17 May 2016 It’s Time to Go Nuts and Get Seedy

If you haven’t already gone nuts or seedy, then it’s time. Research suggests that including nuts and seeds in the diet lowers the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, abdominal obesity, cancer, heart disease and lung disease. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved food label health claims that state: Eating 1½ oz per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Worried about the calories? Although nuts are dense in calories, studies have actually found an inverse association between nut consumption and BMI or weight gain. One study showed that individuals who ate at least ¼ oz per day of tree nuts had lower weight and waist circumference than those who did not. This may be because nuts are high in protein, fat and fiber so you stay satisfied longer and might eat less later.

Pay attention to the following calorie content so you don’t overdo it:

Almonds 23 nuts per oz 164 calories
Cashews 18 nuts per oz 157 calories
Hazelnuts 21 nuts per oz 178 calories
Peanuts 30 nuts per oz 161 calories
Pecans 19 halves per oz 196 calories
Pine nuts 3½ Tbsp per oz 191 calories
Pistachios 49 kernels per oz 158 calories
Walnuts 14 halves per oz 146 calories
Chia seeds 2 Tbsp per oz 138 calories
Flax seeds 4 Tbsp ground per oz 150 calories
Sesame seeds 3Tbsp + 2 tsp per oz 160 calories
Sunflower seeds 3 Tbsp +2 tsp per oz 164 calories

Source: USDA

*Note: The household measurement quantities are approximate due to varying sizes of nuts and seeds.

Interesting facts about nuts and seeds from the American Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics:

  • California produces 80% of the world’s almond supply.
  • Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family.
  • Peanuts are technically a legume. They pack the most protein at 7 grams per oz.
  • A study showed that subjects eating in-shell pistachios consumed 40% fewer calories than those eating shelled pistachio kernels.
  • Sesame seeds are especially high in sterols that lower cholesterol.
  • Walnuts have the highest antioxidant content of the tree nuts. They also contain melatonin which is important for sleep regulation.

Ideas for including nuts and seeds:

  • Toss a Tbsp of chia or pumpkin seeds into your breakfast smoothie.
  • Mix a Tbsp of almonds with a Tbsp of dark chocolate for a crunchy snack.
  • Enjoy nuts and seeds in salads to add a healthy crunch.
  • Mix walnuts, almonds or peanuts with dried fruit for a simple trail mix.
  • Put ¼ cup nuts into baggies for a quick snack on the go.
  • Toast walnuts, almond slivers or pine nuts to release their rich flavor. Dry sauté on the stovetop or toast in oven. When you start to smell the aroma, they are done.
  • Add ground flaxseed or chia seed to cereal, yogurt or smoothies.
  • Sprinkle ground flaxseed or chia seed on top of cooked veggies to add a nutty flavor.

Go nuts and get seedy. Your health will benefit from them!

Brenda Braslow, MS, RD, CDE

Brenda is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator in Denver,

Colorado who specializes in diabetes prevention and health enhancement.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

Tags:

Foods & Recipes/Nuts & Seeds Nutrients/Fats

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