Nuts are a great snack. They are portable and don’t require much refrigeration. You can create a mix or pack a single type of nut. The most compelling argument for snacking on nuts is their health benefits. With no cholesterol and little other fats, nuts are the perfect protein on the go.
Nuts come in shapes and varieties. Some are available with shells, such as pistachios or peanuts. Some generally come shell-less, such as walnuts, almonds or pecans. Some, such as peanuts or almonds, are ground into butters or pastes for sandwiches and dips. You can chop walnuts into cookies, oatmeal or other snacks. Pine nuts are perfect in pastas and pestos. However you enjoy your nuts, they are cholesterol-free options for your snacks or meals.
When you eat nuts, instead of snacks full of cholesterol, you can decrease the amount of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) in your blood stream. A Virginia Tech document on nuts and seeds reports that pistachios are the most effective at this LDL decrease. Nuts shouldn’t replace vegetables and other low-fat, low-calorie foods in your diet, though. Munch on them for a quick protein boost or a rich craving satisfaction.
Nuts don’t just lack cholesterol. They are full of nutrients and healthy fats. Although nuts are a fatty food, they have monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. These fats are good for your heart. Arginine, another benefit of nuts, help the blood vessels work hard. Walnuts in particular contain omega-3, a LDL-fighting, cardiovascular system-building ingredient. The fiber in nuts, particularly those with coatings, such as almonds, scrub through your digestive system and fill your stomach to suppress your appetite.
According to the Ohio State University Extension, one out of every 125 children is allergic to nuts. The same report noted that one in every 77 adults in allergic to nuts. Because these nut allergies can be deadly, be careful whenever you serve them. If you know that you aren’t allergic, you are safe, but don’t hide nuts into your dishes for friends or family without verifying that they don’t have an allergy.
Nuts are a low-sodium, cholesterol-free snack whether they are roasted and served on their own. Check the packaging before you buy and eat nuts for added sugar, salt, cholesterol or other additives. Natural nuts are the perfect snack on their own.
- nuts on the nut-tree leaves image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com