Many people are surprised to hear that nuts can be part of a heart healthy diet because they are high in fat. That is why, for nuts, you must eat them in moderation.
- One serving of nuts is 1 ounce or about 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup.
Nuts contain healthy fats, as well as certain vitamins and minerals, which can actually lower your blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol, and reduce the chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Nuts are also a great source of plant protein and fiber. Nuts contain the amino acid arginine, which in the body turns into nitric acid, a substance that helps relax the blood vessels. It is good to include a variety of nuts in your diet because different nuts supply different nutrients. Eat nuts unsalted if possible.
For peanut butter, buy a reduced fat version and preferably a natural type, because it is lower in hydrogenated oils.
- One serving peanut butter is 2 tablespoons.
Seeds, such as sunflower and pumpkin share similar properties as nuts - but eat them in moderation.
- one serving seeds = 2 tablespoons
How to add nuts to your diet
- Sprinkle on salad or oatmeal
- Stir into your favorite yogurt or add to casseroles for a crunch
- Mix with cereal and dried fruit for a homemade trail mix
- Nibble on a small handful for a snack instead of chips or pretzels
- Spread peanut butter on whole grain crackers or fruit such as apples or bananas
- Have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch on whole wheat bread with a cold glass of skim milk and an apple