Nutty Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Nutty Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Research shows that adding nuts to your diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Learn more about the health benefits of nuts and how to incorporate them into your daily diet.

Love nuts? Research continues to show that eating nuts as part of a healthy diet can be good for you. But they’re better for you when not eaten simply as a dessert topper.

Read on to get the full scoop.

Nuts and your heart:

  • If you have heart disease, nuts are healthier than many other snacks.
  • Eating nuts as part of a heart-healthy diet lowers LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels in your blood.
  • Eating nuts reduces your risk for blood clots that can cause a fatal heart attack.
  • Nuts are rich in unsaturated fats (including omega-3’s), which can help your heart.
  • Nuts are high in vitamin E and fiber.
  • Nuts are a good vegetarian source of protein.

How much should you eat?

  • All nuts are good, but some are better than others. Walnuts have the highest amount of omega-3 fats. Almonds, macadamias, hazelnuts, cashews, peanuts and pecans also rank high.
  • Nuts lose their healthy benefits if covered in salt, chocolate or sugar.
  • Nuts pack a lot of calories for a small amount, so watch your portion size. The recommended amount is two ounces of nuts each day. However, as little as two ounces per week seem to produce benefits.
  • Nuts should be used to replace less healthy snacks or foods. Adding nuts to a diet high in saturated fat will not help.

Menu ideas:

  • Add 2 tablespoons of nuts to yogurt in the morning.
  • Use them as a healthy substitute for more fattening salad toppers.
  • Try crushed walnuts with light cream cheese on an English muffin.
  • Enjoy a handful of nuts with a piece of fresh fruit for an afternoon snack.
  • Mix nuts with berries and add to cold or hot cereal.
  • Munch on a small handful of soynuts for a quick savory snack.
  • Mix nuts into quick breads or muffin mixes.
  • Add cashews to a stir-fry recipe.
  • For a healthy fruit snack, spread a tablespoon of natural peanut butter onto celery or a sliced apple.

The chart below shows the amount of nuts in one ounce, along with other nutritional information. Remember, the fat in nuts is mostly healthy. Nuts are also packed with other vitamins and minerals.

Nuts (1 ounce)CaloriesTotal Fat (g)ProteinFiber
Almonds (24)1601463
Brazil nuts (6)1901942
Cashews (18)1601341
Chestnuts(3)650.611
Hazelnuts (20)1801743
Macadamia nuts (8)1601722
Pecans (20 halves)2992033
Pine nuts (157)1601473
Pistachios (47)1601363
Walnuts (12 halves)1601542
For Comparison    
Potato Chips (12 chips)1501020
Doritos (11 chips)150810
Double Stuf Oreos (3)2101220
Glazed doughnut (1)200122.5
Snickers bar (1)2801431
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