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The Healthiest Nuts

Health Nuts: Ranking Nuts

Here’s our list of favorite nuts, ranked by their nutrient density. These varieties contain the most protein, fiber, B-vitamins, calcium, minerals, and vitamin E for the least amount of saturated fat:

  1. Almonds
  2. Filberts (hazelnuts)
  3. Peanuts
  4. Chestnuts
  5. Pistachios
  6. Walnuts
  7. Cashews
  8. Pecans
  9. Macadamias

Almonds. Our “Top Nut” award goes to the almond. Here are the main nutrients in one ounce of almonds (a medium-size handful):

  • 166 calories
  • 5 grams of protein
  • 14 grams of fat (90 percent unsaturated)
  • 4 grams of fiber (the highest fiber content of any nut or seed), unblanched
  • 80 milligrams of calcium
  • 1.4 milligrams of zinc
  • 1 milligram of iron
  • 6.7 milligrams of vitamin E
  • some B-vitamins, minerals, and selenium

Filberts, (hazelnuts) because they are high in the amino acid tryptophan, are a good nut for sleep. Almonds and filberts have the most vitamin E (6.7 milligrams per ounce) – nearly 25 percent of the adult recommended dietary allowance.

NUTRITIP
Sleep Nuts } Eating a small handful of nuts as a before-bedtime snack may help you catch more Z’s. Some nuts and seeds, especially whole filberts and ground sesame seeds, have a high amount of the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan.

Walnuts have the greatest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids.

Chestnuts are lowest in fat, containing only about 10 percent as much fat as other nuts. What little fat is in the chestnut (1.3 grams per ounce) is nearly all the unsaturated type. Chestnuts also contain three grams of fiber per ounce, but they are relatively low in protein.

Soybean nuts and peanuts are not really nuts at all. They are legumes, and they come from plants rather than trees. Both are very nutritious. Soybean nuts, while less popular because of their less appealing taste, are actually the most nutritious nut. A quarter cup of soybean nuts contains a similar number of calories to other nuts, yet packs the following nutrients:

  • 17 grams of protein
  • 9 grams of fat (90 percent unsaturated)
  • 3.5 grams of fiber
  • 138 milligrams of folic acid (33 percent of the DV)
  • 116 milligrams of calcium (10 percent of the DV)
  • 2 milligrams of zinc (around 15 percent of the DV)
  • 1.7 milligrams of iron (10 percent of the DV)
  • 19 micrograms of selenium

When purchasing soybean nuts, avoid those that are roasted in “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils.

almonds

The Five Healthiest Nuts

By  Julie O’Hara

PISTACHIOS
1 OZ./49 NUTS
158 calories, 13 g fat 3 g fiber
Pistachios are high in cholesterol-lowering plant sterols and have more potassium than most nuts (291 mg per ounce).

ALMONDS
1 OZ./23 NUTS
163 calories, 14 g fat, 4 g fiber
One ounce provides half your daily vitamin E—more than any other nut. It also supplies 8 percent of your daily calcium needs.

HAZELNUTS
1 OZ./21 NUTS
178 calories, 17 g fat, 3 g fiber
These are rich in iron and proanthocyanidins, antioxidants that strengthen blood vessels and prevent UTIs.

WALNUTS
1 OZ./14 HALVES
185 calories, 18 g fat, 2 g fiber
Walnuts deliver the most omega-3 fatty acids and contain the antioxidant ellagic acid, which supports the immune system.

BRAZIL NUTS
1 OZ./6 NUTS
186 calories, 19 g fat, 2 g fiber
A single Brazil nut provides your daily dose of selenium, an antioxidant that may play a role in preventing breast cancer.

source: www.shape.com
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Could Dark Chocolate Ease Poor Leg Circulation?

Perhaps, but experts say there are better ways to obtain beneficial polyphenols

WebMD News from HealthDay     By Dennis Thompson     HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) – The antioxidants contained in dark chocolate might help people suffering from reduced blood flow to their legs, researchers from Italy report.

In a small study, people with artery problems in their legs walked a little longer and farther right after eating a bar of dark chocolate, the researchers said.

Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols. The researchers believe polyphenols improve blood flow to the legs by affecting biochemicals that prompt arteries to widen.

“Our body secretes chemicals that naturally dilate blood vessels in response to certain stimuli, improving the blood flow to certain areas,” said Dr. Richard Chazal, vice president of the American College of Cardiology. “Some of the chemicals inside dark chocolate could affect the way these enzymes are metabolized in the body,” suggested Chazal, who was not involved with the study.

The pilot study involved 20 people aged 60 to 78 who suffered from peripheral artery disease, a narrowing of the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the legs, stomach, arms and head. Reduced blood flow can cause pain, cramping or fatigue in the legs or hips while walking.

The patients walked on a treadmill in the morning and again two hours after eating 40 grams of dark or milk chocolate – the size of an average American chocolate bar – on separate days. The dark chocolate in the study had a cocoa content of more than 85 percent, making it rich in polyphenols. The milk chocolate, with a cocoa content below 30 percent, had far fewer polyphenols, the study authors noted.

After eating dark chocolate, patients walked an average 11 percent farther and 15 percent longer than they did earlier in the day. That’s about 39 feet farther and about 17 seconds longer, according to the study, published July 2 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Milk chocolate did not improve time or distance, according to study co-author Dr. Lorenzo Loffredo, assistant professor at the Sapienza University of Rome, and colleagues.

The researchers found that levels of nitric oxide, a gas linked to improved blood flow, were higher after eating dark chocolate. They suggested that the higher nitric oxide levels may be responsible for widening peripheral arteries and improving the patients’ ability to walk.

Both the results and the theory are “intriguing,” said Dr. Mark Creager, director of the Vascular Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

“The results are certainly interesting but modest, in terms of the walking distance improved,” said Creager, who also serves as a spokesman for the American Heart Association. “With information such as this, one would anticipate these investigators will conduct a much larger trial with long-term treatment to confirm their observations.”

Creager and Chazal noted that chocolate is also high in fat and sugar, and eating too much can contribute to health problems such as obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol.

“People need to be very aware of the fact that there are many substances in chocolate bars that could have an adverse effect on health,” Creager said. “I would not recommend that people eat chocolate bars to improve their walking distance.”

Chazal agreed, saying the study’s true value lies in identifying the way that polyphenols might affect blood flow to the legs.

Polyphenols also can be found in foods with less added sugar and saturated fats, such as cloves, dried peppermint, celery seed, capers and hazelnuts.

“All of us can get very excited about studies like this, but we have to be very cautious in interpreting it in terms of treatment,” Chazal said. “At this point in time, I wouldn’t consider dark chocolate to be something people should be taking large amounts of as a therapeutic agent. It’s possible that moderate amounts might be helpful, but we need confirmation.”