Nuts are a must for healthy hearts

March 4, 2014

Whether an on-the-go snack or a side dish, nuts are a great way to eat healthy.

Nuts are delicious and satisfying. Aim to eat a small handful each day (about 1/4 cup). Choosing nuts without added salt or sugar is healthiest. Try sprinkling a few on salads. Nuts are cholesterol free and are an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Nuts are rich in energy and are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and much more.

Let’s meet the nuts:

Pistachios are dry fruits believed to originate in the mountain ranges of west Asia. They are an excellent source of antioxidants, Vitamin E and minerals. They are part of the cashew family.

Cashew nuts are native to Brazil’s Amazon rainforest and were spread worldwide by Portuguese explorers. They are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and essential minerals, especially manganese, potassium, copper, iron and selenium.

Pecans are tree nuts that belong to a member of the hickory family and are really classified as fruit. These are a rich source of ellagic acid, an antioxidant thought to protect the body from disease.

Walnuts are edible kernels of the fruit from walnut trees. These are an excellent source of omega 3 essential fatty acids, thought to help lower the risk of coronary artery disease, strokes and some cancers.

A one-ounce serving of almonds contains about 163 calories. They are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which help lower LDL or bad cholesterol.

Brazil nuts contain exceptionally high levels of selenium. Eating just one or two each day provides enough of this trace mineral.

Pine nuts are small, edible seeds of pine trees that once served as a food source for Native Americans. These are rich in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and B complex vitamins.


Patricia Bradley is a medical nutrition therapist and certified diabetes educator at Beebe Healthcare. She has worked at Beebe since 1999 and is a graduate of Penn State University. She received her master of nutrition degree from Immaculata University.