Oh, nuts!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Because Nana is often scared by my posts, I decided this would be a good time to post something of a more positive nature …

By now I think everybody has pretty much “got it” that almonds are good for you. What? A food that’s good for you AND tastes good? I know; hard to believe, right? It’s true – they’re always popping up on those “superfoods” lists, and with good reason.

Almonds have been shown to do all kinds of wonderful things, including stabilizing blood sugar, building muscle, lowering cholesterol, fighting off food cravings and helping with weight loss and maintenance. And when you put all those things together, they put up a pretty good fight against diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer.

Of course, I have to burst your bubble right off the bat and point out that you want to avoid almonds that are heavily salted or smoked – all that sodium isn’t too great for your blood pressure.

Many people shy away from eating nuts because of the high fat content. Guess what? You’re worrying for nothing. Sure, they have about 14 grams of fat per 1-ounce serving – but it’s monounsaturated fat. The good stuff. The fat that helps you to feel full and keeps your arteries clear.

Of course, you don’t want to go all crazy with the almonds. If you’re watching your weight, that one ounce of almonds will cost you about 164 calories. But it will also give you 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber – and those are some good snacking numbers. And adding an apple or an orange to those almonds can get you through pretty much any afternoon.

Interesting scientific study: A 28-month study that involved 8,865 adult men and women, found that those who ate nuts at least two times per week were 31% less likely to gain weight than those who never ate nuts.

Ounce for ounce, almonds are the one of the most nutritionally dense nuts. Besides the protein, fiber and monounsaturated fats, they are also a great source of vitamin E, magnesium and phosphorus. And flavonoids. Okay, I had to look up flavonoids. Even though I didn’t want to. Turns out flavonoids are just a compound that gives fruits, vegetables and nuts their antioxidant properties.

Of course, walnuts, pecans and chestnuts have the highest antioxidant content of the tree nuts, and peanuts (a legume, technically speaking) are also holding their own with the antioxidants.

So how much should you eat? Just one handful of almonds (about 1-ounce) or one tablespoon of nut butter (and that includes natural peanut butter, my friends) four times per week will significantly lower your risk of cardiovascular disease – up to 37%.

Eating the almonds with the skins intact actually increases its vitamin E and antioxidant properties and has been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Oh, and good news for those of us with portion-control issues! Emerald Natural Almonds has recently introduced a 100-calorie pack. Finally! A 100-calorie pack I don’t have to hate.



And are you ready for this? Cocoa Almonds. Not your traditional chocolate-covered nut, but an almond lightly dusted in dark chocolate.
That should help with some of those nasty chocolate cravings. I have heard you can find these in Target, but I have not yet personally seen them.

And don’t forget – almonds are delicious sprinkled on salads or vegetables. And nut butters are good on toast and on celery sticks. Of course, I’m still a fan of the peanut butter and banana sandwich – but now I feel a little better about that.

23 comments:

Tanya said...

I'm an almond eating freak! I love them. I had no idea there were those 100 cal. packs. You're awesome for pointing that out!

Housewife Savant said...

The timing is too funny.
First - I want to tell you that I RUSH over to read your posts.
I was gonna comment that today my Atkins tummy feels BAD, knowing I'd get some sympathy.
It's TOO funny that you "did" almonds, b/c I mentioned them on the 6th.

You explained that a serving of almonds gives us 164 calories, 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, but what does an Old Lady with an Angry Gallbladder get when SHE eats almonds? Hmm?
Wanna guess? It starts with "D" and ends with Old Lady on the couch cursing Atkins.

I STILL love you.

Sonia said...

hahaha! I'm so happy they now have 100 cal packs, because my big mouth can stuff more than 1 oz of nuts at a time!

And what's with the chocolate covered ones? Because you know I'd eat the whole box right then and there!

OK, I'm getting ready to drop the kid off at school and heading to the store to look for some of those nuts!

Bar-b said...

Hey there sexy, sitsy, blogger! I love that your talking about nuts. I JUST bought these cocoa ones and I love them and am so pleased with their invention.

be back later.....

Lisa said...

ooh, ooh, I want to try those cocoa covered nuts! Those look delicious!

Right now I am having a love affair with the Blue Diamond Sea Salt covered almonds. Have you had those? They are amazing!

kristisummer said...

100 calorie pack almonds! Great now I can control my intake. Going to the store on lunch.

The Cookie Girl said...

Almonds rock!! I use them in salads,chicken salad,and just raw.
I love them and walnuts too.

Brandy said...

Dark chocolate dusted almonds.......mmmm. I want to find these too!

SpaGirl Jenn said...

I LOVE almonds and Almond butter too!!!! Way better than peanut butter!!!!

Bernadette said...

I love cocoa dusted almonds! Trader Joe's makes some great ones, too!

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

All you people who have found those cocoa almonds are making me really jealous!

Trina said...

Raw almonds are also good for heart burn. My husband uses them instead of meds. It'll help me lose weight? Maybe I'll go raid his jar.

Camevil said...

One of the Christmas parties I attended in '08 included a bowl of those delightful cocoa almonds. What I did to them was obscene.

Nana said...

Do almonds rolled in caramel count?Hahaha. I love almonds, I'm not scared and thanks for the shout out.

Amanda said...

I am a huge fan of the afternoon handful of nuts or trailmix pick me up!

I just found your blog (from SITs), and I love it! I occasionally post on nutrition and fitness - it's sort of an obsessive hobby - so your whole blog allows be to indulge in my nutrition obsession. Have you tried spinach brownies?

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

Amanda - no, I certainly have not tried spinach brownies. Nor black bean brownies, although I always meant to. I will head over to you blog now to look for them. :)

dabooklady said...

I love nuts and try to eat them a little more than 2 times a week I usually eat about 10 for a snack. They are great for a quick pick me up and also beneficial to your heart.. :) great write up on it.. Thanks for stopping by my blog too.. :)

Jessica said...

Being married to a Moroccan, almonds and all sorts of nuts are on hand at home! I use them as a snack before mealtime for my 4 year old, it fuels us!

Lida said...

I used to hate almonds but since I became a vegetarian I crave them too, thanks for this information I found ur blog at SITS.

Karen Brown Letarte said...

I so miss the days when Trader Joe's was two blocks from my office. I used to keep bags of nuts at my desk all the time... a cheese stick, 6 almonds, and a piece of fruit was my morning snack. Now that I work at home, I'm nowhere near as disciplined as I used to be. Cocoa almoinds?? Too good to be true! :) K

Kas said...

I've got a 1/4 cup of almonds sitting right in front of me at this very moment about to be devoured...

I had to up my protein intake which is insanely difficult... But Almonds are a lifesaver!!!

Great Post!!

Bonnie said...

I had to send this to my husband because he loves nuts and knew he'd like the science behind the foods.

Thanks!

Camevil said...

I just scored some great raw almonds (with skin) from the grocery. I forgot how good plain almonds taste.