Studies have shown that eating nuts can reduce cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, prevent heart disease, and even reduce inflammation. Yet only about one third of Americans eat any nuts as part of their daily life when as little as a handful of nuts a day is a heart-healthy practice endorsed even by the U.S. FDA.
Nuts are great sources of protein and essential amino acids as well as antioxidants, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain good amounts of folic acid, vitamins E and K, and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, copper, selenium, potassium and zinc.
Nuts have gotten a bad rap for being high in calories, but research is showing that eating nuts does not lead to weight gain possibly because nuts fill you up so you don’t eat other less-healthy foods, or perhaps because the human body can efficiently move nuts through our digestive system, extracting the nutrition and eliminating the rest.
At our house, I keep large containers of nuts on a kitchen shelf for easy snacking access. I like to have a wide variety of nuts around, and my typical selection includes: almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, and peanuts.
Although peanuts are legumes, unlike tree nuts, they are high in protein and have much of the same nutritional benefits as tree nuts.