With so much going on in our lives we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves, even the little things in life. That’s why today, I want to let you in on a little snack that has great health benefits and that little snack is “Nuts”. Just by eating 1 to 1 ½ ounces of your favorite nut each day may reduce your risk of heart disease. Nuts are also a great snack that is packed with protein, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and magnesium and may help reduce your sugar cravings.
I realize that you may not like certain kinds of nuts and that is okay. There are some that I am not fond of, but the ones that I do like, I always eat a handful each day or incorporate them in my foods. Or sometimes I mix three or four different nuts together in a ziploc bag to create your own one of a kind mix. You can throw the bag in your purse and when you need a small snack it is always there and you are not reaching for other sugary options.
I am going to highlight a few nuts and their health benefits. Of course this is for raw nuts and not for any kind of nuts that are roasted, spiced or sugared. Just plain ole nuts.
Almonds are a great choice. About an ounce contains 162 calories, which is about 23 almonds. They contain the most fiber of all nut varieties and also include vitamin E, vitamin B, calcium, iron and are a great antioxidant which can help reduce cholesterol. And if you don’t like to eat nuts by themselves, just add a handful of slivered almonds to your oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast or add a handful to your salad for lunch. There are a variety of ways to incorporate nuts into your diet with very little effort.
Pecans are one of my favorite of nuts. About an ounce contains 196 calories, which is about 20 halves. Pecans contain high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids (good fats….yeah), beta carotene and vitamin E and are a rich source of magnesium, iron and zinc. I like to eat them plain but I also like to incorporate pecans into my gourmet chicken salad. It adds a little crunch and great flavor.
Walnuts are another favorite of mine. Of course I am talking about English Walnuts. About an ounce contain 185 calories, which is about 14 halves. Walnuts contain heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain protein, vitamin E, magnesium and potassium. I also like to use walnuts on my salads.the
Cashews taste great and are a great source of potassium and are packed with other vitamins such as B6, vitamin E and folic acid which can also help fight heart disease. An ounce of cashews contain 157 calories, which is about 16 whole cashews. Cashews are also good for eye health. They contain lutein and zeaxanthin which acts as antioxidants. Together these two compounds protect the eyes from light damage and can help with cataracts. I like to also add cashews to my chicken salad for a great flavor.
Pistachios are part of the cashew family and are a good source of many vitamins, including vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E along with protein and fiber. An ounce of pistachios contain about 159 calories for about 25 nuts. Pistachios are great for heart health, weight management and can also help with diabetes and hypertension along with improved digestion.
So if you are like me and need a mid-afternoon snack and are looking for something good and good for you, nuts are the answer. I would love to hear from you as to what other healthy snacks you and your family enjoy?