Nuts are in season all year long, but the holiday season brings them forward. In addition to providing a variety of flavors, nuts offer lots of nutritional benefits, leading me to call them – Superfood Nuts!
Types of Nuts
Nuts are grouped together under the category of “Tree Nuts” meaning they all grow on trees. Peanuts, while they are the most commonly consumed and referred to nuts, are technically not nuts they are legumes, just like beans. Peanuts grow underground and are seeds that grow in pods on peanut plants. The main tree nuts are almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts or filberts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts.
Power Packed Nuts
As a group, nuts pack a great deal of nutritional value ranging from protein to fiber, to a variety of vitamins and minerals and healthy fats. Each nut provides a different package of nutrients because they all are a bit different in their make-up. When we look at protein, almonds provide the most protein with 6 grams in a one-ounce portion, about 23 almonds. Nuts decrease in protein per portion from almonds with Brazil nuts providing just 2.2 grams in a one-ounce portion, about 6 Brazil nuts. Almonds are a good source of vitamin C, while Brazil nuts are high in selenium. Pistachios are high in vitamin B6 and potassium while pecans, the centerpiece of Thanksgiving pecan pie, are a good source of vitamin E. Walnuts are the only nut that provides an excellent source of the plant form of omega-3 fatty acid – alpha-linolenic-acid. Omega 3’s can help reduce risk of heart disease and help fight inflammation. You can learn more about the omega 3’s in walnuts by visiting California Walnuts.
Benefits of Nuts
Given their wide nutrient profile, their plant source of protein and the diversity of their flavor’s nuts can add much to menus, but they can also help provide some other health benefits. Studies have looked at the role nuts can play in helping to prevent some forms of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Research is also evolving to indicate a benefit in helping maintain cognitive function. You can learn more in the book “SuperFood Nuts”
To Your Health!
Whether you love nuts for snacking, added to a salad, as topping for pasta or just as a snack they can be a healthful addition to your eating plan. As with all foods, we need to keep portions in mind but adding nuts to our meals can add diversity of flavor and texture making dishes, snacks, and meals more satisfying!
About Connie – Connie is a Registered Dietitian with extensive experience communicating in the food and nutrition space. Taking the science of food and nutrition and translating it to simple messages, new products, or exciting menus is her expertise. Making nutrition messages clear, accurate, and engaging aids all consumers.