Going nuts for weight management

Donovan GRANT

Monday, May 20, 2019

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Many people sell the notion that nuts are very healthy and should be an addition to the regular diet. However, I've noted that they seem to have a lot of fat in them. Won't eating high-fat foods like nuts make it more difficult to lose weight?

I'm seeking healthy snack options as I try to keep fit for the rest of the year. Right now I have pretty balanced meals, and I snack on almonds a lot. What other kinds of nuts can I include in my diet?

Nuts are generally considered among the healthiest foods we can eat. They are packed with antioxidants, fibre, proteins, vitamins and minerals — including vitamin E, potassium and magnesium.

In addition, nuts are abundant in polysaturated and monosaturated fats, which help to lower bad cholesterol.

Nuts may play a significant role in reducing the risk of cancer, promoting better heart health, and in weight management. It should be noted that nuts are generally low in carbohydrates. Additionally, the protein and fat present in nuts may help to keep the blood glucose level controlled and therefore help with appetite control.

That said, nuts are very high in fats and tend to be calorie-dense. This means that a small amount of nuts can produce a large amount of calories. For example, a quarter cup of macadamia nuts can provide 240 calories, while a quarter cup of cashew nuts can pack in about 200 calories.

Although nuts are healthy and should be added to our diet, it is also important to control the portion of nuts that we consume because nuts are very high in calories.

However, it should be noted that choosing raw or dry-roasted nuts compared to oil-roasted nuts may help to reduce the calorie intake from nuts. That said, nuts are good food, but they have the ability to go “bad” if too much is consumed.

If individuals are already consuming a high-calorie diet and nuts are added, there is always the potential for weight gain. It is very important to use food as a tool to achieve your goals. So if you are already fat, no need to over consume nuts.

However, for people who are underweight, adding a fair amount of nuts to your diet could be helpful as far as weight gain is concerned.

In your case, you just want to keep fit. Therefore, you could try sprinkling some nuts on your salads, cereal or yoghurt. In addition, crushed nuts make a tasty topping on meats and other foods. It should be pointed out that if you just want to eat nuts alone, then you should stick to a quarter cup or a small handful.

Also, I see where you are snacking on almonds. Other nuts such as walnut and cashew nuts can be added to your diet.

Walnuts have a significant amount of essential omega-3 fatty acids compared to other nuts.

Omega-3 fatty acids are very important to the skin and also prevent inflammation. Additionally, walnuts also contain the greatest amount of antioxidants of any nuts and have only about 160 calories per quarter cup.

Cashew is also a good nut to add to your diet. This nut is very high in iron, zinc and magnesium — which are important in building blood, boosting the immune system, and improving memory.

I must tell you that there are other snacks outside of nuts that could be added to your diet. These include yoghurt, fruits, vegetables, and vegetable juices.

Good luck!

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com.

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