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Tips for Eating Healthy Nuts

March 28th, 2013 Healthy Living

Nuts are tasty, easy to eat on the go and full of nutrients. Though they can be fatty, nuts are loaded with protein and sometimes rare vitamins and minerals that are hard to find elsewhere. While almost all nuts are beneficial to your health in moderate amounts, some are better for you than others.

Nuts to seek out
Many nuts have a myriad of health benefits, some of which may be outmatched by the calories and fats found in additions to the food. Some flavorings are enough to offset the healthy aspects of nuts, especially those that involve a lot of sugar or oil. Sometimes nuts are cooked at such high temperatures that their natural nutrients are burned away. The oils used to roast nuts can also be very unhealthy, so it may be better to avoid them altogether and stick to raw ones. Because of this, honey roasted nuts, though a delicious snack, are not really a healthy food despite the nutritional benefits. For those watching their sodium intake, many of these flavored nuts should also be avoided. These snacks often feature powdered spices that contain large amounts of salt as a preservative.

Instead of certain roasted or flavored nuts, try sticking to raw ones, suggests Health magazine.

Almonds
These nuts are high in protein and low in calories, and are considered to be the healthiest by many nutritionists. Almonds also boast strong levels of vitamin E, fiber, calcium and other essential nutrients. Natural News reports that they have even been shown to reduce cholesterol in people who eat them regularly, and almonds have no cholesterol themselves. The high fiber content may also help you to feel more full and prevent you from overeating other foods.

As with all nuts, it's important to eat almonds in moderation. While they are very low in saturated fats, they are still fatty if more than a few servings are eaten. Be sure to check the nutrition information on your package of nuts to judge the serving size as well as vitamin content of each brand, as their preparations may differ.

Peanuts
Though these nuts are technically legumes and thus more related to beans, they share many of the health benefits of tree nuts. Peanuts are full of protein and vitamin E, which makes them great for maintaining healthy brain function. They contain folate, a mineral that is linked to both brain health and the well-being of developing fetuses. Peanuts and peanut butter have also been linked to reducing coronary issues later in life. Eating just 1.5 ounces of peanuts a day can help to lower the risk of heart disease according to the FDA. Peanuts are also one of the least expensive nuts and peanut butter can be purchased just about everywhere.

Walnuts
These nuts have a multitude of health benefits. Like peanuts, they may improve brain function, and like most tree nuts they are high in protein. Walnuts really shine when it comes to antioxidants: They have more than any other nut. Antioxidants help the immune system fight off illnesses and can be found in many types of tree nuts.

Walnuts also have been shown to increase fertility, according to The Huffington Post. In a study at the University of California, men who ate walnuts each day showed improvements in terms of fertility after just 12 weeks.