Thursday, December 22, 2011

FACT: Nuts are good for you

Nuts have gotten a bad wrap over the past few decades because they are high in fat. Which is true. However, they are a whole food that contain protein, fiber, various vitamins, minerals, and many other important things that we probably aren't even aware of. 

Here's another tid-bit of information: they improve your mood. Two handfuls of cashews have been shown to have the same effect as taking Prozac. What? You heard me. Chemically, nuts have the same effect as anti-depressants. So if you're feeling a little blue try incorporating a variety of nuts into your diet. 

Almonds are high in B vitamins, vitamin E, and magnesium. Peanuts (technically a legume) are rich in folate and antioxidants. Pistachios are a source of chlorophyll and potassium. Hazelnuts are full of compounds that help your heart and brain. Pecans (pi-cons) apparently have more antioxidants than wild blueberries (supposed to have the most according to what "we" know now). Walnuts are high in omega 3 fats and vitamin E. 

What is the easiest way? Trail mix...I know it's not sophisticated, or classy, but it's easy and gets the job done. You can make it in big batches, carry it with you in you car, your purse, keep it at work...where ever!
  • almonds
  • cashews
  • pistachios
  • walnuts
  • pecans (said pi-cons, not pee-cans)
  • hazelnuts
  • raisins
  • dried apricots
  • dried cranberries
  • dried cherries
  • dried gogi berries
  • dried dates
  • dried banana chips
  • raw cacao nibs
  • granola chunks
The problem is you can get carried away, and then the amount of fat in them becomes an issue. Also, if you are looking for granola that is healthy, you aren't going to find it very easily. Most of the store bought kinds are LOADED with sugar. At least if you make your own, you can control how much sweetener you put in and what kind (I use agave nectar usually).

*The nutritional info above is what we know now. The science of nutrition is in its infancy in my (humble) opinion. We have only scratched the surface as far as how our body utilizes everything we get from whole foods. That is why it is so important to be eating a diet primarily based in whole foods and not processed foods. 

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