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Nuts Nutrition

Nut nutrition has not always been considered a welcome addition to a healthy diet. But that was at a time when all fat was considered bad. Now, thanks to continuing research, all that has changed and those nuts that taste so good are also great healthy diet additions. Nuts still have a fat content of 80% but are considered a nutrient dense food. That makes nut nutrition good for you.

That’s the case because the high amount of fat in nuts is unsaturated, or the good kind of fat and not the bad kind, which includes saturated and trans fat. Most of the fat in nuts in monounsaturated, the type that raises lipoprotein, the good cholesterol, and not levels of bad cholesterol.

Research on nuts has come up with some interesting results. Certain nuts, such as walnuts, macadamias, almonds and hazelnuts are linked to a decrease in heart disease. It is believed that they lower cholesterol and decrease the plaque build-up in blood vessels.  Nuts also have an excellent amount of vitamin E, which is an antioxidant. In addition, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet suggests that we eat 4-5 servings of nuts, dried beans, and seeds, which is proven to control hypertension.

Nuts have an extraordinary amount of vitamins and minerals--amounts depend on the type of nut. These include thiamine, B5, folate, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin E, pyridoxine,
Iron, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, manganese, and copper.

Another healthy way to include nuts in your diet is to use them to replace foods that have high saturated or trans fats. Other ways to reduce the fat content of nuts themselves is to make portions smaller by slicing or chopping your nuts, omit cheese as a topping when using nuts, reducing meat portions when including dishes containing nuts, using fat-free dressing, and by combining nuts with cereal and dried fruits when snacking.

Most nuts--peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and pecans have monounsaturated fats, As a result of the benefits of these fats, in 2005 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration started to allow companies to include a qualified health statement on the labels of nut products containing chopped or whole peanuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios pecans, and hazelnuts. The statement reads: Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces a day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.

So, as long as you choose not to overdue it in quantities, nut nutrition is quite high. The nutrient dense quality of nuts--protein, vitamins and minerals have many health benefits. Plus, nuts taste good, not only eaten by themselves as a snack, but when added in a variety of ways to main dishes.


 

 


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