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Nuts provide a lot of nutrients, are a snack of choice

Next time you are off for an early morning jog or you need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, grab a handful of nuts on your way out the door. These tiny edible seeds have more nutritional value than you think. Nuts are very underrated as a food and provide many nutritional benefits. They are rich in protein, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and Omega-3’s.

Research shows that people who eat nuts tend to be leaner and may have a lower risk of many diseases compared to those who don’t eat nuts.  However, nuts are high in calories and fat, but don’t be fooled by this, they are filled with healthy saturated fat.

A Good Snack Choice

Eating nuts as part of a healthy diet may also be good for your heart. Nuts contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients. And, they are a good snack choice for the person on the go.

The best time of day to eat nuts is morning and early afternoon when you are most active.

Simply count, weigh 1 to 1.5 ounces of nuts on a kitchen scale, or grab a handful and store in each snack bag. Keep in the refrigerator until you’re ready to enjoy. A handful of nuts may help you resist that gooey sweet roll in the break room at work.

Different nuts provide different health advantages. Four of the best nuts, and their benefits, include the following:

• Almonds are the richest in Vitamin E and calcium. Studies have also shown that almonds help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, which can lead to a healthy heart.

• Cashews are your go to if you’re in need of minerals like magnesium, iron, zinc, biotin and copper.  Compared to other nuts, these are low fat and are very heart healthy.

• Walnuts are a cancer fighting agent due to the extremely high number of antioxidants they contain. According to research by the American Chemical Society, walnuts contain twice the amount of antioxidants as other nuts. Studies have also shown they are good for your brain and heart, and help in lowering cholesterol.

• Pistachios are high in calcium, potassium, fiber, and B vitamins. They also contain an antioxidant, gamma tocopherol, that helps protect the body against heart disease and cancer. A handful of these little seeds provide you with one fifth of your recommended daily fiber.

Just a Sprinkle

As an extra nutritional bonus you can sprinkle nuts to these foods:

• Salads

• Yogurt

• Cereal

• Pasta

• Cooked vegetables

• Muffins and pancakes (toss a handful or two into your batter)

Good Ways to Store Nuts

• It’s easy to store shelled or unshelled nuts in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 6 months or for a year in your freezer for best quality, advises INC NREF.