Crunchy, delicious nuts don’t just taste good, they are a great source of non-animal protein, healthy fats, omega-3 fatty acids, and fibre. They also contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The recently revamped Canada’s Food Guide includes nuts in its healthy protein food choices, listing it among other plant-based powerhouses such as beans, lentils, and seeds.
Nuts and vitamin E
Did you know that among their many health benefits, nuts are a great source of vitamin E? This important vitamin is beneficial for your immune system and helps with the formation and maintenance of healthy cells. Those that don’t like to get their vitamin E from eggs, meat, or poultry can turn to nuts. The ones with the with the highest sources of vitamin E include almonds, pine nuts, and peanuts.
Nuts and heart health
A healthy diet is essential for those at risk of a heart attack. In fact, Heart & Stroke™ says up to 80 per cent of premature heart and stroke disease can be prevented through a healthy diet and exercise.
Nuts lower heart-related risks by lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, improves your artery linings, lowers inflammation in the body, and helps to reduce the risk of blood clots.
Easy ways to add nuts to your diet
Are you avoiding nuts because you are worried about the high caloric count? This should not be too concerning if you have a reasonable size portion of nuts. Besides, the healthy fats and fibre in nuts means they fill you up much faster! Where you could eat an entire bag of chips and miss out on loads of nutrition, a simple handful of nuts can satisfy that craving for something crunchy.
Add nuts to your diet by:
- Portioning out snacks. A portion of nuts is around a quarter cup, or 18 – 22 nuts. Depending on the nuts you choose, one ounce (1 oz) of nuts has around 160-200 calories. To compare, 12 Ruffles original chips has 160 calories of mostly empty nutrition.
- Cook with nuts. They can be incorporated into many recipes, such as Heart & Stroke’s nut and herb stuffed chicken. You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to enjoy a good veggie based cookbook. Vegetarian/vegan food has many ways to incorporate nuts in savory dishes. You can even make a nut roast with common pantry ingredients.
- Make trail mix. Get the kids involved in creating a customized healthy snack. Trail mix from the store can be full of chocolate pieces and candy coated dried fruit. Make your own version with a small amount of pure dark chocolate and a mix of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit that is not coated in sugar. Every person in the family can choose a component and you can switch up the mix each week.
It’s time to go nuts
If nuts are not already on your healthy eating plan, it’s time to give them a try. They are healthy, satisfying, crunchy, delicious and packed with nutrients. Have some fun incorporating them into recipes and snacks and you’ll soon want to have nuts in your home as a regular pantry item.