Guest Column: Nuts aren’t just a must during Heart Month

Date Published: 
February 28, 2014

Whether an on-the-go snack or a side dish, nuts are a great way to eat healthy and stay satisfied.

Some nut information:

• Nuts are delicious and satisfying. Aim to eat a small handful each day (about a quarter cup).

• Choosing nuts without added salt or sugar is healthiest. Try sprinkling a few on your salads!

• Nuts are cholesterol-free and are an excellent source of heart healthy monounsaturated fats.

• Nuts are rich in energy and are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and much more!

Let’s meet the nuts:

• Pistachios: Dry fruits believed to originate in the mountain ranges of west Asia. They are an excellent source of antioxidants, Vitamin E and minerals. They are a member of the cashew family.

• Cashew nuts: Native to Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, cashews were spread worldwide by Portuguese explorers. They are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and essential minerals — especially manganese, potassium, copper, iron and selenium.

• Pecans: Popular tree nut that belongs to a member of the hickory family and is really a fruit. These are a rich source of “ellagic acid,” an antioxidant thought to protect the body from disease.

• Walnuts: Edible kernels of the fruit from trees. These are an excellent source of omega 3 essential fatty acids, thought to help lower the risk of coronary artery disease, strokes and some cancers.

• Almonds: A 1-ounce serving (23 almonds) contains about 163 calories. They are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which help lower LDL (or bad cholesterol).

• Brazil nuts: Contain exceptionally high levels of selenium. Just one or two each day provides enough of this trace mineral.

• Pine nuts: Small edible seeds of pine trees that once served as a food source for Native Americans. These are rich in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E and B complex vitamins.

Patricia Bradley is a Medical Nutrition Therapist and Certified Diabetes Educator at Beebe Healthcare. She has worked at Beebe since 1999 and is a graduate of Penn State University. She received her Masters of Nutrition degree from Immaculata University.