Which nuts are best for you to eat

Tertulia's Seamus Mullen offers up this recipe. Credit: Provided
Tertulia’s Seamus Mullen offers up this recipe.
Credit: Provided

Nuts can get a bad rap — their high-fat content stops many dieters on the “low fat” bandwagon from putting their hands into a bag. But don’t shy away from these little protein powerhouses — the fats in nuts are the monounsaturated, which are the good kind that your body needs to lower cholesterol and your risk of heart disease and stroke (not to mention, that number on the scale). Plus, a recent study from the New England Journal of Medicine links people who eat nuts to longer life spans. Not all nuts are created equal though, so we enlisted Beth Warren, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian with a private practice in New York and the author of the forthcoming “Living a Real Life With Real Food: How to Get Healthy, Lose Weight, and Stay Energized — the Kosher Way,” to give us the facts straight.

Walnuts

These brain-shaped nuts are shaped as so for a reason: They benefit the brain! “Walnuts are actually the highest nut in terms of omega-3 fatty acids, which help improve memory and decrease inflammation,” Warren says. “Inflammation is tied to a lot of diseases — things like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, ADHD and autism.” More good news: “Walnuts are the highest in terms of quality and quantity of antioxidants,” Warren says. Antioxidants ward off disease in your body.

The only caveat about walnuts is that their high omega-3 count makes them one of the fattiest of nuts. So, if you’re going to enjoy a 1-ounce serving (a typical serving size for all nuts), that’s about 14 halves. But again, there’s no reason to hear the word “fat” and get scared. “You want the oil,” Warren says. “That oiliness around the nut is what you’re looking for — it’s just you have less of it in a serving.”

 

Almonds

Because they’re lower in calories than other nuts (and lower in calories than previously thought), you can eat more of them in a serving — 23 to be exact. Load up on them for their vitamin E levels — the vitamin acts as a barrier for your artery walls, protecting them from plaque buildup, which could lower your cholesterol and your risk for heart disease. Almonds also have magnesium, which “helps with your nerves and relaxes your muscles,” Warren says. (Prone to migraines? Load up on foods with magnesium, she recommends.) The wonder nuts also boast calcium and folate. “Folate is super-important for brain health,” says Warren.

 

Peanuts

Surprise! These legumes are not actually nuts. But they’re still worthy of a spot on your diet. “Peanuts are a good source of protein, and you can have more of them in one serving,” Warren says of the 28 you can enjoy at a time. And though you may have heard to swap your PB for almond butter, surprisingly, the calorie and protein counts between the two are pretty similar. Why the fuss over almond butter then? “It’s more of a processing issue than anything,” Warren says. “People think they’re making a good choice in reduced-fat peanut butter, but processing [it means it’s] more likely to have partially hydrogenated oils. Almond butter is naturally less processed.” Opt for a natural peanut butter to get your fix — just don’t go overboard on it. “As long as it’s portion-controlled, it can be part of a great diet,” she says.

 

Pecans

These are a bit higher in calories (enjoy 19 per 1-ounce serving), but “like most nuts, they’re very high in antioxidants and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.” Warren likes using them in baking because of their texture and sweet flavor. You can also use them as a coating for fish instead of breadcrumbs, or toss them on a salad.

 

Pistachios

You can knock back 49 of these, the least caloric of nuts. And you might think of spinach and egg yolks as your best sources for lutein (which supports brain and eye health), but pistachios are very high in it too.

 

Cashews

Dudes, read up and chomp down: These bad boys are loaded with copper, which helps keep your zinc levels in balance. Why does that matter? “Zinc is important for men in terms of sperm health and testosterone,” Warren says. Zinc also aids in keeping your body healthy by boosting your immune system, and copper in iron absorption and thyroid function. Women don’t get a raw deal though: “Zinc, an important antioxidant, supports normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood and adolescence. It is also important in regulating your sense of taste.” You can have 18 (about a handful) cashews for a 1-ounce serving.

 

Nutty notes

Look for unsalted varieties
“Salt makes you want to eat more — it opens up your appetite,” Warren says.

Easy way to get your fix: KIND Bars
“They’re really easy on the run, they come in a variety of flavors and they really curb cravings and your appetite,” Warren says of the nut-heavy snack bars. Some even have indulgent ingredients like dark chocolate, “so it has that little bit of sweetness, controlled in one serving.” They’re made with all-natural ingredients and are less-processed than other bars out there.

 

Recipe: Smoky Almonds with Spanish Paprika, Coriander and Rosemary

Serves 8
• 1 pound California almonds
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon ground coriander
• 2 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika
• 4 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely minced
• 1 tablespoon sea salt

Special equipment:
• Cookie tray, food processor

Pre-heat oven to 400 F. In a large mixing bowl, combine almonds with olive oil and rosemary and toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant and deep in color. Shake the pan every minute or so to make sure the almonds are evenly roasted. Once the almonds look nicely roasted, remove them to a large mixing bowl and season with sea salt and toss to coat evenly with the paprika and coriander. They can be eaten right away as a snack, or you can package them up as a gift. One of the best things about this recipe is its versatility; not only are these almonds tasty on their own, but if you coarsely grind them up, they make a terrific crust for a piece of fish or even chicken. To crust a piece of chicken, simply season the chicken (leg or breast) with sea salt and pepper, then drizzle with some olive oil and thoroughly coat with the ground almonds and it’s ready to roast in the oven!

Recipe courtesy of Seamus Mullen for the Almond Board of California

Follow Meredith Engel on Twitter @MeredithAtMetro.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…