The Nutritional Value Of Nuts
Most of us use nuts to add a bit of crunch to our recipes or munch on them for a quick snack, completely overlooking the nutritional contribution they can make to a healthy diet.
Although nuts are high in overall fat content, most of that fat is unsaturated. It has been proven that nuts do not contribute to weight gain when consumed in moderation - about a two tablespoon serving, five times a week. There is also significant evidence that all types of nuts help to promote healthy cholesterol levels.
As an extra bonus, nuts contain vitamins A and E, some B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, copper, selenium, calcium and fiber.
Nutritional Values for Common Nuts
|Nut (1/3 cup)||Protein||Fat||Carbs||Calories|
Almonds ~ Almonds are high in fiber and low in saturated fat. They contain valuable quantities of Vitamin E, magnesium, protein, potassium, and one ounce of almonds has as much calcium as 1/4 cup of milk.
Studies have proven that they help to lower LDL, the "bad" cholesterol, and they also contain some powerful antioxidants. All in all, almonds are a prime choice for the health-conscious eater.
Macadamias ~ Macadamias have an extremely high fat and calorie content so it is best to make them a rare indulgence.
Peanuts ~ The fat in peanuts is primarily monounsaturated. As a bonus, the red skin on Spanish peanuts contains an antioxidant called resveratrol (also found in the skin of red grapes) which has a variety of proven health benefits.
Pecans ~ Pecans derive nearly 90% of their calories from fat, and their protein content is considerably lower than most nuts. Like macadamias, pecans should be not be a frequent indulgence.
Walnuts ~ Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids that are similar to the ones found in salmon. Studies on omega-3's in recent years have proven that they are instrumental in reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and obesity.