Nuts–and butters made from them–are a healthy way to get a big protein boost. Eating nuts as part of a heart healthy meal plan has been shown to lower obesity and heart disease risk. A recent study released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that many Americans are not eating the suggested 1.5 ounces of nuts or nut butters each day. Because of this, many Americans may be missing out on the heart healthy benefits of nuts.
The nutrition in nuts
Just 1.5 ounces of nuts can give you between 3 and 10 grams of protein, at about 240 calories per serving. In addition, nuts, seeds, and nut butters have heart healthy unsaturated fats that have been known to lower cholesterol levels.
The recent research
About two-thirds of Americans are not consuming the suggested 1.5 ounces of nut or nut butters each day, according to a NCHS Data Brief by the CDC. More recent findings from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) found that less than two-tenths of Americans have the suggested 1.5 ounces of nuts and nut butters each day.
How can I add more nuts to my heart healthy meal plan?
Nuts and nut butters are a delicious way to add protein to your meals and keep yourself feeling full. There are so many different types of nuts and nut butters. You can find the flavors you like best to add it to many of your meals and snacks.
- Snack on nuts: From almonds to pistachios to walnuts, nuts can be a great crunchy snack in between meals, or can be chopped and sprinkled over salads.
- Thicken smoothies with creamy nut butter: Peanut butter, hazelnut butter, and almond butter are just a few examples of nut butters you can add to your fruit and vegetable smoothies. One tablespoon of nut butter is just 100 calories.
- Dice nuts to create a crust: Walnuts or pecans can be used instead of flour and breadcrumbs in meat or pie recipes. Not only do diced nuts provide a punch of protein to your meals, they also add a nutty flavor that can enhance your recipes.
- Create savory and sweet sauces with nut butters: Instead of adding a lot of sugar and salt to sauces for flavor, add a tablespoon or two of nut butter. This adds a creamy texture and protein-packed flavor to sauces for meats, veggies, and desserts