Add Nuts to Protect your Heart

Add Nuts to Protect your Heart
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According to the American Heart Association, approximately 83.6 million Americans have cardiovascular disease (CHD). CHD is the number one killer in the U.S but fortunately, a healthy diet is one of the best ways for prevention. General heart health recommendations consists of following a diet high in fiber, low in sodium, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, with lean protein sources and healthy fats.

Nuts including walnuts, cashews, pistachios, almonds, brazil nuts, and peanuts can provide heart healthy fats, vitamins and minerals to combat CHD. Nut varieties provide important omega-3 fatty acids with up to 7 grams of protein per serving! According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, frequent nut consumption is associated with lower rates of coronary artery disease. A diet rich in nuts also may improve lipid profiles to increase “good” (HDL) cholesterol (HDL) and lower “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. Keep in mind that despite containing “healthy” fats, fat contributes a concentrated amount of calories per serving. Know the correct serving size of your nut choices and monitor portion control when adding these to your diet.

How to Add Nuts to your diet:

Portion Control:

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  • If buying in bulk, pre-measure 1 serving into small containers or zip-lock bags.  You can even find Zip-lock bags with lines showing a correct serving size.
  • Always carry a pre-portioned bag in your car or at your office desk.
  • If pre-portioning takes too much time, purchase re-made portion controlled bagged nuts. For example, Blue Diamond’s brand has 100-calorie packs, which can be easy to take on the go.

Get the Nutrition on Nut Varieties:

NUTS COMPARED

Nut Variety

Approx # of nuts in 1 serving

Calories (kcal)

Protein (g)

Total Fat (g)

MUFAs (g)

  PUFAs (g)

Fiber (g)

Almonds

23

160 **

6 **

14

9

3.5

4 *

Brazil Nuts

6

190

4

19

7

6

2

Cashews

16-18

160 **

4

13

8

2

1

Hazelnuts

21

180

4

17

13

2

3

Macadamia

11

200

2

22

17

0.5

2

Pecans

19 (halves)

200

3

20

12

6

3

Pistachios

49 **

160 **

6**

18

7

4

3

Walnuts

14 (halves)

190

4

18

2.5

13

2

Peanuts

33 **

170

7 **

14

7

2

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
*PUFAs (Polyunsaturated Fats)
*MUFAs (Monounsaturated Fats)
*Both MUFAs and PUFAs provide omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids that can’t be made in the body, meaning we instead need to obtain them from our diet.

BEST IN CLASS (per 1 oz serving): 

Highest Number of Nuts:

  1. Pistachios (49)
  2. Almonds (23)
  3. Peanuts (33)

 Lowest in Calories

  1. Almonds (160 kcal)
  2. Cashews (160 kcal)
  3. Pistachios (160 kcal)

Highest in Protein

  1. Peanuts (7 grams)
  2. Almonds (6 grams)
  3. Pistachios (6 grams)

 Best Nuts for your Heart: Walnuts

  • All nuts contain heart-healthy omega-3 fats, but walnuts have significantly higher amounts of alpha linoleic acid (ALA) than any other nut.  ALA can help protect your heart by reducing plaque build up in the arteries to reduce inflammation, lowering risk of heart attack and heart disease.

Best Nuts for Men and Prostate Health: Brazil Nuts

  • According to The Harvard School of Medicine, Brazil Nuts have the highest amount of Selenium, which may protect men against prostate cancer.  One ounce (about 6 nuts) has almost 10 times the recommended dietary allowance of 55 mg.

Best for overall disease prevention: Almonds. 

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Relatively low in calories per 1 oz serving, (160 calories/23 nuts) almonds are highest in Vitamin E (7.3 mg), Magnesium (75 mg) and calcium (75 mg or the same amount of calcium as ¼ cup of milk). Low levels of Magnesium are common in the American diet (daily recommendations are 420 mg for men, 320 mg for women) and may contribute to heart attacks and hypertension.

*Almonds are quite popular and versatile.  You can buy them raw, slivered, roasted, toasted, or coated in a variety of flavors from Cocoa dusting to Spicy Wasabi.