With obesity on the rise it is important to understand proper nutrition. Healthy snacking is a good way to curb hunger and keep your metabolism up throughout the day. Nuts and seeds are a great and easy snack for all ages. Yes, nut and seeds are high in fat but this is the good fat (mono and polyunsaturated fat) that your body needs to function properly. Most nuts and seeds also contain beneficial vitamins such as A,D, E and K, as well as protein.
The health benefits of nuts are plentiful. Numerous studies have shown that those who eat a serving of nuts 2x per week are less likely to die of heart disease. Contrary to belief, nuts actually help dieters stick to their diets and lose weight. This is because of the high fat and protein content keep individuals more satisfied and full so they tend to eat less throughout the day. Another study, done by the Harvard School of Public Health, showed women who at 5 one ounce servings of nuts per week were 30% less likely to develop diabetes compared to women who rarely ate nuts.
When it comes to food in general moderation is key, and there is no difference with nuts. A serving of nuts is 1 ounce, or a small handful. This serving size contains between 160 and 200 calories and 13 to 20 grams of healthy fat, depending on the type of nut. Compared to potato chips, cookies or other junk food of equal calorie content, nuts provide a much greater nutritional value. Peanuts are referred to as the world’s most popular nut, although it is not really a nut. It is a legume, related to lentils and beans, meaning it is a starch and has different nutritional values than actual nuts. When consuming nuts (not peanuts) it is best to eat the raw variety, as much of the nutritional value is lost in the roasting process.
Nuts and seeds are an easy and healthy snack to reach for. Remember, nuts are not safe for children under 5, as they pose a choking hazard, but many companies are now making butters (cashew butter, almond butter, etc.). These can be a good alternative to peanut butter for your young children. And as with anything, keep moderation in mind.
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