In today’s Motivational Monday, I reintroduce a healthy snacking favorite of mine that people sometimes grow to avoid because of their high caloric value: nuts! Specifically I talk about almonds and walnuts – two delicious varieties that pack a mean nutritional punch while at the same time, satisfying hunger cravings and providing sustained energy. I recommend avoiding peanuts which have far less of the nutritional values I describe below and are also a common allergen.
Although almonds are indeed high in fat, the fats they contain are monounsaturated, which is the beneficial type. Monounsaturated fats are great for lowering total cholesterol and raising good cholesterol. All good news for your heart and cardiovascular system. Eating almonds regularly, and in moderation, can actually lower your risk of heart disease. Almonds also contain a phytonutrient called Laetrile, which can help prevent cancer.
I always advocate buying organic, raw and unsalted nuts. When nuts are roasted, the cooked oils in them become rancid quickly and not only does this change the flavor of the nut, but it also makes them carcinogenic, which is bad for the body as a whole. As for the salt, any steps we can take to avoid added salt where possible are in the right direction.
Walnuts are one of natures few, great sources of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which have been shown to promote healthy brain function, help alleviate symptoms of mood disorders and depression, improve circulation and prevent inflammation throughout the body!
Start adding a handful of nuts to your daily food intake and reap their many benefits. Plan in advance to have some on hand at work or in your bag while around town, so that you can avoid snacking on high-sugar foods or foods high in empty carbohydrates. To help from over-eating on nuts (which is admittedly easy), I suggest adhering to a ’10-minute’ rule. Make a commitment to wait 10 minutes before returning to the jar for more, and you’ll likely find you do not want any more than the initial small handful. Nuts are quite filling, despite being so small in size. Not to mention that their high protein content will keep you feeling full for longer than any candy-bar ever will.
If nuts don’t already have a place in your snack-cabinet, I hope these benefits will encourage you to include them!