News & Perspectives

Nuts: An Array of Benefits

Nuts, long maligned as a salty, fatty snack, have been redeemed by research from the Harvard School of Public Health. A study of more than 86,000 women found that those who ate at least 5 ounces of nuts a week cut their risk of heart disease by about a third. Preliminary results in men show similar benefits. Nuts are rich in unsaturated fats that lower cholesterol, and contain additional heart-healthy nutrients as well.

Do Nut Butters Count?
Nut butters only count if they are free of hydrogenated oils. These cholesterol-raising fats are often added to commercial peanut butter to prevent the oils and solids from separating. Look for "natural" peanut, almond, or cashew butters made without hydrogenated oils.

Nutritional Nuggets
Nuts supply several hard-to-get minerals, such as magnesium, copper, and zinc. They’re also rich in potassium, fiber, folic acid and arginine, an amino acid that helps keep coronary arteries open and clear.

Compact Calcium
An ounce of almonds provides 80 mg of calcium. That’s 8% of your daily need.

Chili-Spiced Walnuts
Most nuts contain small amounts of heart-smart alpha-linolenic acid, but walnuts are by far the best source. For a tasty walnut snack: In a bowl, combine 2 cups walnut halves, 2 tsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. cayenne. Spread on a cookie sheet; bake at 375° for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden. Cool. Store airtight. Makes 2 cups (9 ounces). [Per ounce: 181 calories, 17.6 g total fat (1.6 g sat fat, 4.5 g mono fat, 10.5 g poly fat), 2 grams alpha-linolenic acid]

For more on nuts and delicious recipes, visit the Healing Kitchen.

Type 1-ounce Calories Total Sat Mono Poly
  serving fat (g) fat (g) fat (g) fat (g)

almonds 24 nuts 166 14.6 1.4 9.5 3.1
brazil nuts 8 medium 186 18.8 4.1 6.8 4.6
cashews 18 medium 163 13.1 2.6 7.7 2.2
macadamias 12 nuts 199 20.9 3.1 16.5 0.4
peanuts 35 nuts 166 14.1 2 7 4.4
pistachios 47 nuts 164 13.7 1.7 9.3 2.1
walnuts 14 halves 182 17.5 1.6 4 11.1

Date Published: 06/28/2001
> Printer-friendly Version Return to Top