You know what? You should go nuts! No, not that kind of nuts, but actually go and grab a handful of nuts right now. Why? Because they are probably one of the most underrated snacks in America.
Not only do they provide a host of nutrients but they are delicious and a versatile addition to any diet.
The lowest-calorie nuts at 160 per ounce are almonds (23 nuts; 6 grams protein, 14 grams fat); cashews (16 to 18 nuts; 5 grams protein, 13 grams fat); and pistachios (49 nuts; 6 grams protein, 13 grams fat). Avoid nuts packaged or roasted in oil; instead, eat them raw or dry roasted, says Caplan. (Roasted nuts may have been heated in hydrogenated or omega-6 unhealthy fats, or to high temperatures that can destroy their nutrients.)
Peanuts are high in folate—a mineral essential for brain development that may protect against cognitive decline. (It also makes peanuts a great choice for vegetarians, who can come up short on folate, and pregnant women, who need folate to protect their unborn babies from birth defects, says Caplan.) Like most other nuts, peanuts are also full of brain-boosting healthy fats and vitamin E, as well. One ounce of peanuts (about 28 unshelled nuts) contains about 170 calories, 7 grams protein, and 14 grams fat.
Here are 5 reasons nuts add up in the nutrition department.
1. They keep you full. According to a 2008 review of weight and nuts, there is little weight change with including nuts in one’s diet even though they are calorically dense. Scientists believe this has to do with the satiety (filling) value of nuts, as they contain, protein, fiber, and fat. There are even some studies that show that weight loss diets that include nuts have better results and compliance than those that don’t.
So, if you are avoiding nuts in favor of your waistline, don’t!
2. They are good for your heart. Nuts contain the amino acid arginine, which is involved in a process that allows blood vessels to dilate and blood to flow freely. A review in the American College of Nutrition discovered…