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Nutrition

Don’t Discount A Nutty Diet


It’s true that nuts are generally high in calories and fat, but if they are eaten in moderation as part of a healthy diet, they can offer potential health benefits, according to report from Mayo Clinic.

Nuts have a lot of nutrients in relation to calories; some are good sources of thiamin, niacin, phosphorus and folate, while others are excellent sources of selenium, copper, magnesium and manganese, the report said. They also are rich in flavonoid, the research team noted.

"These antioxidants help reduce by-products in the body that may contribute to cancer and cardiovascular disease," the report said. "For their size, nuts are one of the best plant sources of protein."

In general, nuts are high in fat — in most cases, more than 75 percent of their calories are from fat. However, most of these are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, which are fats that don’t appear to increase blood cholesterol, according to the study.

Several studies suggest that when substituted for fat, nuts may help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as "bad" cholesterol. Other evidence indicates that people who eat nuts on a regular basis have a lower risk of heart disease than others, Mayo Clinic reported.

The researchers suggest substituting an ounce of nuts for an ounce of meat; instead of roast beef on whole wheat bread for lunch, try a natural nut butter on bread. Add crunch to salads by topping then with nuts instead of croutons. Chopped nuts also add crunch and flavor to yogurt, cereal and even the tops of casseroles, according to the report.


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