Nuts In My Mouth

I have always been terrified of eating nuts. I have been scared for good reason. I love those salty nuts in my mouth; They taste SO good!

I know nuts are fattening (they can roll in at as much as 80% fat) and have a lot of calories regardless of the fact that the fat contained in nuts is healthy. They must be eaten in moderation, ideally as a substitute for saturated fats (in meats, eggs, and dairy products). A handful of nuts a day may be enough to reduce your risk of heart disease (well, as long as you are eating them as a part of a heart-healthy have to cut back on your sat. fats, too.)

What kinds of nuts should you eat? Most nuts are healthy, but some are definately better choices than others. Top nuts (he he): Almonds, Macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, and pecans. Just remember - you kinda cut out the health benefits if you cover them with chocolate, sugar, or salt. You can also experiment with nut oils. They are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E, but lack the fiber found in whole nuts. I have used nut oils in homeade salad dressing and in cooking. Be careful cooking them...they are different that veggie oils and get bitter if overheated. Oh...And don't forget...MODERATION.

If you can control how many you eat (fatty little stinkers that like to ruin my diet), nuts are good for your heart. They lower your cholesterol when eaten as a part of a balanced diet.

Not only are they good for you, but they are ubber convenient. They are pretty inexpensive, easy to store, and easy to pack around.

So, why are they good for your heart? Nuts loser low-density lipoprotein levels in the blood. LDL's are the BAD Cholesterol in your blood. High LDL is one of the primary causes of hear disease. Nuts also reduce your risk of developing blood clots that could cause a fatal heart attack.

The goodies in nuts that are heart healthy:

Unsaturated fats - these "good" fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) lower LDL's (the bad guys)

Omega-3 fatty acids - these are a healthy form of fatty acids that help your heart by preventing dangerous heart rhythms. They are also found in fish, but nuts are one of the top plant sources.

L-arginine - This is a substance that is thought to improve the health of your artery walls by making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots.

Fiber - Fiber lowers cholesterol. It also makes you feel full and eat less later. They say that fiber also helps prevent diabetes! Fiber rocks....the more I find out about fiber, the more I like it (and the more regular I become).

Vitamin E - This may stop the development of plaques on your arteries.

Plant sterols - These also lower cholesterols (geez nuts, when does it end?). While plant sterols are often added to foods (like margarine and OJ to increase health benefits), they are found naturally in nuts.

Great nut resources:
Go Nuts Go Healthy - great resource. It tells you about nuts, how to choose and prepare them, nutritional info, and gives you a few recipes.

Top 6 Healthiest Nuts

Healthy Nuts - had to add this because it is an article in Men's Journal and that just cracked me up. It gives some good info on how to add nuts to your diet...not on how to keep your nuts healthy...sorry boys

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    My Diary

    It is always suggested to log your progress in a diary when you are trying to lose weight. This is my version of a log of my progress on my goal. I thought a public log would motivate me more and help me find support. This project is not about losing weight (although I suspect and hope that weight loss will be a side effect). It is about living life the way I have always wanted to: Healthy, Active, and Happy!

The Goal

I realized while talking to my uncle John that I am living someone else's life. That changes today. The next 365 days will be devoted to becoming myself again.

The Goals:

Decrease my overall ecological footprint.

Focus on healthy nutrition and eating habits.

Eat locally and in season.

Only eat meat when necessary in social situations. Fish is still on the ok list.

Exercise daily.

Take care of myself; I am important!

No more complacency. It doesn't start tommorrow; it starts right now.