How Nutty is Your Diet?
When you think nuts and seeds, what comes up for you? Is it a forbidden food or one that you include regularly? Is it feelings of confusion around fats in the diet?
When it comes to foods that provide good nutrition but with a high-calorie price tag attached, many individuals struggling to achieve a healthy, natural weight often feel conflicted. In today's blog post, I hope to create feelings of confidence and excitement around the inclusion of nuts and seeds in your diet. And working them into your diet not just 'occasionally' but DAILY!
The health benefits of nuts and seeds go well beyond fiber and healthy fat. The complex micronutrient and bioactive compounds make these dietary-gems disease fighters. There are multiple studies that show the regular inclusion of nuts and seeds in healthful portions (to be discussed) reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, and help with cognitive health.
So what is a Healthful Portion of nuts and seeds? The exact answer to this is that it really depends on your calorie needs (e.g. the more calories you have to work with, the larger your portions will be). But, to keep it simple and something you can work with, go with the amount that research shows a link to a health benefits result which in most cases is 1 oz. on a daily basis. Most nuts and seeds will provide between 140-200 calories per 1 oz. serving.
Before you close the door to adding in 1 oz. of nuts or seeds per day based on this calorie level, let me bring some interesting facts to the table. Research shows that there is an inverse relationship between tree nut consumption and BMI or weight gain. And data from 2005 to 2010 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES - U.S.) shows that those who ate at least 1/4 oz. of tree nuts daily have lower weights, BMI, and waist circumference than those who didn't eat nuts. Additionally, newer research may prove that the calorie level we originally attached to some nuts may not be accurate. In fact, we now know that Almonds have 32% fewer calories, pistachios have 5% fewer calories, and walnuts have 21% fewer calories than we once thought.
So what nuts and seeds are best? Which ones should I include? Just like with other foods, variety is key to health. I've attached the article that inspired me to write this blog post which will highlight the nutritional benefits of most nuts and seeds along with the calorie level and a few recipes to try. I encourage each of you to try adding in 1 oz. of nuts into your diet daily and just see what happens. Does it help with satiety (fullness)? Do you feel less restrictive in your diet (emotional health)? Do you feel inspired with adding in something new (getting out of those food ruts that so easily happen)?
4 Quick Tips for Adding In a Daily Dose of Nuts or Seeds into Your Diet Breakfast: Add ground flaxseed to a fruit smoothie or yogurt
Lunch: Add cashews to a wrap for added crunch
Supper: Add pumpkin seeds or almonds to a feta, spinach & strawberry salad
Snack: Add pistachios to a mixed fruit cup made with whole fresh whole fruit
Source: The Wonders of Nuts and Seeds - Today's Dietitian Magazine March 2016, Pages 23-26