Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Go Nuts! But Which Kind Is Best?

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A common question people ask us is, "which nut is best"? It's an interesting question. It would be just plain nutty (sorry, had to!) to recommend one nut over another based on nutritional value alone as each type of tree nut provides us with valuable nutritional properties (that is, some "good stuffs"). Listed below are the common tree nuts and their special "super power" nutrient. You may wonder about peanuts, which are actually a "legume". Peanuts do have good fat but many tree nuts surpass them nutritionally in other ways.

Word to the wise: ALL nuts are a source of "unsaturated" or "healthy fat" and the 1 oz portion size listed is about 160-200 calories per 1 oz serving - so more is not necessarily better as the calories can add up quickly!

There was a study that came out recently that looked at using 2 oz of nuts as a replacement for carbohydrates and compared it to two other dietary changes. The people that were put on the "nut arm" of the study did better than the two other diets (they had lower average blood sugars and lower bad cholesterol). However, translating that study into practice would involve being sure to reduce calories from elsewhere in the diet (i.e. less carbohydrates) so that the nut calories would not cause weight gain.

Bottom Line: Nuts are a great source of many nutrients so be sure to include them into your diet somehow. Use the list below to find out how many nuts equals a 1oz portion size.

ALMONDS - Excellent source of vitamin E
1 oz serving = 20 almonds

BRAZIL NUTS - One Brazil nut provides 100% of your daily value for selenium
1oz serving = 6-8

CASHEWS - Rich in magnesium
1oz serving = 16-18

HAZELNUTS - Rich in vitamin E
1oz serving = 18-20

MACADAMIAS - Excellent source of manganese
1oz serving =10-12

PECANS - High in total flavonoids (disease fighting compounds)
1oz serving = 18-20 halves

PINE NUTS - High in copper
1oz serving = 150-157

PISTACHIOS - Great source of plant sterols
1oz serving = 47-49

WALNUTS - Excellent source of Omega3 fatty acids (the ALA type)
1oz serving = 8-14 halves

There's a great handout with this info, and more, on the Nut Health's websiteNow, no more nut-jokes and I meant it! Anybody want a peanut? ---April & Michelle

GetRealGurls Nutrition. Your source of realistic and reliable nutrition information. Check ‘em out at www.getrealgurlsnutrition.com

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