Nuts are seeds that are covered in a hard shell. They are an excellent source of protein, fiber and healthy fats. They are tasty and are great “on-the-go”. If you are cutting down on your animal sourced foods, nuts are a great way to ensure that you get enough of these nutrients.
The food guide pyramid counts 1/3 cup of nuts as the equivalent of 1 oz meat.
Most nuts are great by themselves, but think about adding nuts to your salad, smoothie, or blending them into your soup (check out this recipe for pumpkin soup with added walnuts or pine nuts here) or add ground nuts to your hot cereal.
Here is a rundown of the top varieties, their calorie content and what makes them special. I could go on and on about the health benefits of nuts, but these are the highlights. Click on the name of the nut to get more in-depth info.
All the nuts are relatively high in total fat, so be careful when using them daily in your diet.
- serving size: 14 halves calories: 185
- Omega 3: 2.6 g (as much as 4 oz of canned salmon) The only nut to have high Omega 3’s
Special fact: This type of Omega 3 fatty acid is high in alpha-linolenic which has brain boosting power that help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- serving size: 23 nuts
- calories: 163
lead the nuts in fiber content, vitamin E and calcium. 1/4 cup almonds has more calcium than 1/2 cup ice cream (95 vs 85 mg)
- serving size: 11 nuts
- calories: 204
Special fact: High in Thiamine with keeps your nervous system healthy
- Serving size: 49 nuts
- calories: 162
Special fact: Rich in lutein, an anti-oxidant for healthy vision and skin. Also have as much potassium as a small banana (287 mg) (Notice that natural pistachios are beige…not red. They are dyed to hide imperfections that occur in harvesting.)
- serving size: 18 nuts
- calories: 163
Special fact: get 10% of your daily RDA of iron (1.9 mg) in 1 serving. Also a great source of folate (cancer fighter) and vitamin K (helps blood to clot normally).
- serving size: 6 nuts
- calories: 186
Special facts: One Brazil nut contains more than the required daily allowance for selenium. Selenium is the subject of many studies that suggest selenium can prevent cancers. It is essential for Thyroid health, but too much selenium can cause hair loss, so don’t eat brazil nuts every day.
- serving size: 19 halves
- calories: 196
Special fact: Pecans are rich in beta-sitosterol, a type of plant sterol found to lower cholesterol, and aid in prostate health as well as fight cancers.
- serving size: 1/4 cup
- calories: 228
Special fact: High in manganese, a mineral that helps metabolize carbs and protein. Pine nuts are the nuts of choice for weight loss because of this fact, and the fact that the fatty acids in pine nuts increase hormones that help you to feel full. Also high in iron (3 mg).
Some other things to remember with nuts: watch the added salt. Better to buy raw or roasted unsalted.
And for-the-love- of-all-that-is-clean…don’t eat the nuts at the bar!! Do you know how many people reached into that bowl that didn’t wash their hands in the restroom?!! It’s disgusting!
Notice I didn’t include peanuts……because peanuts are technically not nuts at all. They are part of the legume family as in beans.
If you like peanut butter, try almond butter which packs a bit more nutrition and tastes just as good with grape jelly. 🙂
Thanks for reading! Healthy living!
some info taken from November 2010 Health magazine