Nuts, although small, are packed with an amazing amount of nutrition. These bite-size items contain proteins, vitamins, minerals and – most important – healthy fats. Eaten as a snack and in the right proportions, nuts provide nutritional value while suppressing your appetite in between meals. In general, all nuts are healthy. But if we pay attention to how the nuts are processed and what they are coated with, we can maximize their nutrition.
This week’s Be Better Challenge is to eat healthy nuts, specifically raw or “dry” roasted nuts, as snacks during your busy days. We challenge you to prepare your own trail mix packed with healthy nuts. Simply buy separate packages of almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc., and make your own favorite mix for the week.
Tips when eating nuts
Eat them raw. Raw nuts have the most nutritional value. Why? Well, according to Judy Caplan, a registered dietician and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, roasted nuts have been heated in unhealthy fats or at a high temperature, which destroys their nutrients.
What does dry roasted mean? When a nut says “roasted” on its packaging label, check the ingredients. Oftentimes that means it is roasted in vegetable oil and salt. Dry roasting does not use oil. Best practice is to buy raw nuts and roast them yourself using olive oil – or roast them sans oil in your oven or toaster oven.
Eat as a snack. We encourage you to eat the nuts as a snack to help energize your body and mind between meals.
Pair nuts with healthy carbohydrates. According to Health.com, a few winning nut-and-carb combos are: Sprinkle them on a salad, add them to nonfat yogurt or spread nut butter on sliced apples or pears.
Mixed nuts provide the best variety of nutrients.
Walnuts: Healthy for your heart because they contain omega-3 fat and have high amounts of alpha linoleic acid. Recommended amount: Eight walnuts a day.
Peanuts: Healthy for your brain. High in folate, healthy fats and vitamin E. One serving is about 28 nuts.
Cashews: These nuts are packed with magnesium, which is necessary for healthy bones.
If you are curious about the specific benefits of certain nuts, read the article on Foods-Healing-Power.com: Click here for more information.
Disclaimer: Before going to the store to buy nuts, be aware that nuts are a common food allergy. Please be cautious of those around you who might have nut allergies.