The news about nuts can be so confusing. You may have heard that nuts are healthy and you may have heard that nuts are fattening. What’s the truth? What are the best and worst nuts for health?

In this article I want to demystify this subject for you and give you some clear answers and advice about what nuts, how much and the health benefits.

Best and worst nuts for health – let’s take a look…

Peanuts and tree nuts are rich in heart healthy fats as well as being high in both protein and fiber.

Peanuts are high in monounsaturated fats and tree nuts are high in polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Monounsaturated fats have been shown to decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, while omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Fiber is important to improve the digestive system. It has also been shown in studies to improve blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes and decrease the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels as well as decrease the incidence of certain types of cancer.

Protein is important for tissue repair, to build cells and maintain a strong immune system.

Nuts and your weight

Including nuts in your diet can also help with weight control. This might surprise those of you who have heard all the negative rumblings about nuts and fat. But let me explain…

Because of the fat, protein and fiber content, an increased level of satiety is achieved when consumed as a part of a healthy diet. People who snack on a small portion of nuts daily maybe more likely to maintain a healthy weight.

Almonds and pistachios are particularly high in fiber, and along with peanuts, are high in protein. Walnuts and almonds both score high in omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts are also rich in folate, magnesium and vitamin E.

assorted-nuts-in-wooden-bowl

When and how to eat your nuts

Nuts can be added to entrees, salads, eaten in the form of nut butters (think peanut butter and almond butter), as a beverage (almond or cashew milk) or alone as a snack.

When choosing a nut butter make sure to read the ingredients. Low-fat nut butters have had added sugar in place of the fat that was removed. Nut butter should not have more than one ingredient, the peanut or tree nut.

Almond milk may have as much, if not more, calcium per serving than dairy milk. Make sure you read the label and look for almond milk with a calcium content of at least 30% of the Daily Value.

Almond and cashew milk can be added to cereals, beverages (coffee, tea or smoothies), and recipes or enjoyed as a refreshing drink.

One serving is about a quarter cup raw or roasted nuts, 1 tablespoon of nut butter or 8 ounces of almond or cashew milk.

A final ‘warning’

Although nuts can be terrific and have amazing nutritional qualities, it is true that the calories can add up. So, as with so much else, enjoy them in your diet but do so in moderation.

I hope this clears up any confusion or uncertainty about the best and worst nuts for health and clears the way for you to enjoy nuts!

Connect here with WatchFit Expert Cabiria Groccia

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