Heartland Nuts

Healthy Nuts

You don't have to be a health nut to appreciate the benefits of nuts to a healthy diet. In years past, a bowl of nuts went along side chips and beer at Super Bowl parties and peanuts are a tradition at sports stadiums everywhere. Though never really a staple in the traditional American diet, nuts were never really evaluated and considered healthy until recently. However, it is now known that nuts can in fact be a good part of a healthy diet and are a healthy food choice everyone can both enjoy and benefit from.

Healthy nuts is really a redundant phrase because all nuts have some health benefit. Recent studies indicate that a once ounce serving of nuts daily can have heart health benefits when eaten as part of a healthy diet. Nuts are low in or free of cholesterol and contain protein and fiber along with various other recommended vitamins and minerals.

In the newly revised food pyramid, the daily recommendation calls for 51/2 oz of foods from the meat and beans group. Nuts are included in this food group. While nuts are not typically consumed as a source of protein, peanut butter is the most consumed nut product and is high in protein. Exceptionally healthy nuts include almonds and hazelnuts as they are the richest source of Vitamin E, a vitamin many people lack in their daily diet. Walnuts are healthy nuts because they contain essential fatty acids, or the good fat, and are easy to incorporate into the diet.

To reap the health benefits of nuts, eat a handful each day or use nuts as an additive to other foods. Chopped nuts are good on salads, stirred into yogurt, or as a topping to low-fat ice cream. Try mixing different varieties together for a healthy nut mix and eat a handful as a snack each day.

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