I encourage my clients to include nuts and seeds in their diet daily. Nuts are a good source of fiber, protein, heart healthy fat, magnesium, and copper. Peanuts, while technically a legume but thought of as a nut, are the highest protein nuts and a good source of biotin. Walnuts are high in the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, which is good for your brain and heart. Almonds are full of vitamin E and a good source of calcium. Pistachios are super high in fiber. Cashews are good choices for iron and magnesium. Pine nuts are a good source of zinc. Brazil nuts are a good source of strontium and are packed with selenium, which is a key nutrient for your thyroid. Pumpkin, sesame, flax and sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, and cashews are all good sources of leucine. Leucine, one of the three essential branched amino acids, is important to the growth and repair of muscle and healthy bone. As we age it is especially important to prevent muscle deterioration.
You can simply eat nuts and seeds as a filling and delicious snack. Nuts are easy to find, being available almost everywhere making a great grab and go snack. Add them to oatmeal, grains, salads, and vegetables. Include ground flax seeds in your Smoothies. I add chia or flax seeds to meatloaf made with a lean meat like venison or bison. Fish is delicious lightly coated with olive oil and then dredged in a mixture of seeds, herbs and spices to form a crispy coating on the fish when cooked. I always add nuts or seeds to stir-frys. You can find crackers made from predominately seeds that are very tasty. Tahini, which is made from ground sesame seeds, is an ingredient in hummus and many other foods. I use tahini to make salad dressing and have even had a delicious tahini ice cream. Be aware that non-dairy nut-based beverages, like almond and cashew milk, contain very few actual nuts.
While you do need to limit portion size if watching your weight, nuts should be part of most people’s diet. Research indicates we don’t absorb all the calories in nuts and nuts may increase how many calories we burn. Nuts have been found to be a good food choice, when eaten in moderation, when trying to lose weight. Researchers at Harvard found that regular nut consumption was associated with a slightly lower risk of weight gain. They are filling and can help control appetite due to their protein and healthy fat content. And since they contain lots of bone healthy nutrients they are good for your bones.
posted on 8/12/2022