Week #2 Nuts To You


Health Benefits of Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are concentrated sources of protein, fats, B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, magnesium and other minerals. Some of them contain omega 3 fatty acids and as such can help to improve the balance of cholesterol and the blood lipid profile and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Nuts and seeds are best consumed in limited amounts if weight loss is desired, however nuts and seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and (flaxseed, walnut, chia and pumpkin seed) may even be beneficial in weight loss as these fats can actually improve metabolism.Almonds are also thought to contain a compound that is anti-carcinogenic.
Almonds are very high in minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron.
Brazil nuts are rich in the sulfur containing amino acids and selenium. Selenium has an important function as an antioxidant and is involved in immunity.
Flaxseeds are the richest source of omega 3 fatty acids and thus help to improve immunity and reduce high cholesterol. When taken in the form of flaxseed meal they effectively prevent constipation and are a source of lignans – compounds that have antitumour and antioxidant properties. Flaxseeds also help to balance estrogen levels. Flax seeds are best eaten freshly ground. I purchased a small electric coffee bean grinder that I use to grind my flaxseed.
Hazelnuts are very rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, folic acid and vitamin E. Hazelnuts act as a general tonic and strengthen the stomach.
Macadamia nuts are very high in fat and can contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess. However in moderation they can help to improve the balance of cholesterol due to their abundance of monounsaturated fats. They are also very low in carbohydrates and as such are suitable for low carb diets.
Pistachio nuts are considered a tonic for the whole body in Ayurvedic medicine. They purify the blood, lubricate the intestines and can be used for constipation. Pistachios are one of my favorite snacks. I like to buy them from Sam's club in individual snack packages.
Pumpkin seeds are known for their effects against intestinal parasites especially roundworm and tapeworm. Their high zinc content may explain the value pumpkin seeds for the treatment of impotence and prostate enlargement.
Pumpkin seeds are also a valuable source of omega 3 fatty acids.
Sesame seeds are very high in calcium and are a good source of magnesium, niacin, vitamins A and E, protein and unsaturated fats. In the form of tahini (sesame seed paste) they provide the richest and most bioavailable source of calcium.
Sunflower seeds are high in protein, unsaturated fats, phosphorus, calcium, iron, fluorine, iodine, potassium, magnesium, zinc, B vitamins, and vitamin E and are one of the rare plant sources of vitamin D.
Walnuts are high in protein, iron and contain omega 3 fatty acids. They can reduce inflammation and pain, lubricate the lungs and intestines, and nourish the brain and adrenal glands.

PORTION SIZE- A HANDFUL OF NUTS

If you're nuts about nuts and want to assure getting your "handful," here is some additional information on measuring amounts. REMEMBER: The FDA recommendation suggests up to 1.5 ounces of nuts daily or one and a half times a "handful."
  • A handful equals about 1-ounce. This serving size corresponds to the the serving size listed on the "Nutrition Facts" panel on food labels. The Nutrition Facts label will also tell you how many 1-ounce servings there are per package.
  • On average, a 1.5 ounce serving is equivalent to about 1/3 cup of nuts according to Maureen Ternus, registered dietitian and nutrition coordinator for the International Tree Nut Council's Nutrition Research & Education Foundation (INC NREF).
  • The following table gives the approximate number of nuts per ounce and an overview of calories, protein and fat.

Nutrients in 1 Ounce (28 grams) of Shelled
Tree Nuts and Peanuts 
(1)

Nut
Nuts
per 1 oz./
28 grams
Calories
Protein
Fat (2)
Total
Sat
(3)
Mono
(4)
Poly(5)
Almonds20 - 24160614193
Brazil nuts6 - 8190419577
Cashews16 - 18160413382
Hazelnuts18 - 201804171.5132
Macadamias10 - 122002223170.5
Peanuts (6)28170714274
Pecans18 - 20
halves
2003202126
Pine nuts(pignolias)150 -
157
160714256
Pistachios45 - 471606131.574
Walnuts14 halves1904181.52.513
Source: Adapted from the International Tree Nut Council Research and Education Foundation publications, Nutrients in 1 Ounce of Tree Nuts and Peanuts, January 2003<www.nuthealth.org/nutrition/nutrient1oz.html> andNutrition in Every Handful, August 2002, <www.nuthealth.org/inside.pdf>.
  1. To obtain the desired health benefits from the nuts and seeds it is preferable to eat them unsalted. Almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts and walnuts should be eaten raw and unroasted; cashews, macadamias, peanuts and pistachios are best eaten dry roasted.
  2. Figures for fat are rounded to the nearest whole or half number so the various types of fat may vary slightly from the amount of "total fat."
  3. Sat = saturated fat
  4. Mono = monounsaturated fat
  5. Poly = polyunsaturated fat
  6. Technically, peanuts aren't nuts but rather legumes, like dry beans, peas and lentils but you can count them for bonus credit in this challenge.

FEEL LIKE A NUT?

It's easy to nibble on nuts. Here are two quick ideas to help you incorporate nuts into your healthy living plan.

1. It's in the Bag!

You don't have to fire up the stove or get out your cookbook to enjoy nuts. Your handful of nuts may be enjoyed -- simply -- out of hand.
Divide a container of nuts into small snack bags (I portion out many of my snack foods ahead of time to make things easier) for easy snacking at home, office or on the road. Simply count, measure a third cup, weigh 1 to 1.5 ounces of nuts on a kitchen scale or grab a handful and store in each snack bag. Keep in the refrigerator until you're ready to enjoy! A handful of nuts may help you resist that gooey sweet roll in the breakroom at work.

2. Just a Sprinkle

Sprinkle nuts into these foods:
  • Salads
  • Yogurt
  • Cereal (yummy in oatmeal)
  • Pasta
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Muffins and pancakes (toss a handful or two into your batter)

YOUR CHALLENGE FOR THE WEEK IS TO EAT AT LEAST 1 OUNCE OF NUTS, SEEDS OR FRESHLY GROUND NUT BUTTER EVERY DAY! FOR EVERY DAY YOU INCLUDE NUTS OR SEEDS IN YOUR DIET YOU CAN CLAIM YOUR DAILY BONUS POINTS!
HAVE A NUTTY WEEK!!

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