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Myth: Avoid nuts (and nut butters) because they are fattening.

TRUTH: Nuts provide a great source of protein and “good” fat – unsaturated fats.  Though you want to watch your portion sizes, nuts are a fantastic, filling snack.  Processed nut butters, like peanut butter, often contain extra sugar or salt, but there are now many brands widely available with no added ingredients.  Just check the nutrition fact label and ingredient list on the package.

In general, you want to choose about 1 oz of nuts (a small handful), which will provide  around 150-250 calories.  For most nuts, that’s about 15-25 pieces.  If you want a quick snack, cut thick slices of a banana and top each with a piece of a walnut (it only takes 10-14 walnuts to meet your omega-3 fat needs for the day)! 

 Ok, but which are the healthiest nuts?  Here are (in my opinion) the best:

  1.  Walnuts – Not only for the aforementioned reasons but also because they are the only nut that’s a good source of omega-3s.
  2. Almonds – They meet more than a third of your need of vitamin E (an antioxidant) for the day.  Try making your own almond milk at home by boiling 1 cup of almonds in ½ cup of water.  Puree and then strain the mixture, reserving the liquid.
  3. Pecans – Pecans have a ton of antioxidants and are a very good vegetarian source of zinc.  Recent research indicates that zinc may help your body fight colds – by decreasing the duration and severity of the cold.

Honorable Mentions: Pistachios, Brazil Nuts

BOTTOM LINE: Nuts are a great source of protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and fiber.  The high fat, protein, and fiber content help keep you fuller for longer periods.  They’re portable and have a long shelf life.  All in all, a great food that may even help improve heart function and longevity!


  1. British Medical Journal (via Science Daily):
  2. New York Times:

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