Dietary trends seem to fluctuate between one extreme and another over the decades. Back in the 1980s, everyone avoided consuming fat, and we saw a spate of “low fat” products hit the market. Then, the “experts” advised us to switch to switch to high-fat, high-protein diets like Atkins and everyone was chowing down on steaks, potatoes with sour cream, nuts, seeds and the like. These days, we seem to have swung back to the low (or even no) fat position of the dietary spectrum.
Well, if you’ve been avoiding nuts because you think they’re too high-fat or too high in calories, I’m here to tell you: Do not fear the nut! Here are seven great reasons why.
1) Nuts are heart-healthy. You’ve probably seen the magazine ads from various nut boards about the mono- and polyunsaturated fats in most nuts (and seeds) being good for your heart. Many also contain good amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids, all heart-healthy oils that can help to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol. They also reduce the chance of blood clots (which can lead to heart attack and stroke) and help preserve artery health.
2) Nuts provide protein. Just one ounce (28 g) of almonds provides 6 grams of protein, more than 1/10 of most women’s daily protein needs.
3) Nuts can help normalize blood sugars. Adding nuts to your meals can lower the overall glycemic load, which means your blood sugar won’t spike the way it might if you had a high-carb meal—great news for Type 2 diabetics, too.
4) Nuts offer important vitamins and minerals. Although specific amounts vary depending on the type of nut, most nuts contain manganese, vitamin E, magnesium, copper or B vitamins.
5) Nuts are high in fiber. One ounce (28 g) of most nuts provides 3.5 grams of fiber, or 14% of the daily recommendation. Not bad for a small handful!
6) Nuts are a great portable snack. Nuts are the perfect snack to take on the go. They don’t require any special preparation or seasoning and they don’t need refrigeration if you eat them within the day. Carrying a ziploc bag filled with assorted nuts, raisins, and seeds is a great way to stave off that mid-afternoon crash, too.
Nuts are delicious! Besides all the other health-related benefits, nuts just taste good. They’re buttery, slightly crunchy, and some, like cashews or macadamias, are even slightly sweet.