Nuts: Which Nuts Are the Best and Why?
Nuts are a powerhouse of a snack. They provide protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Satisfying and flavorful, almost everyone enjoys including nuts in their diet. With all of the news in the media about the benefits of nuts, many people wonder "which nuts are best and why."
Here are the facts. Different nuts have different nutrition benefits, however nuts are associated with:
Improved cardiovascular health, because of the high monounsaturated fatty acids
Good nutrient density-the calories they provide are healthful and useful to the body
Taste and textures that are satisfying
High levels of vitamin E and phytonutrients
More research exists on some nuts than others. The carbohydrate, protein, and fat ratio differs slightly among the different nuts, so eating a variety is possibly the best way to reap all of the benefits that they offer!
Scientific evidence supports the role of almonds in cardiac health, specifically cholesterol-lowering properties when almonds are consumed in a diet that is low in saturated fats and cholesterol.
Other facts about almonds:
1 ounce (oz)/23 almonds/handful: 160 calories, 14 gram (g) fat (1 g saturated, 3.5 g polyunsaturated, 9 g monounsaturated), 6 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein, 4 g fiber
Antioxidant power of vitamin E rich in alpha-tocopherol, which is the form of vitamin E that the body absorbs most readily
Add almonds to side dishes, cereals, and salads
Eat them with fruit as a snack
Try almond butter and jelly sandwiches
Substitute almond flour when baking
For more information, visit http://www.almondsarein.com
Cashews have high levels of essential minerals-iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and manganese.
Other facts about cashews:
1 oz: 160 calories, 13 g fat, (3 g saturated, 2 g polyunsaturated, 8 g monounsaturated) 9 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, 1 g fiber
High levels of magnesium are touted for heart, bone, and muscle health
Good source of monounsaturated fatty acids
Add to entrees, side dishes, and desserts or eat them plain
Store in a cool, dry place in an airtight container
For more information, visit http://www.organiccashewnuts.com/
Hazelnuts are a powerful source of vitamin E and phytonutrients and are associated with building a strong immune system.
Other facts about hazelnuts:
1 oz: 180 calories, 17 g fat, (1.5 g saturated, 2 g polyunsaturated, 13 g monounsaturated) 5 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein, 3 g fiber
For more information, visit http://www.hazelnut.com/
Peanuts are classified botanically as legumes rather than tree nuts, because they grow underground.
Facts about peanuts:
1 oz: 161 calories, 14 g fat (1.9 g saturated, 4.4 g polyunsaturated, 6.9 g monounsaturated), 4.6 g carbohydrate, 7.3 g protein, 2.4 g fiber
Highest protein content of any nut, especially satisfying and beneficial for children, vegetarians, and those with higher protein needs
Rich in essential minerals, such as magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc
Rich in B vitamins and phytonutrients
For more information, visit http://www.peanut-institute.org/
Pecans are touted for their antioxidant properties and cardiovascular benefits.
Other facts about pecans:
1 oz/20 halves: 200 calories, 20 g fat (2 g saturated, 6 g polyunsaturated, 12 g monounsaturated), 4 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein, 3 g fiber
Add to cereals, breads, side dishes, and desserts or eat them plain
For more information, visit http://www.ilovepecans.org/nutrition.html#antioxidants
Walnuts are a great source of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, and are associated with healthful weight loss.
Other facts about walnuts:
1 oz/14 halves: 190 calories, 18.0 g fat (1.5 g saturated, 13 g polyunsaturated, 2.5 g monounsaturated), 4 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, 2 g fiber
The highest nut ranking on the Index of Nutritional Quality
Sweet or savory, enhancing almost any meal or snack
For more information, visit http://www.walnuts.org/walnuts/
References and recommended readings
International Tree Nut Council, Nutrition Research & Education Foundation. Nutrition research. Available at: http://www.nuthealth.org/nutrition-research/. Accessed August 29, 2012.
The Peanut Institute. Eat well, eat peanuts. Available at: http://www.peanut-institute.org/. Accessed August 29, 2012.
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