Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Go Nuts

I saw a news spot about how a vegetarian diet is not only healthy for you, but makes you "greener", that is reducing your "carbon footprint". Nuts become a mainstay of a healthy vegetarian diet since they are a great source of protein and essestial vitamins and minerals. Nuts are one of the best examples of a meat substitute.

The University of California Berkeley Wellness Letter, May 2008, reviewed the health benefits of eating nuts. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Even though nuts have a lot of calories, 160-200 an ounce, numerous studies show that people who eat nuts tend to weigh less than those who don't. Obviously, such people use nuts as a healthy snack or part of a meal, and control how much they take.
  • The fiber and protein in nuts make you feel full or satisfied longer, helping you to eat less during the day.
  • The unsaturated fats in nuts are "heart healthy" and can reduce cholesterol levels. One reputable study showed that nuts led to a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Nuts have B vitamins, potassium, copper, magnesium, vitamin E, fiber and a range of other healthy chemicals.
  • Watch out for the salt (sodium) in many packaged nuts. Eat unsalted nuts.
  • All nuts share most health benefits, but there are some differences. Almonds are the richest in vitamin E and calcium. Brazil nuts are rich in selenium. Cashews are richest in copper and zinc. Peanuts are actually legumes, but are classified as nuts because of their nutritional qualities, and are high in resveratrol and arginine (both heart healthy). Walnuts are richest in the omega-3 fatty acids.

With all of this, make nuts a bigger part of your nutrition in place of meats. You will help your body and the planet.

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