During the ’90s, there was a massive “fat-free” and “low fat” movement in America. It changed the way people ate and companies produced (and marketed) foods. This trend pushed nuts and nut products out of the American diet for fear that they were too high in fat to include in a healthy diet.

However, nuts are excellent sources of protein, minerals (magnesium and copper), “good” monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, folic acid, fiber. They even have naturally occurring cholesterol-lowering compounds called plant sterols and are therefore good for the heart.

Healthy Amino Acids in Nuts

Nuts contain an amino acid arginine, which may help to lower elevated blood pressure levels. Certain nuts like pecans, walnuts, and almonds contain tryptophan, an amino acid that stimulates the production of serotonin in the brain, which can improve depression and promote relaxation.

How to Add Nuts to Your Diet

  • Top oatmeal or cereal with nuts.
  • Sprinkle almonds on top of yogurt.
  • Use nuts to replace croutons in salads or soups.
  • Sprinkle pine nuts on pasta.
  • Add slivered almonds to chicken salad.
  • Add nuts to quick bread such as pancakes, waffles, or muffins.

While nuts are calorically dense and easy to overeat, they are also a satisfying snack. Some suggest that people trying to lose weight who eat nuts tend to be more compliant with their diets because the fat and fiber content of nuts makes them very filling.

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