Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, peanuts and hazelnuts: what do they all have in common? Over the past several years, numerous studies have shown the healthful nature of nuts. Nuts are a nutrition powerhouse, packed with protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They help control weight and reduce the risks of heart disease and diabetes. Other studies have shown that women who snack on nuts tend to weigh less than those who do not.
How do they do this? Because of the higher fat content and fiber, nuts provide a feeling of fullness and keep you from feeling continuously hungry when you are trying to cut back on calories. Only one ounce of nuts each day is all it takes to get the heart healthy benefits and keep your calorie-reduced diet on track.
What does an ounce of nuts look like? One ounce of nuts is about what fits in an Altoids box--that's about 47 shelled pistachios, 30 peanuts, 24 almonds, 20 pecan halves or hazelnuts, and 14 walnut halves, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Dietitians recommend one ounce of nuts, or one tablespoon of nut butter, five days a week.
Does moderation make a difference? Although nuts are very healthy and good to eat everyday, you have to watch your portions. A one ounce serving of nuts contains between 160 and 200 calories, most of which come from the heart-healthy, monounsaturated fat. The best thing to do is to substitute one ounce of nuts for other "not so good for you" foods in your diet to keep your calories under control.
Listed below are ways to enjoy nuts without overindulging. Following these tips will help you keep portions small and avoid mindless eating.
Add the delicious flavor and crunch of nuts to all kinds of foods from sweet to savory. Toasting them first will bring out their flavor and enhance a simple dish.
Go nutty with one ounce of nuts per day. You'll reap all kinds of health benefits.
For individualized meal plans and nutrition counceling, make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian.