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Ester Marsh: Are nuts really good for you?

Are you going “nuts” about nuts?

First of all, I want to thank everyone for reading my column each week. I get great feedback and it is much appreciated. One of many questions I received this past week was, “Are almonds bad for you?”

Because they do not work for my gut does not mean they are bad for you. Nuts are actually very good. They are a great source of fiber, vitamins, protein and antioxidants. Nuts have lots of “healthy” fat — monounsaturated fat as well as the Omega-6 and Omega-3 polyunsaturated fat (all good stuff).

However, it does have some “bad” fat, saturated fat, and you have to watch the calories when eating nuts. In my little chart I am going to give you, it counts the nuts by pieces or 1 ounce. If you are like me, I typically do not count nuts when I am eating them.

If you measure 1 ounce and only eat 1 ounce, you should be fine. It’s the ones who can eat a whole bag of almonds, cashews, peanuts, etc., that can get in trouble with the calories it brings.

I was trying to find out which of the nuts were the best. And after doing research, the best ones kept changing. So I am giving you nuts which continue to make the top 10 of nuts including their calories, fat, etc., but where no one nut is better than the other.

For my gut, almonds do not work but for many they do. I typically stick with cashews, peanuts, pecans and pistachios.

So the chart above is in no particular order.

So when you eat your nuts, again, count or weigh them. One ounce is not that much and if you are like me, I quickly can eat one cup of nuts easily. So multiply the calories by 8 and it gives you a whole different number.

A typical calorie intake for a female who doesn’t exercise can be around 1,500, a male around 2,000. When you look at a cup of peanuts, it’s 1,352 calories. So, yes, nuts are very beneficial to most diets, but watch those calories. Too much of anything is typically not good for you.

Ester H. Marsh, Health and Fitness Director, JF Hurley Family YMCA

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