Nuts have gotten a lot of great publicity in magazines and newspapers, on the Web and on television in recent years. That is because they can offer many health benefits and are a source of protein, fatty acids, minerals and other nutrients that can really benefit your entire body. On the other hand, there are some drawbacks, particularly when it comes to how nuts are processed and packaged. Below, the best and worst of the world of nuts is revealed, so that you will have a better of idea of what to look for the next time you go shopping.
If you are dieting, then you are probably conscious of calories and will shy away from many nuts as being too calorie-laden. However, there are some nuts which are better for diets than others and the best are almonds, cashews and pistachios, which come in at 160 calories per ounce and are loaded with proteins and healthy fats. The best nuts for heart health are walnuts, because they are such a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids which lower blood pressure and cholesterol and support overall cardiac function. If you have a sweet tooth, trying nuts that have been dusted with cocoa powder rather than covered with candy to help you get your chocolate fix: cocoa powder is rich in antioxidants and brings its own array of advantages with it.
Much of the worst of the nut world comes from the way they are packaged and processed before you buy them. Whether you are dieting or not, avoid nuts that have been roasted in hydrogenated oils or other unhealthy fats or that have been roasted at too high a temperature, as this can destroy many of the nutrients that make them so attractive to begin with. Also, nuts that have been coated with sugary substances like caramel or toffee will give you a lot of extra calorie and ingredients like high fructose corn syrup that destroy their health benefits. Also avoid buying nuts that come in a tub: they often are mixed in with other things like candy, or yogurt-covered raisins which will again bring in a lot of empty calories and make the snack much less healthy.
So there it is – the best and worst of including nuts in your diet. If you are still worried, however, keep in mind that most of it comes down to moderation – a small amount of any kind of nut, provided it has not been overly processed, is not going to do you any damage. And in spite of the fact that nuts are a calorie-heavy food, they do bring many things to the table like protein and good fats that will truly have a positive impact on your health.