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Nuts: Nutritional Nuggets You’ll Want in Your Diet

| 1/10/2011 12:55:43 PM

KC ComptonPeople trying to lose weight or maintain weight loss frequently turn their back on nuts because the fat content puts them in the high-calorie-food category. However, nuts offer a lot of nutrition, not many carbohydrates and plenty of flavor. Small wonder some diet scientists now recommend we make them a bigger part of our diets.

Nuts are dense packages of protein and fat, but it is healthful, unsaturated fat, not the kind usually drenching French fries. And though they don’t have many vitamins, nuts do give us good amounts of potassium, magnesium and several other essential minerals. Eaten in moderation, they help us feel full and even might offer some protection against heart and vascular disease.

In one recent study, for example, Yale researchers reported that a daily dose of walnuts improved the blood-vessel health of type-2 diabetics.

After eight weeks on a diet containing about two ounces of walnuts daily, endothelial function (blood vessels doing their work) improved significantly compared to an unlucky control group that didn’t get to eat walnuts at all. In addition to improving the blood vessels, the walnut diet also somewhat increased fasting serum glucose, lowered total cholesterol and reduced LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) over the course of the trial. There was no weight gain during the trial.

According to the Tufts University Health & Nutrition Newsletter, these findings are in line with another recent study that showed walnuts associated with reduced cholesterol levels. Other research reports heart-health benefits for other nuts, including macadamias and pistachios.

Bear in mind that 2 ounces of walnuts (about 25 halves) contains roughly 300 calories, so these little tidbits aren’t “free,” if you’re watching your weight. But considering some of the stuff we could be snacking on for the same number of calories, this sounds like a pretty good nutritional bargain to me.

K.C. Compton
2/9/2011 9:43:00 AM

Cindy -- That sounds very tasty, too. I love the way we all borrow from each other's recipes and improvise our own interpretations. In music, we call that "the folk-music process." :=} --kc

Cindy Murphy
2/9/2011 8:40:12 AM

KC! I have to tell you. The other day, Hubs mentioned he was craving beets (which I thought was kind of weird); oh! I said, I know just the thing to satisfy your craving. I kind of improvised on your recipe, and ended up with a salad of green leaf lettuce and baby arugula, cooked and chopped (not pickled) beets, mandarin oranges, almond slivers, and crumbled feta topped with a not-as-healthy-as-your-vinaigrette but oh-so-good poppy seed dressing. (Dang, I forgot the onions!) But Yum! Definitely a make-often salad. Thanks for the idea!

sara mason
1/25/2011 4:20:36 PM

Dr Oz on tv says nuts are never 100% digested so eventhough they are high in fat, all of the fat never really gets absorbed by you. He says walnuts on steel cut oats are great for breakfast

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