Most nuts get more than 70 percent of their calories from fat, so a small quantity goes a long way toward maintaining a healthy diet. As a rule, it's sensible to keep serving sizes to about an ounce. With the exception of coconuts, this fat is monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, making nuts more heart-healthy than most animal proteins. Eaten in moderation, these essential fats can help lower cholesterol. A small quantity of nuts also carries fat-soluble vitamins, including A, D, E, and K, and packs a big dose of muscle-building protein. One type, the chestnut, even provides about half of the 60-mg. Daily Value for vitamin C. In addition, nuts are a good source of fiber and minerals, including calcium, phosphorous, and potassium.
The variety of nuts available provides an array of flavors and nutritional benefits. For a dose of iron, sprinkle chopped almonds on steamed broccoli, toss plump cashews into stir-fries, or add pecans to stuffing or muffins. Chestnuts and hazelnuts are lower in fat, calories, and protein than many other kinds, and they offer plenty of B vitamins. As for green-kerneled pistachios, just 1 oz. provides 38 mg. of calcium.
And walnuts, while higher in fat and lower in protein than most nuts, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that may reduce heart disease risk.Havervlokken The two nuts highest in protein are peanuts and pine nuts. Popular and inexpensive peanuts seem humble, but they pack a nutritional wallop, with 7 g. protein per serving and substantial amounts of niacin.
Pistachio nuts are widely recognized for their red shells, but in their natural state, the shells are actually tan. Importers began dying the shells decades ago to make their product distinctive and to cover blemishes. California growers usually sell their pistachios tan but sometimes dye them--because that's how consumers now think pistachios should look.
Contrary to popular belief, dry-roasted nuts are not lower in fat than oil-roasted varieties, so feel free to vary flavors by choosing whatever ones you like--smoked, spiced, or honey roasted. For cooking, however, choose unsalted varieties to limit your sodium intake. Nuts turn rancid quickly after they are shelled, so buy nuts in the shell when available, and chop or grind them just before using. Store them in airtight containers in a cool, dry, dark place like your freezer or refrigerator. Be aware that some varieties of nuts, especially peanuts, trigger dangerous allergies in susceptible individuals, so be careful when serving foods containing nuts to guests and young family members.