By Lauren Weinand

Presented by Compass Health Network

Have you ever struggled to buy or prepare healthy meals? Or been told your diet is deficient in certain nutrients? One of the best ways to meet these needs is to eat more nuts.

Nuts are a “superfood,” one that is highly nutritious. They are packed with what we need for a healthy diet, including fiber, protein, good fat, vitamins, and minerals.

On average, an 1.5-ounce serving of nuts has 160 calories. It contains 5 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and 12.5 grams of healthy fat. Three or more servings of raw or roasted nuts a week are recommended.

Eating nuts daily can help lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, gastrointestinal disease, and cancer. Moreover, these benefits have been found to be “dose-dependent,” meaning you get even more health benefits by eating more nuts.

However, when adding nuts to your diet, it’s important to factor them in relative to your total daily fat consumption. A standard 2,000-calorie diet has a daily fat intake of around 44 to 77 grams. So, if you eat one serving of nuts daily, it could account for up to 28 percent of your daily fat allowance.

Some nuts are particularly nutritious. Pecans, macadamia nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and almonds have the highest healthy fat content.

Among these nuts, walnuts are particularly rich in healthy fats needed for your heart and brain. All of these nuts contain significant amounts of vitamin E and magnesium.

Vitamin E supports the body’s immune system and serves as a natural blood thinner. It may also protect against cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Magnesium is necessary for many bodily processes. Growing evidence suggests chronic mild magnesium deficiency might be common. It might also play a role in many health conditions, including heart disease, asthma, kidney stones, headaches, muscle tension, depression, anxiety, and osteoporosis.

Finally, eating more nuts is a great way to manage your weight. All the fiber, protein, and good fat in nuts help regulate our blood sugar and keep us feeling full. Foods rich in carbohydrates, on the other hand, will keep us snacking throughout the day.

If you are interested in adding nuts to your diet, talk with your doctor about how you might best be able to do so.

Compass Health Network in El Dorado Springs provides dental and behavioral health care services and accepts most private insurance plans, along with Medicare and Medicaid. Compass Health Network also offers a cost-effective, income-based fee scale for those who qualify. To make an appointment call 844-853-8937.

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