Looking for a healthy snack that “walnut” disappoint? Grab a handful of nuts – they’re inexpensive, easy to store, and easy to pack when you’re on the go. Best of all, nuts offer a variety of health benefits with every bite.
According to the Mayo Clinic, nuts are a great source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. They also contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
While nuts may be tiny, their benefits are mighty. The Cleveland Clinic reports that the heart health benefits are significant. When researchers assessed the diets of more than 110,000 people, they found those who ate 5 or more ounces of nuts per week lowered their risk of heart disease by 35 percent! That’s a tremendous decrease for one small habit change.
How might nuts help your heart?
Research shows that nuts can lower the levels of inflammation in your body related to heart disease and diabetes.
Regularly eating a healthy diet that includes nuts may:
- Improve artery health.
- Reduce inflammation related to heart disease.
- Decrease the risk of blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
- Lower the risk of high blood pressure.
- Lower the risk of early death due to heart disease.
- Lower unhealthy cholesterol levels, specifically low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides, which can clog arteries.
Does it matter what kind of nuts you eat?
According to the American Heart Association, most nuts are generally healthy. But, some may have more heart-healthy nutrients than others. For example, walnuts contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which is similar to the heart-healthy fat found in oily fish.
Nutrition experts also recommend:
Nuts that are chocolate-covered, honey-roasted or candy-coated can be a fun treat, but it’s best to choose nuts without added sugar when you can. Raw or dry-roasted nuts are always a great choice. Opt for unsalted nuts if you have high blood pressure or other health conditions that require you to monitor your salt intake.
What is a healthy serving of nuts?
One drawback to nuts is that they are calorie-dense, so it is important to be mindful of your portion size.
A serving size is a small handful or 1.5 ounces of whole nuts or 2 tablespoons of nut butter.
Since all nuts contain fiber, you might find that you feel satisfied with a smaller serving compared to other snack foods.
Adults should aim to eat about 4 to 6 servings of unsalted nuts a week as part of a healthy diet.
How should you store nuts?
Raw nuts can be stored in an airtight container in a cool dark place for six to 12 months. The fridge or freezer is ideal.
Nuts can be refrigerated for up to four months and frozen for up to six months.
Store roasted nuts in an airtight container in a cool dark place. Buy as freshly roasted as possible and eat within two weeks.
Senior Star + Superfood
You never know where this month’s superfood might turn up in our Senior Star communities. Be on the lookout for fun surprises and special touches. Get in touch with your Senior Star location to find out how your local community is for monthly recipes and other ideas.
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