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As is with everything, moderation is key
The research and science regarding tree nuts have been both positive and negative. Most nuts belong to the tree nuts family, except the peanut which is classified as a legume. Although you will always find controversy regarding most foods (even the highly praised Kale leaves), more and more research shows that eating a healthy portion of nuts daily can reduce coronary heart disease risk factors.
As is with everything, moderation is key, and it is important to understand how to incorporate nuts into a balanced diet depending on your lifestyle. For most people, a healthy snack should consist of 150 – 200 calories. This amount equals to about 28 grammes of nuts. Tree nuts come in different shapes and sizes, but a good estimate is to make sure that you don't eat more than a small palm full of nuts. If you are following a strict eating plan and want to be more specific, 28 grammes of nuts will look as follows:
15 Pecan Nuts
12 Macadamia Nuts
18 Cashew Nuts
8 Brazil Nuts
These are just approximate measures so take the time at home to weigh out a portion of nuts and count how many will make a serving. Different nut brands will have different sized nuts, so get to know your preferred brand's portions by weighing it out the first time. Once you've done the weighing and initial counting – it will be easier to determine your portions in the future.
Dividing nuts into snack sized portions will help you to reap all the benefits and nutrition of nuts without risking unnecessary calories. In order to reap the most benefits, make sure to eat a different variety of tree nuts by switching it up on a daily or weekly basis. All tree nuts are a good source of protein, fibre, unsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals. Unsaturated fats are healthy fats that help to fight the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and increase the “good” cholesterol (HDL) and so although a 28 grams portion of nuts consists out of 80% - 90% fat, the fat is mostly in its healthy form and should form part of a healthy balanced diet.
Although these guidelines will help you to eat healthier and balanced portions of nuts, it is important to always seek the advice of a registered dietician if you are following a specific diet or struggling with your weight. Adjust the portions to your lifestyle and enjoy all the convenience and benefits that come with a handful of nuts!