Going nuts about your diet

Nuts can be a healthy addition to everyone’s diet. Although nuts are fairly high in calories, eating some nuts in your diet is associated with reductions in heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Nuts contain lots of protein, fibre, heart healthy fats, magnesium, and iron, and some are bursting with antioxidants such as vitamin E and selenium. There are lots of different kinds of nuts available — almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, and walnuts are all good choices.

Choose plain, unsalted varieties. Also, the key is to watch your portion sizes. Nuts are high in fat, hence they are high in calories, so for anyone watching their weight, the quantity is key. One portion of nuts is roughly two dessertspoons. Even though nuts contain ‘good fats’, for example walnuts contain omega 3 (a heart healthy fat ), they are packed with calories. One good thing about nuts is that they are high in protein and fibre and can be quite filling.

Take care not to expose anyone with nut allergies to your stash. Also it is important not to offer whole nuts to children under five as they are a choking hazard.

You do not have to eat whole nuts, you can always mix a variety of them into your regular foods to add a bit of crunch and get a mix of the nutrients available in nuts. Some suggestions on ways to include nuts every day include:

Chop pecan nuts into a stirfry.

Add flaked almonds to stewed fruit and yoghurts.

Toasted hazelnuts and pine nuts are delicious in salads.

Mix ground nuts into your breakfast cereal, home made muffins, quick bread, or home made bread mixtures.

Some peanuts/mixed nuts with dried fruit can make a quick snack

Nuts can be a great addition to your diet adding that little extra crunch – the message is including a small amount of nuts can also be a healthy addition.

If you know someone with allergies (including nuts ) www.actagainstallergy.ie and www.indi.ie are good for additional information.

Information issued by the Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, HSE Dublin-Mid Leinster phone (044 ) 9353220, email [email protected]

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