Food Focus: Nuts

How many of you avoided the nuts at the recent Christmas and New Years parties for fear of their high calories and high fat content? Did you know that nuts are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can reduce blood cholesterol when substituted for foods rich in saturated fat such as cheese or meat? They are also rich in folic acid and other B vitamins. Almonds and hazelnuts have more vitamin E than other nuts. Vitamin E along with copper, potassium and magnesium are all linked to heart health.

  • Almonds: Rich in Calcium, vitamin E, and fiber
  • Brazil nuts: Rich in selenium
  • Cashews: Rich in copper, iron, and folic acid
  • Chestnuts: Rich in fiber, low fat nut (1 gram/oz)
  • Hazelnuts: Rich in Vitamin E and folic acid
  • Macadamia nuts: Highest in fat
  • Peanuts: Not really a true nut, actually a Legume. Rich in Niacin
  • Walnuts: Rich in B6 and heart health oil

Nuts contain 160 – 190 calories and 14-19 grams of fat/oz. It is best not to just add nuts to your diet, due to their calorie rich nature. Instead substitute nuts for less healthy foods, such as refined or processed foods. They make great snacks mixed with fresh or dried fruit, or my favorite, with chocolate. Nuts added to a green salad add crunch and nutrition.