Going NUTS after the holidays?

As we enter a new year, many choose to focus on weight loss.  With that in mind, dieters tend to shy away from nuts.  Although calorie dense, they are a nutritional powerhouse.  Nuts are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, vitamins (such as vitamin E and folate) and minerals (such as magnesium and calcium).  Having “just a few” nuts can also assist with satiety.  What is the healthiest nut?  It depends on what your focus is.  According to the chart below, almonds offer the most “bang for your buck”.  Incidentally, peanuts were added to the list, although they are technically legumes rather than nuts. If you are concerned about fat, focus on the healthier fat content rather than the total fat amount.  Believe it or not, even nuts contain saturated (unhealthy) fat, therefore minimize macadamia, brazil and cashew consumption.  Pick sources of unsaturated (good) fats which provide total Omega 3 fatty acids, the best being walnuts.  For highest protein content, choose almonds or peanuts and for fiber, almonds win again! The best magnesium sources are: coconut WATER (not milk), brazil nuts or cashews. If interested in Vitamin E or calcium supplementation, then almonds are the ideal choice.

Suggestions for dieters.  The lowest calorie content per ounce is almonds, pistachios or peanuts.  But if you are prone to over eating your favorite nut, choose a different type or consider buying the nuts in their shells and work for them! For portion control, purchase 100 calorie pre-packaged almonds. Other tips:  Choose raw unsalted or dry roasted nuts to avoid excess oil, salt and sugar preparations.  If you have a sweet tooth, try cocoa dusted almonds.  Beware of trail mixes, since many include chocolate pieces or other high calorie tasty additives that make you want to eat more!  Adding a few nuts to your salad or fruit snack are great ways to slow digestion and feel satisfied longer, which potentially decreases overeating.  Just don’t go nuts and eat too many!

Nutritional Content of Common Nuts (1 oz.)

Nutrients per 1 oz. (weight)
Nut
Variety
Approx # of nuts
Cals (kcal)
Protein (g)
Total Fat (g)
Satur-ated Fat (g)
Mono- unsatur-ated Fat (g)
Poly- unsatur-ated Fat (g)
Carbs (g)
Fiber (g)
Almonds
23
160
6
14
1
9
3.5
6
4
Brazil
Nuts
6
190
4
19
4
7
6
3
2
Cashews
18
160
4
13
3
8
2
9
1
Hazelnuts
21
180
4
17
1.5
13
2
5
3
Maca-
damia Nuts
11
200
2
22
3.5
17
0.5
4
2
Pecans
19 (halves)
200
3
20
2
12
6
4
3
Pine Nuts
165
190
4
20
1.5
5.5
10
4
1
Pistachios
49
160
4
18
1.5
7
4
8
3
Walnuts
Peanuts
14 (halves)
28
190
159
4
7
18
14
1.5
2
2.5
6.8
13
4.4
4
5
2
2
 (foodreference.about.com)
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