Friday, July 31, 2009

Nuts to You!

So I really enjoy eating nuts, probably so much so that you'd think I was some variety of squirrel or chipmunk....

back away 'Munk and no one gets hurt!

So nuts have a pretty bad rap for being a high calorie snack. But nuts have a lot of nutrients that other snacks... lets say... potato chips for example, severely lack. This article from spark people helps clear the air: Feeling Nutty?

ATTENTION: Please bear in mind when reading this post that I am talking about raw or roasted unsalted plain nuts! Nothing salted sugar coated, honey coated or what ever kind of coated nuts are out there... those should be avoided or eaten in much smaller quantities. It's unnecessary empty calories!

Fact: Nuts get more than half of their calories from fat.

But that's not all!

1. Nuts are Healthy for Your Heart
Nuts are rich in an amino acid that could be linked to heart benefits. This amino acid, called arginine, helps relax blood vessels, which can reduce the danger of coronary artery disease. A Harvard School of Public Health study showed that women who ate nuts regularly had a 32% lower risk of having a non-fatal heart attack compared to women who avoided nuts.

How can a high fat food such as nuts be good for the heart? The biggest danger to the heart and arteries comes from
saturated fats, found mostly in meat and high-fat dairy products. The fat in most nuts is unsaturated, the "friendlier" kind of fat that lowers LDLs, the so-called bad cholesterol. Cashews, almonds, and peanuts are full of monounsaturated fats. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are polyunsaturated fats similar to oils found in fish such as salmon.

2.Nuts are Nutritious!
Nuts are nutritious too. In the USDA’s Food Guide Pyramid, nuts are included with the protein-rich foods in the meat, poultry, fish, eggs and beans category. A one-third cup of nuts provides about five grams of protein and is equivalent to one ounce of lean meat. Almonds, cashews, pine nuts, peanuts, pistachios, and walnuts are particularly high in protein.

Nuts are also packed with essential vitamins such as A and E, and minerals such as phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, iron and zinc. And their high fiber content helps lower cholesterol, too.

3. Nuts for a Healthy Weight
People who eat nuts regularly do not typically gain weight. Some even lose weight! The nutrients and fat in nuts tend to make you feel fuller longer. When you feel full from a small snack of nuts between meals, you are less likely to have the urge to pig out at your next meal. Nuts seem to satisfy appetites without causing weight gain, unlike high carb, low fat snacks such as pretzels, which don’t seem to be very filling. The people who lose weight while eating daily controlled portions of nuts seem to naturally self adjust their calorie intake. This means they naturally eat fewer calories in later meals as a result of feeling satisfied from nuts.

But remember as with all things in life moderation is key!!!

**About 1 to 1-1/2 ounces of nuts are recommended per day to fall into the healthy category. This is approximately one handful.**

If you eat much beyond that, you’re eating a lot of calories (about 170 calories per handful of peanuts). Since it’s hard to practice restraint with the whole jar or bag nearby, get in the habit of taking your one handful in a special nut bowl, or use a recycled mint tin for a portable container.

If you're not a huge fan of nuts don't worry the article has recommendations for other ways you can include them in your diet...

Nut Add-ons

  • Toss a handful of nuts into a salad, stir-fry, pasta, or rice dish.
  • Sprinkle chopped nuts on yogurt or cereal.
  • Add nuts into the batter of breads, muffins, or other baked goods.
  • Top softened cheeses such as brie or camembert with chopped pistachios or walnuts.
  • Sprinkle chopped pecans on potato soup or hazelnuts on split pea soup.
  • Toss pecans, walnuts, or pine nuts with bleu cheese or gorgonzola on spinach salad.
  • Add toasted almonds or pine nuts to steamed vegetables and pasta dishes.
  • Mix ground nuts into breading for fish or chicken.
  • If you're counting calories though there are some nuts that are lower in calories than others...

    Lets take Almonds vs. Walnuts as an example
    - Almonds are a healthy source of calcium and make a great snack alone or in your favorite salad.

    - Walnuts are an excellent source of magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin B6.

    But which one is lower in fat and calories????

    The Answer is ALMONDS!!! YAY ALMONDS!!!

    Almonds contain about 182 calories and 19 grams of fat per 1/3-cup, making them a good option when trying to add nuts to your diet.

    At 261 calories and 26 grams of fat, the same serving of walnuts is a little harder to handle. Of course, moderation is important.

    So there you have it my bloggy friends, the SKINNY on nuts!

    Star wars chipmunk from

    All nutrition information provided by


    K_InTheFlo said...

    HAHA - that Video was cute cute cute! Love relating all this to Twilight! Makes it soooo much more fun.
    I have a hard time eating just a palm full of nuts. They are so yummy. darn!
    I do eat them during the week . My Boss has them in his office. WE started a Fat ASS Fridays Group(weigh in on Fridays- Like weight watchers without the 40 monthly buckaroos) at work..and we banned the chocolates from his ceramic bowl. Hello nuts!

    Hey TSP: I have a question. About 1-2x wk I do a long (2 hour) workout..and I'm trying to figure out how to eat for that - IT's tricky. I start early in the AM (Because that's when my strength training class is) I don't eat protein or anything then - and after the Cardio class - I'm HUNGRY...and can blow it big time! Looking for suggestions! SOS TSP!

    Team_SixPack said...

    I need help in this department myself. Part of the reason I switched up my work out routine was because when I worked out in the evenings I would be so hungry afterwards I'd over eat. Switched to working out in the mornings and I've dropped 9 lbs.

    But my biggest problem is that I can't eat just before a work out because it makes me feel nauseous. So when I work out in the mornings I'm pretty much running on empty. So I need some improvement in that department.

    One thing my soccer ladies have recommended is carbing (on whole grains) up the night before a game so we have energy. and also eating a lot of lean protein... but let me research this one a little and I'll get back to ya... actually I'll make this a post!