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The Health Benefits of Nuts

By Donna Moodie, RD CDN CDE

Eating nuts can be a very healthy part of a heart-healthy diet. Nuts are very high in fats, but they are mostly made up of unsaturated fat, and nuts contain other beneficial substances such as antioxidants and fiber. Although nuts and cheeses are both high in fat and calories, nuts are a much healthier snack choice (being high in unsaturated fat) than cheese which is high in saturated fat.

Some nuts, like peanuts, are also good sources of plant sterols which are cholesterol-like compounds in plants. They have been shown to lower bad cholesterol in the blood. Walnuts contain a type of omega 3 fatty acid called alpha-linoleic acid, which has been shown to have cardiovascular benefits. All nuts can be part of a healthy diet, even if you are overweight or trying to lose weight. Portion size is the key, so try eating one small handful.

Enjoy all types of nuts, add some to your cereal or oatmeal, put some on your salad, whip up some pesto sauce in your blender, or add a small amount of peanut butter to a smoothie. There are endless, creative ways to add nuts to your diet, but sometimes just enjoying them whole is the best way to go.

 ***If you are allergic to nuts, do not eat them.

*** This article was not meant to take the place of medical advice. If you have health issues, see your doctor.

 

Donna Moodie is a Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Family Health and Wellness Program. She can be reached at dm258@cornell.edu

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