Tammy Roberts, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Bates County, University of Missouri Extension
Despite being high in calories, nuts are a great snack because they are full of heart-healthy fat and nutrients.
If you look at a nutrition label you will find that 1 ounce of nuts has between 160 and 200 calories and can have as much as 80 percent of the calories from fat. Most nutritionists would advise you to stay away from something with that much fat, but nuts warrant a closer look.
Most of the fat in nuts is unsaturated. A high percentage of the fat is monounsaturated fat, which can help reduce total cholesterol and the LDL (bad) cholesterol while maintaining HDL (good) cholesterol. Many nuts, especially walnuts, are particularly good for heart health because they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce the risk of heart rhythm problems thus reducing the risk of sudden cardiac death. Omega-3 fatty acids may also help reduce triglycerides, reduce blood clotting and help lower blood pressure. Almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts and pecans are also considered to be heart healthy.
For more about the benefits of eating nuts, including recommended serving sizes, see the full version of this article at http://missourifamilies.org/