Dietitian Tips: Healthful Fats – Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds have been part of the human diet for centuries and are increasingly recognized for a growing list of potential health benefits. Nuts and seeds are a rich source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, like alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). These omega-3s are associated with lower blood lipid levels and may be beneficial in the prevention or treatment of several chronic diseases including arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. Listed below are some of the most common nuts and their benefits:

Almonds: Rich in vitamins and minerals, almonds are a good source of vitamin E, riboflavin, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. A recent Physicians’ Health Study found that adding 1.5 oz. of almonds to the diet daily reduces LDL cholesterol and maintains HDL cholesterol levels.

Hazelnuts: Rank among the highest of tree nuts in vitamin E, folate, monounsaturated fat, and proanthocyanidins. A 1 oz. serving of raw hazelnuts contain 20% DV of the antioxidant vitamin E.

Pecans: An excellent source of vitamin E and provides several B vitamins, fiber, and protein. Recent research concludes the consumption of pecans is linked to reduced markers of CVD and metabolic disorders affecting fat tissue and insulin resistance.

Pistachios: A good source of protein and are higher in fiber than other nuts. Additionally, these nuts are a good source of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium. In recent studies, pistachios have been shown to lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol.

Walnuts: Containing the highest amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids mentioned previously, walnuts are beneficial for cardiovascular health.

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