Going nuts about nuts

By: Krista Leck Merner, Jun 14, 2012

I hear conflicting things about nuts. Some people say they're really good for you, others say they're fattening. Should I be eating more nuts?

Get the truth about the health benefits – and pitfalls – of eating nuts

Both are right! Nuts are both good for you and high in fat; however, they are high in healthy fats. Nuts are a great source of the heart healthy fats —monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, including omega-3 fatty acids. With that in mind, nuts are very calorically dense. For example, a small handful of almonds (about 1/4 cup) is 170 calories. Remember, moderation and portion control is key! Studies suggest that eating 1-2 oz. of unsalted nuts daily, in combination with a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Not only are nuts a source of heart healthy fats, they are also a great plant source of protein, fibre, antioxidants (vitamin E) and phytonutrients.

The best way to incorporate nuts into your daily diet is to replace items high in saturated (unhealthy) fat with healthier fat sources, like nuts. Instead of bacon bits and cheese in a salad, sprinkle on some nuts. Or choose a nut butter spread instead of a high fat mayo or deli meat on sandwiches. Nuts are easily incorporated into snacks — 10 to 12 almonds and a piece of fruit is a great combination of protein and a fruit serving.

Bottom line is nuts are a healthy choice…in moderation!

Krista Leck Merner is a registered member of both the Nova Scotia Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada. Whether it is losing weight, regulating blood sugars, increasing vegetable intake or improving performance, Krista’s approach to nutrition is individualized, realistic and goal-oriented. Krista combines her own love of food with client food preferences and lifestyle to achieve success in establishing lifelong healthy habits. Learn more at http://www.bentforknutrition.com/.