- Food and Cooking»
- Cooking Ingredients
5 Nuts You Should Be Eating
Small Package, Big Punch
Nuts are packed with much-needed vitamins and minerals making them an excellent addition to a healthy diet. They're also loaded with good fats and protein, so keep some in your desk at work for those moments when you think you won't last until lunch time! Here are five nuts that are easy to find, delicious, and good for you.
Almonds are one of my favorite nuts because they go so well with so many other foods. I always keep a can of them stashed in my desk at work for the days I have to stay late. Just one 3.5 oz serving of almonds packs a whopping 600 calories- that's nearly an entire meal! They are high in fat, but the good news is, it's good fat. Adding almonds to a healthy diet has shown to actually reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) levels while maintaining HDL (good cholesterol) levels, making them an asset in the fight against heart disease. It gets better though. Almonds are also an excellent source of fiber, protein, iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, zinc and vitamin E. Add some almond slivers to a salad and you have a winning combination!
Peanuts are one of the most common nuts you'll find. Oddly enough, the peanut is more closely related to the pea than it is to a nut. It's a close cousin to lentils. Despite this, the peanut offers many of the same benefits that the almond does, including lowering bad cholesterol levels while maintaining good ones. Peanuts are packed with folic acid (a much-needed vitamin for pregnant women), vitamin B1 and B3, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and, best of all, antioxidants. You can reap all the benefits of peanuts in any of their many forms: peanut butter, roasted, salted, honey roasted, candied, etc. They also go really well in stir-fries. Get some raw peanuts and toss a handful in your stir-fry towards the end of cooking. Putting them in too early can cause them to become soft.
Walnuts are truly exceptional nuts. It can be a challenge to find omega-3 fatty acids if you're not into eating fish, but not to worry! Walnuts are one of the richest sources of omega-3s after fish. If you're following the Mediterranean diet, walnuts play a huge role in what makes that diets such a healthy one. They also contain antioxidants, vitamin E and trace minerals such as magnesium, copper, phosphorus, and manganese. Walnuts go well with fresh spinach, so if you like spinach salad, add a few crushed walnuts.
Pecans are essential for baking yummy pies and cookies which we're glad to hear, because they only our favorite desserts a little more on the healthy side. Though they are full of healthy fats, according to studies done on pecans in the diet, they do not contribute to unhealthy excess weight gain. They also have the same LDL lowering benefits as many other nuts. Because they're a little more sweet and tender than walnuts, I'll eat them just by themselves. It's like a healthy potato chip!
These are the weird nuts that are in every holiday mix of nuts that usually get picked around. They're not something to be looked over, however, because they have some great things to offer. Eating only two of these huge nuts will give you about the same amount of calories as one whole egg. They're great if you don't have time to prepare a meal. The best quality of the Brazil nut is the selenium found in them. They are one of the richest sources of the mineral. Selenium plays a role in reducing the risk of heart disease and cancers and has also shown to reduce allergies and inflammation.
The Bottom Line
Nuts are nature's multivitamin. Generally speaking, people who include nuts in their diet are healthier than those who don't. This list isn't exhaustive. Most nuts have loads of vitamins and minerals so consider adding them to your repertoire!