Nuts got a bad rap during the low-fat craze of years past. They were thought to be too high in calories and sodium. But raw nuts (in the right portions) are actually the ultimate snack. Packed with protein, fiber, nutrients and healthy fats, they build muscle, ward off risks of heart-disease and cut your cholesterol. In fact, the best nuts are like crunchy multivitamins that just happen to taste great with a beer. Here's what you need to know (in a nutshell) to nosh wisely.
- Benefits: Lowers cholesterol. Boosts energy and digestion. Rich in vitamin E and amino acids like leucine which helps build muscle.
- Serving: 24
- Nutrition: 160 calories, 6g protein, 4g fiber, 14 g fat
- Benefits: Improves blood flow and coordination thanks to antioxidants and B-vitamins. Contains a day's worth of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Serving: 14 halves
- Nutrition: 190 calories, 4g protein, 2g fiber, 18g fat
- Benefits: Reduces your risk of heart disease. Good source of magnesium, which regulates blood pressure, strengthens bones and muscles.
- Serving: 18
- Nutrition: 160 calories, 4g protein, 1g fiber, 13g fat
- Benefits: Lowers blood pressure with potassium. Supplies vitamins A and E, along with antioxidants vital for healthy eyesight.
- Serving: 45
- Nutrition: 160 calories, 6g protein, 3g fiber, 13g fat
- Benefits: The richest source of selenium, which reduces your risk of prostate cancer and diabetes. Supplies memory-boosting amino acids.
- Serving: 8
- Nutrition: 190 calories, 4g protein, 2g fiber, 19g fat
- Benefits: Fiber and healthy fats fill you up while flavonoids and minerals improve circulation, lower cholesterol and regulate blood pressure.
- Serving: 20
- Nutrition: 180 calories, 4g protein, 3g fiber, 17g fat
- Benefits: Technically a legume, these "nuts" are abundant in protein and healthy fat, along with resveratrol, the heart-healthy flavonoid found in red wine.
- Serving: 28
- Nutrition: 170 calories, 7g protein, 2.5g fiber, 14g fat
- A serving is 1 oz., which roughly equates to a handful. The ideal serving would be one to two handfuls a day.
Toasting nuts intensifies their flavor and texture (without any of the extra fat of roasting them in oil). To toast: lay them flat on a baking sheet and stick them in a 400°F oven for 10 minutes.