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The Health Benefits of Nuts

Brazil nuts:  Delicious and rich (although with a bit of saturated fat, so go easy), Brazil nuts give you more than just a smooth-tasting snack. Each serving provides a punch of selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, and other trace minerals - even a little iron!

Pistachios: Pistachios are one of the lowest calorie, lowest fat, highest fiber nuts. Plus, you get more pistachios per serving which makes them a great snack alternative and easy way to help you manage your weight. They also have the highest amount of vitamin B-6 among the nuts discussed here.

Almonds:  Almonds are good sources of fiber, manganese, tryptophan (remember the turkeys!) and vitamin E. In fact, one ¼-cup serving contains about 45% of the daily recommendation of vitamin E! Beware of the salt! Often almonds come covered in salt, reach for raw almonds to get the most without the added sodium whenever possible.

Hazelnuts, aka filberts:  Hazelnuts, also called “filberts”, provide healthy monounsaturated fats, a nice extra percentage of vitamin E, and an excellent dose of manganese. Hazelnuts have a nice sweet flavor that reminds you of – but doesn’t share the “sugary-ness” - of hazelnut-flavored coffee and other treats. It’s a little more subtle, and a lot better for you. 

Walnuts:  If you reach for walnuts in the shell you'll notice that their shape bears a strong physical resemblance to the brain. Maybe that’s not such a surprise, though. You might consider them “brain food”, because just a ¼ cup serving is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, each healthy bite gives you fiber and manganese.

Nuts and Fat

Nuts do have fats, but generally the good, healthy kind. They are not calorie free, but at least those calories are giving you something worthwhile. But use ‘em up - being high in fatty acids means that nuts can oxidize, so enjoy them while they’re fresh and delicious. Used moderately as a snack, or as a salad topper nuts pack a punch when it comes to nutrients.

Published January 14, 2011
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