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Nutty Nutrition Facts

Years ago, nuts were considered too high in fat to be included in a heart healthy diet. But no more!

Nuts have not changed, they are still high in fat and calories. However, with research, we know that the certain types of fats have been shown to have positive health benefits such as preventing or controlling chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Unsaturated fats increase the amount of good cholesterol in your body, reduce clotting, relax blood vessels, and contribute to satiety. Unsaturated fats can be found in fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, and nut butters. In fact findings in a study in 2013 by Harvard researchers indicated that “people who ate nuts every day lived longer and healthier lives than those who did not eat nuts.” Moreover, the results were dose dependent, meaning that the more nuts eaten daily, the lower the health risk.

As a result, the main nutrition message doesn’t mean cutting out fats but instead reduce the amount of saturated fats in your diet and replace with heart healthy unsaturated fats like the kinds found in nuts. A general serving size of nuts is about one ounce and provides 160-210 calories per serving as well as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Below are tips for adding nuts and seeds to your daily eating plan:

¯ Snack on them by adding nuts to dried fruit for a homemade trail mix. If you want to try flavored nuts and seed, sprinkle turmeric, curry, cinnamon, or cocoa powder on the nuts or seeds and roasting at 350 degrees.

¯ Sprinkle them on oatmeal, cold whole grain cereal, yogurt, or salads. Crush them and mix with whole grain bread crumbs for a crispy baked fish topping.

¯ Spread them by using a variety of nut butters that are available at your local grocery stores. Be sure to read labels to avoid added salt and sugar. Spread onto celery sticks, whole grain crackers, apples, and into sauces or soups.

Substitute them into your cooking. Experiment with nuts instead of animal proteins in main dishes such as a stir-fry dish. Sautee with vegetables, crush and blend into sauces such as pesto, or add to pastas. Dry roasted nuts can be added into the final stages of any curry. You can find recipes on websites like www.vegetariantimes.com and www.meatlessmonday.com.

Store nuts in an air-tight container at room temperature for 3 months, in the refrigerator for 6 months, or in the freezer for 1 year. Due to the high fat content, nuts have a short shelf life and will go rancid. If nuts start to go stale, you can roast them to bring back the flavor. However, there is no fixing a rancid nut.

Please remember to contribute toward your OFA nutrition services if you can. These programs are not sustainable at current levels without the support of participant contributions. Be aware that Food Stamps can be used toward your contribution. Thank you for your support.

The Chautauqua County Office for the Aging Senior Nutrition Program provides nutritious noon meals at several Congregate Dining Sites throughout the county along with a Restaurant Dining Out Program. Our Dietitians, Cheryl Wahlstrom RD and Carey Skelton RD are available for nutrition counseling in your home or by phone. We also sponsor several exercise programs. Call the office for more details and information.

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