Nuts about nuts
November 10, 2007
Heart healthy and cancer protecting, nuts are a great snack provided they aren’t covered in oil, salt, and roasted to death. Instead of a bagel or chips, toss a handful into your bag or pocket for a quick, nutrient-packed energizer.
A June 2006 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed an ounce of almonds provides as many flavonoids—compounds that fight free radicals and reduce inflammation—as a 1⁄2-cup serving of broccoli or a cup of green tea. In 24 almonds (1 oz.): 160 calories; 14 g fat (1 g sat, 9 g mono); 3 g fiber; vitamin E (35% daily value); magnesium (20% dv).
Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat linked with reduced risk of heart disease, improved glucose control and, most recently, stronger bones. In a study of 23 overweight people published earlier this year in Nutrition Journal, increasing intake of ALA via walnuts and flaxseed oil decreased the rate of bone breakdown. In 14 walnut halves (1 oz.): 190 calories; 18 g fat (1.5 g sat, 2.5 g mono); 2 g fiber; manganese (50% dv); copper (20% dv.)
Last year in Nutrition Research, researchers from Loma Linda University reported that pecans contribute significant amounts of gamma-tocopherol, the major form of vitamin E in U.S. diets. Pecans also provide notable amounts of zinc, a mineral most often found in animal-based foods. In 20 pecan halves (1 oz.): 200 calories; 20 g fat (2 g sat, 12 g mono); 3 g fiber; manganese (60% dv); copper (15% dv); vitamin E (6% dv).
Research presented earlier this year at an Experimental Biology conference suggests that lutein, an antioxidant in pistachios, helps protect “bad” LDL cholesterol from oxidization by free radicals. Oxidized LDL contributes to the development of plaque in arteries. In 49 pistachios (1 oz.): 160 calories; 13 g fat (1.5 g sat, 7 g mono); 3 g fiber; copper & vitamin B6 (20% dv); manganese (18% dv); phosphorus & thiamin (15% dv).