As a Registered Dietitian I frequently get asked, What’s a healthy snack? Nuts, this small and delicious snack is a nutritional powerhouse. Nuts are a great add on to any meal. They have been enhancing salads and stir frys for years, but are all nuts created equal? And do they all offer the same stunning nutritional benefits?
Salty, sweet, maple glazed there are many different varieties. Although these delicious add ons are definite crowd pleasers, they also tend to pack on the pounds. Nuts have many beneficial effects on the body, but they are also high in fat. Although nuts are high in good mono-unsaturated fats they still should portioned out appropriately to avoid the unwanted pounds.
All nuts have different nutritional benefits, some are higher in calcium, others in protein. All nuts are a good source of fiber and essential fats. It’s sometimes difficult to choose the perfect nut for yourself, if you are unaware of all the different health benefits that they offer.
Almonds- if dairy is bothersome to you add some almonds to your salad to up the calcium content. This nut not only packs a punch with calcium, it is also rich in vitamin e.
Cashews- cashews usually receive a bad rap. Don’t let all the talk fool you, this nut is a good source of protein and has high levels of magnesium. It is also a great source of iron and zinc.
Macadamia- most associated with cookies, these nuts are a great source of calcium, magnesium and potassium. Although Macadamia nuts are the highest in fat, it is high in good monounsaturated fat.
Pecans- when thinking pecans think heart health. These little wonders are packed with plant sterols, a valuable compound which aids in lowering cholesterol. Pecans are also rich in antioxidants, which help prevent deadly plaque build up.
Walnuts-Don’t like fish, not a problem. Instead put walnuts on the menu. These nuts are high in omega-3s.
So don’t be shy shaking nuts on your salads, you can be helping lowering your cholesterol. Just remember everything in moderating, stick with a serving and avoid the sugar salty variety. Instead choose raw or dry roasted.