If there was a tasty snack that was readily available, easy to take on the go, tasted great, and lowered your cholesterol, you’d be nuts not to include it in your diet. In fact, we’re talking about nuts.
Nuts can be in important part of a healthy diet and they are good for your heart. The greatest thing about nuts is that they feel like a snack and can satisfy you when you get the munchies. Because of their small size, you can grab a handful and snack on them for several minutes. Better yet, because nuts contain fiber and protein, your stomach will actually remember that you had a snack afterwards, unlike the result of many sugary snacks that leave you hungry moments later.
Nuts contain a number of key ingredients that make them a healthy snack option. Here are a few:
The ‘Good’ Fats – We should limit the amount of saturated and trans fats that we consume in our diet. Nuts contain plenty of fat, but it is mostly unsaturated fats, which are the good ones that can actually lower cholesterol. Check the label though, because not all nuts are created equal.
Fiber – Most people do not get nearly enough fiber in their diets, so nuts as a snack can help to increase this number. In fact, a handful of nuts can have as much fiber as an apple. Fiber can help to lower your cholesterol and it makes you feel full after you eat it, unlike sugar.
Omega-3s – You’ve probably heard of omega-3s in fish and fish oil supplements but some nuts are a good source of omega-3s that you can get without heating up the frying pan. Omega-3s are thought to be good for your heart.
These are just a few of the healthful benefits of snacking on nuts, but before you go to a warehouse club and buy a huge jar, know this. Nuts have plenty of calories and fat, so consume them in moderation. Nuts should be added to your diet as a replacement for something else, so that you don’t gain a pound or two by adding these extra calories.
As for the fat, it is mostly the healthier fats that nuts contain, but it is still fat, so balance that fat out throughout the keep your total diet at the percentage of fat that you desire.
If you are looking for suggestions, the healthiest nuts include such thing as walnuts, almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, and pistachios. You can easily find these nuts at your local store and make snack bags for yourself to bring to the office or have in the car. Just be careful that you choose wisely, because some nuts are roasted in oil and salted heavily. The closer you can stay to the raw and unsalted nut, the better. You don’t need the extra sodium in your diet.
Now that you know there is a tasty snack that can lower your cholesterol, go nuts!