Nuts are high in numerous nutrients including polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. They also provide dietary fiber several different groups of B vitamins including folate, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, calcium. vitamin E, copper, manganese and selenium.
Nuts have been placed in the same group as meat, legumes, eggs, fish and poultry by the Australian Dietary Guidelines. Each variety of nuts has a unique nutrient combination that is good for the body when eaten in the right quantities. Nuts contain healthy fats that help combat heart disease and high cholesterol. Harvard Medical School has stated the consumption of nuts several times each week can significantly lower the risk of developing heart disease.
Although nuts are good for you overindulging can have adverse effects. Although most of the fats found in nuts are unsaturated and will aid in lowering cholesterol they are also extremely fattening. When you add nuts to your diet you need to subtract calories from somewhere else or it can lead to serious weight gain.
Most nuts are salted because it enhances the taste but it also increases your salt consumption. This can result in elevated blood pressure. Some nuts are seasoned with spices such as Italian seasoning or chili powder and are a much better choice. You retain a tasty snack but are not consuming unsafe amounts of salt.
Nuts are naturally very high in fiber which is partially why they are so healthy. Fiber will aid your digestion. The problem is if you are not accustomed to eating large quantities of fiber it can cause diarrhea, gas and bloating. Many people sit and watch television not realizing how many nuts they have eaten and end up feeling miserable the next day. The National Institutes of Health has reported the correct amount of fiber to consume daily is between 20 and 30 grams. One handful of almonds has four grams of fiber. This is the highest amount of fiber found in any nut.
A good stance to take is the avoidance of nuts that come in a jar. This is because one serving of nuts is approximately one third of a cup and it is way too easy to eat too many when you have an entire jar. A good solution is to divide your nuts into one third cup servings and seal them in plastic bags or containers. When you only eat one serving at a time you will see all the benefits without the possible risks from over eating nuts.