For The Love of Nuts

Nuts do more for your health than you may know

I am forever being asked how, at my age, I keep my weight constant at around 120 Lbs. and my energy level so high. The answer is a combination of things pertaining to diet and exercise, but one of them is that I incorporate generous portions of nuts in my diet. That’s right, nuts. Not only are they delicious, but, nutritionally, nuts have a lot to offer—and not only just as snacks.


Nuts are dense little packages of fat and protein, with most of the fat being the healthful, unsaturated kind. They don’t contribute much in the way of vitamins but make up for it by supplying respectable amounts of potassium, magnesium, and several other required minerals.

Dieters tend to eliminate nuts because of their fat content and high calorie count but if you don’t shovel them in mainly as snacks and instead make them part of meals, their low carbohydrate content makes them perfect for low-carb diets, particularly the ones that emphasize plant-based foods.

Studies have found a correlation between relatively high nut consumption and avoidance of weight gain and obesity. One small study showed walnuts at breakfast gave people a pre-lunch feeling of fullness that made it easier to eat less. (My perennial diet advice is that if eating less doesn’t work, just eat even less!) So, if nuts make people feel full, they can actually lower calorie counts over all as you will be less likely to overdo it at mealtime.

Apart from weight issues, nuts seem to have some protective effects against heart disease too. Numerous studies have shown that people on nut-filled diets have had favorable effects pertaining to cholesterol levels, blood pressure readings, and inflammatory factors.

An analysis of data from the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study showed that having one serving1 of nuts a day is associated with a 30-percent lower risk of heart disease compared with having one serving of red meat a day.

Granted, a plate full of walnuts for dinner is not very appealing, but there are all kinds of recipes that incorporate nuts into, say, pasta dishes, and it would be easy to add almonds or walnuts to a bowl of cereal or yogurt or a salad.

Nutrients in nuts per 1.5 ounces
Source: Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

Calories Fat (grams) Protein (grams)
Almonds 254 22.5 9.4
Cashews 244 28.2 6.1
Hazelnuts 275 26.5 6.4
Peanuts 249 21.1 10.1
Pistachios 243 19.6 9.1
Walnuts 278 27.7 6.5

1 Examples of the actual number of nuts in a 1-oz. serving: 24 shelled almonds, 16 cashews, 18 hazelnuts, 28 peanuts, 45 pistachios, and 14 shelled walnut halves.

Go nuts!