Most people are truly afraid of nuts when they are trying to lose weight because of all the calories and fat that they contain. And yes, the overly salted and oiled roasted nuts on the bar at your local pub are not friendly when it comes to getting leaner. But eat them raw and with skins intact and you're actually on your way to building muscle and fighting food cravings and disease. You see, nuts are filled with protein , monounsaturated fats (the good ones), vitamin E, folate (in peanuts), fiber, magnesium, phosphorus and they can help you combat obesity, heart disease, muscle loss, cancer.
Check out these stats: In the U.S. Physicians Study, researchers found that men who consumed nuts 2 or more times per week were 47% less likely to die from heart attack and had a 30% reduction in risk for heart disease. The Adventist Health Study showed that those who ate nuts frequently (over 4 times per week) showed significant reduction in heart attacks (51% fewer heart attacks). Pretty amazing stuff.
So my favorite nuts to eat are: almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts-sometimes I'll make a mix of nuts and grab a handful so I can get the health benefits of them all on a daily basis. I also love Brazil nuts which are expensive but high in zinc and selenium-you could even eat one per day as a mineral supplement if you're on a budget. So how much should you eat? Try for two handfuls a day. And if you eat 2 ounces of almonds (about 24 of them), it can suppress your appetite-especially if you wash them down with 8 ounces of water.
Ideas for eating nuts:
Include almonds or cashews in chicken dishes.
Make a peanut sauce to go with stir-fry. Add 1-2 tbsp of peanut butter to rice and vegetables.
Also, this one is really tasty: spray a handful of almonds with canola oil and bake them at 400 degrees F for 5 -10 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle them with a brown sugar and cinnamon mix or cayenne pepper and thyme. One of my faves.