Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Healthy Girl Project: Let's Go Nuts!

Recently I've started adding raw nuts and seeds to my diet... admittedly, I wasn't super keen on consuming them in their raw form when I've grown up snacking on their tasty salted & roasted cousins! But knowing they were good for me (I'll explain in a sec!) I resolved to make myself eat a handful now and then... and amazingly within only a couple of days I started enjoying them. Heck, I'm craving them right now just writing about them!
So here's what I've been learning about nuts and seeds (the following info is from this website - visit it for a more detailed description):

- They're the NUMBER 1 source of plant protein!
- They are high in fat - but it's the good kind. While they can contribute to weight gain and should be carefully portion controlled if you're trying to lose weight, they're great for your heart. A study showed that people who consumed a serve of nuts just 5 times per week reduced their risk of heart disease by 35%! What!?
- They're an amazing source of energy (hence why you should be careful if you're trying to lose weight)
- They're filled with a whole bunch of minerals and even a couple of vitamins!

And check this out (from the same website):
"A study published in the April 2002 Journal of Nutrition had people replace half the fat in their daily diets with almonds for six weeks. Researchers found that the almond eaters’ bad cholesterol went down six percent, and good cholesterol went up six percent. In addition, blood fat dropped 14 percent." [source]

So what's a good portion size? According to a couple of websites I browsed through, a good daily serve is 1 ounce (30g) - I measured it out and it was a little less than a 1/4 cup. Nuts and seeds are super versatile - you can mix them through your muesli in the morning, snack on them at work, sprinkle them on a salad... get creative! The important thing to remember is that they're at their best in raw form.

I also found this site which has a list of nuts and seeds and an extensive look into each individual one... seriously each nut and seed has its very own page packed with information! Worth a look.

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