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health and wellness: nutritious nuts

| Posted Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 12:23PM

Nutritious NutsNuts are super nutritious and packed with beneficial nutrients like a variety of vitamins and minerals, fiber, unsaturated fat and protein. Nuts can replace a pie crust or breading on fish or chicken, be added to salad or be eaten by themselves. Scientific evidence suggests that eating 1 1/2 ounces of nuts a day can help lower the risk of heart disease. While nuts are packed with beneficial nutrients, they are also packed with calories; be careful and only eat about 1 1/2 ounces a day.

Almonds
Almonds have one of the highest NuVal scores when it comes to nuts, an 84. Almonds have the lowest amount of saturated fat of any nut, and they are packed with riboflavin, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. Almonds have higher amounts of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidant vitamin E than any other nut. If you’re not a big milk drinker, try almonds! One ounce of almonds has 7 percent of the daily recommendation of calcium.

Cashews
Raw cashews have a NuVal score of 42, but once roasted, their score decreases to 36. Cashews are a good source of monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. They are also packed with immune-boosting zinc that plays a role in healthy skin and hair. Cashews’ plant source of iron, with a combination of vitamin C-rich foods, is a perfect addition to any vegetarian meal.

Peanuts
Peanuts are not actually nuts but legumes. Peanuts have a NuVal score of 71, and they are a good source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. With 8 grams of muscle-repairing protein per ounce, peanuts have more protein than any other nut. A study found that replacing red meat protein in your diet with plant protein, like peanuts, can reduce your risk of heart disease. Peanuts also have more cholesterol-lowering niacin than any other nut. Peanuts are also a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese.

Brazil Nuts
With a NuVal score of 24, Brazil nuts are the highest nut source of magnesium, phosphorus, copper and selenium. Brazil nuts are the richest source of selenium, and only eating two nuts will provide the recommended daily intake. Selenium is important for immune and thyroid function, is a powerful antioxidant and can help lower the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.

Walnuts
Walnuts have one of the highest NuVal scores for a nut, an 84. Walnuts are one of the few plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating only 1 1/4 ounces of walnuts a day provides more than the recommended daily intake of omega-3, which can help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and lower inflammation. Walnuts are also a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and copper.

Pistachios
Pistachios add more than color to your meal. They contain more cholesterol-lowering, immune-boosting phytosterols than any other nut and are the only nut that contains carotenoids. With a NuVal score of a 48, pistachios are packed with beneficial nutrients, and they have the least amount of fat and calories compared to other nuts. Pistachios are a good source of phosphorus, copper, manganese and thiamin, and they are an excellent source of vitamin B6.

Pecans
Pecans are a good source of fiber, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, copper and thiamin. Pecans have more manganese than any other nuts. Manganese is important for bone health.

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