Nuts About Nuts!

( [email protected] ) Apr 21, 2004 01:09 PM EDT

Are you nuts about nuts? Do you feel guilty every time you splurge and have a handful of nuts? Well, don’t! These little treats are actually good for you.

Myth: Nuts are high in fat and you should avoid them to avoid weight gain.

Nuts and seeds are packed with fat, but don’t turn your back on them just yet. The fats they contain are the good fats—monounsaturated fatty acids. These good fats are necessary for optimal energy, for your brain and for weight loss. Monounsaturated fats help to reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol. Other fats that fall into this category are olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil and avocados.

Some nuts and seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids:

Walnuts 2.6 g/oz

Flaxseed 1.8 g/oz

Pecans 0.3 g/oz

Pistachios 0.1 g/oz

Poppy seeds 0.1 g/oz

Pumpkin seeds 0.1 g/oz

Sesame seeds 0.1 g/oz

For more information and sources of omega-3s, read Opt for Omega-3.

How many nuts can I eat at a time?

It is always hard to answer this question because it all depends on what else you are eating with them; don’t eat nuts on their own. Since nuts are considered to be a fat, they should be incorporated with a protein and a carbohydrate source to make a healthy snack. Click here for an example.

A good amount of nuts to eat with a snack is 5 to 10 almonds or 1 to 2 tablespoons of walnuts. Nuts are addictive—once you get started it is hard to stop. I know it is hard to just have this small amount, but when you combine them with something else you will never get the urge to grab seconds.

Next time you get the urge to have some nuts for a treat, don’t feel guilty. Know that you are doing your body some good. Just don’t “go nuts” and eat too many.

For more ideas on how to incorporate nuts into your diet, read About our Meal Plans for some excellent examples.