KHQ MD: Heart Healthy Nuts - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

KHQ MD: Heart Healthy Nuts

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Sandy Zobell is a registered dietetic technician who has worked at Deaconess Medical Center for 18 years. She is a nutrition educator who is part of a team of nutrition professionals responsible for the clinical nutrition care of patients. You hear so much about nuts being a good snack- what makes them heart healthy?

Sandy: Most nuts contain unsaturated fats – the good fats that help lower bad LDL cholesterol levels, Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids, fiber, vegetable protein and other heart healthy compounds called phytosterols and antioxidants.

 Are there some nuts that are more beneficial than others?

Sandy:  A variety of nuts are good when eaten as part of a balanced heart healthy diet – one rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low in saturated and trans fats.  Just remember, the heart health benefits are void if the nuts are covered in sugar, honey, chocolate or salt!

Are nuts full of calories? What kind of serving size are we talking about for a snack?

Sandy: YES! There are lots of calories in a small serving.  Nuts should be eaten in moderation.  A serving size is considered ~1 ½ oz = a small handful!  Remember, it is important to avoid eating too much of any fat or other sources of calories because of the potential for weight gain.

Why should we eat nuts instead of cheese crackers or potato chips?

Sandy: Nuts are a good choice to replace both animal products and processed hydrogenated foods, which are high in the bad saturated fats and trans fats related to heart health.

Do this as part of a heart healthy diet.  Just eating nuts and not cutting back on saturated fats found in meats and dairy products won't do your heart any good!

 

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