Nuts as Part of a Healthy Diet

Knowing what to eat can be difficult, with new fad diets and health advice that seems to change every day. But the basics of a healthy diet are really quite simple. Many experts recommend eating a variety of foods, with an emphasis on whole grains, vegetables, fruits and healthy sources of fat.

In fact the new 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommend all Americans to:

  • Consume a variety of foods within and among the basic food groups while staying within energy needs.
  • Control calorie intake to manage body weight.
  • Be physically active every day.
  • Increase daily intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nonfat or low-fat milk and milk products.
  • Choose fats wisely for good health.
  • Choose carbohydrates wisely for good health.
  • Choose and prepare foods with little salt.
  • If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

Nuts can be part of this "recommended" healthy diet. A handful of nuts a day can make a great snack. Nuts have a unique combination of fiber and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, so they can help keep you feeling full and satisfied. They can be easily used in recipes to replace other sources of fat. For example, nuts can be tossed over a salad instead of bacon bits, or added to pasta dishes. Furthermore, nuts are good sources of vitamins and minerals that are essential in a balanced diet; for example, almonds are high in vitamin E, and peanuts are high in niacin. It's clear that nuts have an important place in a healthy diet. So choose your favorites and enjoy!

* Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat & cholesterol and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.