Oh Nuts! ~ Your Health with Rick Bellanti

By Rick Bellanti-October 2019

Do you remember that old saying, “Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut – Sometimes You Don’t.”

Well you may want to start feeling like adding more nuts to your healthy diet, because those little guys pack an awful lot of goodness in them. It’s a healthy snack that’s good for you (like anything else in moderation though). You still need to be wary of the high fat and calories but these little all natural snacks provided by Mother Nature pack a powerful punch. The fats are heart healthy fats; they are filled with vitamins, minerals, protein and even fiber, to help you stay satisfied longer between meals.

Nuts may reduce risk factors for metabolic syndrome, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels studies have shown that nuts may reduce your risk of other chronic diseases such as improving blood sugar levels in your body. All nuts are about equal when you are talking calories per serving, eating them in moderation will make a great addition to any diet. A mix of Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber will help you feel full and suppress your appetite.
Let’s look at some nuts:
One of the healthiest nuts to add to your diet is the Almond.

An almond is a tree nut, that is low in calories and has more calcium than any other nut. Almonds are rich in fiber and vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps fight dangerous inflammation, and may improve cholesterol levels, making them a great food for overall health. A small handful in between meals is a great snack and the fiber will keep you full until your next meal. Almonds are the number one snack for dieters because they are the lowest calorie nut per serving.

Did you know that the healthiest nut for your heart are Walnuts?

They have high amounts of heart healthy Omega-3 fatty acids found mainly in plants. We all know that Omega-3 fatty acids are important fats that you must get from your diet. A recent study suggested that walnuts were just as effective as olive oil at reducing inflammation and oxidation in the arteries after eating a fatty meal, and it only takes a small amount of about 8 to 10 walnuts daily.

Peanuts are high in folate which is considered a mineral essential for brain development and is highly recommended to individuals who don’t get folate in their normal diet, such as vegetarians. Along with folate, peanuts have vitamin E and are full of brain boosting healthy fats. Just watch the salted ones, it’s best to buy dry roasted or plain unsalted peanuts (always avoid nuts roasted in oil).

Eating a small handful of pistachios after a meal has been known to help reduce the rise in blood sugar levels and a diet rich in cashews reduced blood pressure and both may help increase “good” HDL cholesterol.

In general, nuts are good sources of fat, fiber and protein and a great addition to add to any healthy eating choices. Whichever nut you choose, it’s always best to purchase them raw and unsalted for the best health benefits. Most of the nuts we mentioned a serving is the small inside portion of your hand (peanuts about 30, almonds about 15, walnuts about 10 etc.) The best way to purchase snacking nuts is in the individual serving bags. Each bag is 100 calories per serving so there’s no guessing involved.

Nuts are one of the healthiest snacks you can eat, as they contain a wide range of essential nutrients, minerals and fiber. When incorporated into a healthy diet consisting of other natural, whole foods, nuts may help reduce risk factors for many chronic diseases. Till next time, “Go Nuts”!

Rick Bellanti is a wellness columnist and is on a journey himself to lose 240lbs, and has lost 160lbs since the start of 2015. If you have any questions or comments, please post them to his Getting Healthy with Rick Bellanti Facebook page and once a month he will address a few of the topics here. ◊