if you are hungry between meals, try and find out why. Usually it’s because you haven’t eaten enough nutrient-rich foods. Another possibility is if you’re going through a very stressful time in your life. Your body may respond by increasing your hunger sensations. If neither of these are the case, then nuts can make an excellent snack in small portions. Nuts are high in fat and calories and the main problem is that people tend to eat too many of them. For example, one ounce of nuts is about 20-25 almonds or 5 Brazil nuts. One serving a day is more than enough to give your body what it needs. This is also why you shouldn’t be using nuts to fill the hunger gap. Overeating can make your calorie count skyrocket.
That being said, here’s what’s good about them:
Some known Health Benefits of Nuts
1. Contain some anti-viral properties.
2. Help reduce the factors that may lead to cancer
3. Help keep the elasticity of the arteries and control blood pressure
4. Contain varying amounts of vitamins and minerals depending on the kind of nut that you consume.
5. Good source of antioxidants
6. Good source of protein
7. Some have anti-inflammatory properties
Healthy Nuts to Snack On
1. Walnuts – Considered one of the best type of nuts; they have great anti-inflammatory benefits, which is good for those who are suffering from infection, especially the elderly. Walnuts help in the treatment and prevention of psoriasis and eczema. They also deliver the highest amount of Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidant ellagic acid, which is known to support the immune system. A serving of walnuts contains 185 calories, 18 gms fat, and 2 gms of fiber.
2. Hazelnuts – Hazelnuts are found to be rich in iron and antioxidants that strengthen blood vessels. Most people don’t know that they help prevent Urinary Tract Infections. One serving contains 178 calories, 17 gms fat, 3 gms fiber.
3. Almonds – This is perhaps one of the most popular types of nuts. Almonds contain the highest amount of calcium and Vitamin E; they also help in keeping the gastrointestinal tract in balance. One serving of almonds has 163 calories, 14 gms fat, and 4 gms fiber.
4. Pistachios – Known to be a good source of phosphorus, copper, potassium, magnesium, and B6, pistacshios also deliver about 30 vitamins and minerals, making them the healthiest nut. One serving of pistachio contains 157 calories, 13 gms fat, and 3 gms fiber.
5. Pecans – Contain high amounts of antioxidants that helps flush away the free radicals found in body tissues. They are also known to contain zinc. Pecans contain 193 calories per serving.
6. Brazil Nuts – Contains omega-3 fatty acids and high amounts of mineral selenium, which is thought to be helpful in the prevention of breast cancer. They are also rich in protein, copper, niacin, magnesium, and fiber.
7. Cashew Nuts – Has a lower fat content compared to other nuts and 65% of this fat is unsaturated, which is the good kind of fat that your body needs. They are also known to be good source of copper, zinc, magnesium, iron, and biotin.
8. Macademia – These nuts are excellent source of protein, fiber, potassium, healthy mono-saturated fats, and magnesium.
Limit your intake to no more than a serving a day and you can reap the full benefits of this delicious and nutritious snack. Remember it’s all about moderation.
In my next post, I’ll address whether or not you should buy roasted or raw nuts.