Nuts for Heart Health

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