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I am a believer in reading nutrition labels with everything that I eat. I want to know what I am eating, how many calories, and all of the information I can get. I won’t lie, when it comes to nuts, I try to stay clear. Not only are they high in fat, but you only get a small handful for around 200 calories. Think of the things you could eat for 200 calories that are much larger in size?
My parents have always tried making me eat almonds as a snack, and I asked them “Are you nuts? Have you seen how high in fat they are?” They laughed at me, and I wondered why? Watching my friends consume all different types of nuts every day really made me wonder, what are the benefits of such a small snack? So I did my research and found this:
Almonds— They are packed with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fibers that are needed for a healthy diet. Just one serving of almonds equals 1/8 of the amount of protein you need each day. Almonds do contain a high level of unsaturated fat, but as you would have read in previous blogs, unsaturated fat is HEALTHY (in moderation of course)! Also, eating a handful of almonds a day is a great way to get the vitamin E your body needs to stay healthy. That was enough proof for me to believe that they were good for me. I also found that snacking on almonds kept me more full than other snacks I choose. Looking for more reasons why almonds are HEALTHY and AMAZING? Check out What are the health benefits of almonds?.
Pistachios— My favorite part is cracking them! I only go for the salted ones, but I can handle a little extra salt in my diet because I have low blood pressure (Blood Pressure). Jessica Bruso, holder of a science degree in food policy and applied nutrition, states “Pistachios contain fewer calories and more potassium and vitamin K per serving than other nuts.” (Health Benefits of Pistachios) She also researched and found “A 1-ounce serving of dry-roasted pistachios contains 160 calories, 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and 15 grams of fat, including only 2 grams of saturated fat.” The biggest thing with pistachios is limiting your portions. In reality, that is with all foods! Pistachios are my personal favorite so over-eating them does happen. One trick I like to do is measure out a serving and put them in separate bags. That way, when I want a snack, I can finish the whole bag and know that it was one serving.
Pecans— They are enriched with many health benefiting nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are essential every day. Pecans are also great source of energy. According to Power In Your Diet, Pecans “are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and an excellent source of phenolic antioxidants. Regular addition of pecan nuts in the diet helps to decrease total as well as LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good cholesterol” levels in the blood.” Does this mean you should load up on the pecan pie? Probably not, but adding a hand full of pecan nuts every day in your diet will help keep sufficient levels of minerals, vitamins, and protein. Be smart, and snack on!
Walnuts— If you can handle cracking the shell open, then do it! Walnuts are not only delicious, but the soft, easy-to-chew texture makes it one of the world’s favorite nuts. They are very rich in Vitamin E and also help reduce the risk of prostate cancer and breast cancer. (Walnut Benefits) Walnuts are also very high in fat. In 1 cup there is about 52 grams of fat but only 4.2 grams of that is saturated fat. (The Walnut) That is still a lot of fat, but remember, everything is good in moderation.
Peanuts— The most common nut out there due to the cheap price. Peanuts are more readily-available and cheaper to grow which is why they are so cheap. According to Nutrition and You, “Peanuts are an excellent source of resveratrol, another polyphenolic antioxidant. Resveratrol has been found to have protective function against cancers, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and viral/fungal infections.” (Facts of Peanuts) One thing that makes a peanut odd is that it is referred to as a legume, not a nut. (Peanut) They also contain more saturated fat so be careful when consuming and make sure you only eat one serving.
Nuts taste great and can also be great for you. When you see high calorie food labels with such small portions, don’t avoid them. Check out the nutrition facts and ingredients and usually you will be able to detect why. I can honestly say that now, Almonds are my absolute favorite snack!
“Always remember that it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you keep on going”