Top Ten Nuts to Eat!
Do you avoid nuts because you believe they are fattening and lack in important nutrition? Not true! We love nuts and have found them to be a most delicious and healthful snack that will benefit most people who enjoy good healthy eating. Let’s take a look at what some who have studied nuts have to say….
Macadamia Nuts Are Heart-Healthy
Incorporating macadamia nuts into a heart healthy diet can reduce cardiovascular disease risks according to Penn State researchers.
“We looked at macadamia nuts because they are not currently included in the health claim for tree nuts, while other tree nuts are recommended as part of a healthy diet,” says Dr. Amy E. Griel, recent Ph.D. recipient in nutritional sciences. “Macadamia nuts have higher levels of monounsaturated fats, like those found in olive oil compared with other tree nuts.”
The researchers used a controlled feeding study to compare a heart-healthy diet with 1.5 ounces – a small handful – of macadamia nuts to a standard American diet. The participants had slightly elevated cholesterol levels, normal blood pressure and were not taking lipid lowering drugs. Researchers randomly assigned participants to either the macadamia nut diet or the standard American diet and provided all meals for the participants for five weeks. The participants then switched diets and continued eating only food provided by the researchers for another five weeks.
The Healthy Heart diet with macadamia nuts did reduce total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels compared with the standard American diet.
“We observed a reduction in LDL similar to that seen with other tree nuts like walnuts and almonds,” says Griel.
Individual calorie levels were used for each participant so that they did not gain or lose weight during the study. Both diets were matched for total fat, containing 33 percent calories from total fat. The Heart Healthy diet with macadamia nuts had 7 percent saturated fat, 18 percent monounsaturated fat and 5 percent polyunsaturated fat. The standard American diet had 13 percent saturated fat, 11 percent monounsaturated fat and 5 percent polyunsaturated fat.
The macadamia nut diet included macadamia nuts as a snack, mixed into meals, as a salad topping and in cookies and muffins.
“The total fat was the same in both diets,” says Griel. “We substituted the macadamia nuts for other sources of fat and protein in the diet. For example, we could switch skim milk for 2 percent milk and add some macadamia nuts.”
Macadamia nuts are native to Australia, but were imported to Hawaii and thrived. The first commercials crop of Hawaiian macadamia nuts was harvested in 1956.
Researchers from the nutritional sciences department on this study included Griel; Deborah M. Bagshaw, Clinical Coordinator Amy M. Cifelli, research dietitian; Yumei Cao, graduate student and Penny M. Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor.
This study was supported by The Hershey Company with partial support from NIH. Contact: A’ndrea Elyse Messer
Macadamia nuts are loaded with fat and high in calories. These are not traits you would generally associate with a healthy food. But, before you write macadamia nuts off, you should also know that they are a unique source of key nutrients and actually are good for your heart. In the context of a healthy diet, macadamia nuts are a snack alternative you can feel good about.
Macadamia nuts are among the fattiest of all nuts. Surprisingly, it may be the fat in the nuts that makes them healthy. The majority of the fat in Macadamia nuts is in the form of monounsaturated fatty acids. A Chinese study published in 2006 in the “International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research” found that 82.6 percent of the fat in macadamia nuts is monounsaturated. In comparison, olive oil, a highly touted source of monounsaturated fatty acids, contains 55 to 83 percent monounsaturated fats. These types of fatty acids benefit the cardiovascular system.
Like other nuts, macadamia nuts contain a good deal of fiber. One oz. of macadamia nuts contains about 2.3 g of fiber. That’s about 10 percent of your daily fiber needs in 10 to 12 nuts, according to the “Carbs-Information” web resource. Fiber adds bulk to the stools and keeps the bowels moving regularly. According to a 2007 article in the “Journal of Environmental Science and Health,” macadamia nuts are also a source of important trace minerals, including magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, chromium, manganese and zinc.
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Nuts are good to have as a stand-alone snack or to add flavor to desserts, salads and main meals. According to the British Heart Foundation, regularly including nuts in your diet may help to improve your cholesterol levels, and trainer Charles Poliquin recommends having a handful of plain nuts as a low-sugar, craving-busting mid-afternoon snack.
A 2003 study in the “International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders” found that subjects on a low-calorie diet enriched with monounsaturated fatty acids from almonds lost more weight than those on a typical low-calorie, high-carbohydrate diet. A small handful of almonds — around 1-ounce — is a high-protein snack, full of healthy fats and other essential nutrients.
Around half the fat found in cashews is of the heart-healthy, monounsaturated kind, which, according to nutritionist Dr. Jonny Bowden, may help to reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and other illnesses. Try adding cashews to stir-fries, salads and curries for added flavor, texture and nutrients.
Macadamia nuts are very calorie-dense; one nut can contain up to 18 calories. However, around 86 percent of the fat in the Hawaiian nut is monounsaturated. To keep your portions modest and still reap the benefits of healthy fats and sumptuous texture, mix a small amount of whole or chopped macadamia nuts with lighter foods, such as chilled veggie salads or unsweetened dried fruit.
Like macadamia nuts, walnuts are slightly higher in calories than other nuts, but that shouldn’t put you off from eating them. Walnuts are one of the two plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids — essential fats your body must obtain from food, and that play a significant role in heart health and brain function.
Pistachios are a slightly lower-calorie nut, containing only 161 calories and 12.7 grams of fat per 100 grams. Avoid the dry-roasted ones, which often contain added oils, calories and excessive amounts of salt. Pistachios also provide valuable amounts of B-vitamins, such as vitamin B-6.
Dr. Bowden advises eating Brazil nuts as a way of protecting against cancer. Brazil nuts provide a huge amount of the trace element selenium, more, in fact, than almost any other food. A daily dose of Brazil nuts can help to protect your cells and boost your immune system.
Peanuts aren’t actually nuts. They’re grown underground and are considered a legume. Due to their nutritional and physical similarities to nuts, however, they’re often referred to as such. Peanuts rival strawberries when it comes to antioxidant content, and the former contain high amounts of the B-vitamin niacin, which is important for keeping your skin and digestive system healthy.
Pecans are a good source of various vitamins and minerals, including thiamin, magnesium, iron, zinc and vitamin E. They also contain around 3 grams of fiber per serving. Make sure you eat your pecans plain and not as part of a pie if you’re concerned about calorie control. On the other hand, pecan pie does provide more fiber and other nutrients than other high-calorie desserts, such as fudge cake.
Hazelnuts may be a less commonly-eaten nut, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t posses good health benefits. They contain the plant sterol beta-sitosterol, which helps to lower cholesterol and reduce the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Chestnuts, another less commonly eaten nut, also provides many health benefits. They are slightly lower in calories and overall fat than other nuts, and are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, iron, potassium and magnesium.
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TO YOUR GOOD HEALTH- SNACK DELICIOUSLY!
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