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Nuts!

Updated: Sep 6, 2018

Well, you are what you eat... These crunchy little nuggets of deliciousness really do punch above their weight when it comes to your health.

Nuts are a great source of many important nutrients, including protein, polyunsaturated fats, fibre, vitamin E, vitamin B6, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, copper, and a range of phytochemicals. As different nuts contain varying amounts of these nutrients, eating a variety is best.


The Heart Foundation recommends including 30 grams of assorted nuts in your diet every day (a small handful). Frequent consumption of nuts is associated with a reduction in many risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol), and apolipoprotein-B (a marker of heart disease risk). Nuts may also help reduce hypertension and systemic inflammation, and reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes in women.


Nuts are high in fat - polyunsaturated fat - so are also high in energy (kilojoules). However, regular nut consumption does not seem to result in weight gain when consumed as part of a heart-healthy diet. This is even more apparent when nuts replace less healthy snack foods, such as highly processed, high fat/salt/sugar items.


"It is important to highlight that no studies to date have demonstrated a detrimental effect of nut consumption on health".

The National Heart Foundation of New Zealand. (2012). Nuts and heart health position statement.


The high cost of nuts is often cited as a barrier to regular consumption. A 30 gram serving of nuts (excluding the very expensive pine nut) is estimated to cost around $1.50. If the nuts are replacing less healthy snack options, this cost will be reduced even further (and the health benefits will be even greater!). It's a good idea to weigh out the 30 gram portions, and pop them into reusable bags or snack containers - then you have all of your daily servings ready for the week.


For maximum benefit, avoid adding salt, sugar or additional fat. Store nuts in a cool, dry, dark place.


#nuts #hearthealth #healthysnack #healthyfats 


References:

The National Heart Foundation of New Zealand. (2012). Nuts and heart health position statement.

https://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/shop/submissions/nuts-position-statement-final.pdf

Ros., E. (2010). Health benefits of nut consumption. Nutrients, 2, 652-682.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257681/pdf/nutrients-02-00652.pdf