Nuts and Seeds: The Healthy Truth

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You might think of nuts and seeds as just a fun snack to munch on at the ballpark, but they can fuel your body with their healthy fats, protein, fiber, antioxidants and more. So, if you go nuts for nuts, or like a sprinkle of seeds on your cereal or salad, rest assured they are a healthy addition to your daily food routine. 

For a long time, people worried how nuts and seeds could be good for you. After all they have a high calorie and fat content. And they’re so easy to overdo! It’s true that if you go beyond the suggested serving size, you could take in more energy than your body needs, which could potentially lead to weight gain.

What’s a serving size of nuts or seeds? It’s one ounce, which can look like:

  • ¼ cup

  • About a handful

  • 2 tablespoons of nut butter or seed butter

Note: It’s really easy to overeat nuts and seeds when they’re salted. Salt adds to their flavor and makes you want more. So pick unsalted nuts, seeds and nut and seed butters.

As for how healthy they are, though, the studies are clear, making a strong case to add them to your shopping cart. In fact, the FDA now permits some nuts and nut-containing foods to say on their label: “Eating a diet that includes one ounce of nuts daily can reduce your risk of heart disease.” As long as you stick to that serving size, weight gain from eating nuts should not be a worry. In fact, nuts can even help with weight loss

Why are nuts and seeds so powerful? 

  • They’re high in unsaturated fats. These “good fats” help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol and raise good (HDL) cholesterol. 

  • Some kinds, such as walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are heart healthy and can prevent blood clots and the development of an irregular heartbeat.

  • Nuts are a good source of  arginine, an amino acid that can ease the symptoms of certain heart conditions, such as coronary artery disease, by helping blood flow more easily.

  • The nutrients in seeds can help lower blood sugar and blood pressure.

In short, eating just a small amount of nuts and seeds each day can reduce the risk of  heart disease, stroke, cancer, and more.

Your Challenge 

Sold on seeds? Need some nuts? Here are some ways to add them to your day:

  • Sprinkle a tablespoon of ground flaxseed and a handful of walnuts on your morning oatmeal for an omega-3 boost.

  • Snack on a ¼ cup of trail mix you make from pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and your favorite unsalted nuts. Try this when you’re tempted to grab a bag of chips or cookies.

  • Make a chia seed pudding for a healthy dessert. Or try chia jam with breakfast. Better has a recipe for chia pudding in the app, and you can visit the Better Pinterest Chia Puddings & Jams board for lots of other chia ideas.

EATKara Mosesso