Hungry for a snack? Go “nuts”

almondsIt’s 3 o’clock at work. You’re tired, you’re hungry and you’re about five seconds away from seeking out the leftover pastries from the morning breakfast meeting.

What should you do? Reach for a handful of nuts or a tablespoon or two of all-natural nut butter.

A serving of nuts provides protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and other disease fighting substances.

People who eat nuts regularly report feeling fuller and eating less throughout the day. Research has shown that eating a portion of nuts (specifically peanuts, pistachios or almonds) every day might aid in weight loss, especially when eaten in place of refined carbohydrates, like pretzels. Nuts have also been linked to improved heart health and decreased risk of various chronic diseases, such as cancer and diabetes.

Of course nuts are tough to digest so they’re not always appropriate for someone with active IBD, stricturing Crohn’s, abdominal pain, diarrhea or bloating. Chewing nuts fully can improve tolerance, but creamy all-natural peanut or nut butter might be a better choice under these circumstances because it’s soft and easier to digest.

Which nuts are best? The good news is that all nuts offer different health benefits so it’s a good idea to eat a variety of raw or dry roasted nuts or all-natural nut butters. Steer clear of ones roasted in honey or oil. And watch the portion size because the calories will add up and may lead to unwelcomed weight gain.

Check out these popular nuts:

Nut Comments
Walnuts Excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid, a plant-based essential omega-3 fat known to reduce inflammation
 Peanuts Technically a legume, peanuts contain the highest protein content of any nut (1 oz. provides 7 grams of protein)
 Cashews Excellent source of magnesium, which is important for heart, bone, muscle, and neurological health
 Pistachios Contain phytosterols, which are plant compounds that help lower LDL (lousy) cholesterol
 Almonds Very rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect the body from stress

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