7 Ways to Go Nuts

Simple ways to incorporate almonds, walnuts and other heart-healthy nuts into your diet

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Improve your health with nuts
There are so many great reasons to go nuts!

They’re good for your heart and brain, and a great source of healthy fats, protein, fiber and minerals. Remind us again why you aren’t eating more nuts?

If all that isn’t enough, how about this: Scientists found that eating nuts is associated with a lower risk of death from cancer, heart disease and all other causes, according to of multiple studies incorporating more than 350,000 participants. And you don’t have to, well, go nuts; eating just one serving a week resulted in a 4% lower risk of death.

If “But they’re fattening!” is the reason you’ve sworn off these crunchy super foods, think again: Studies show that regular nut eaters have lower instances of obesity. Why? They’re filling, for sure; and scientists also suspect that nuts may suppress the desire to eat (You know that feeling that you’re full but you still want dessert? That’s desire, not hunger).

So which nuts should you eat? They’re all good, so choose the ones you like best (even better, eat a variety). Almonds offer some calcium, walnuts are rich in antioxidants and omega-3s, cashews have iron and zinc, hazelnuts bring the folate, macadamias are high in magnesium and potassium. An ounce a day (or 2 tablespoons of nut butter) is plenty to reap the benefits.

Nuts make a great snack on their own, of course—and here are some other tasty ways to add them to your diet:

1. Wake up your oatmeal. Add crunch to your morning bowl. Try walnuts + raisins + cinnamon, or dried cherries + pistachios + a splash of vanilla, or toasted pecans + chopped apple + apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice. The added protein, fiber and fat will keep you sated longer than oats alone.

2. Grab some granola or muesli. Prefer a cooler breakfast? Find a great brand of nutty granola (here’s one we like), or make your own.

3. Bulk up a smoothie. Instead of sketchy protein powder, blend a tablespoon or two of wholesome nuts or nut butter into your fave smoothie.

4. Snack smart. Nuts (or nut butter) and fruit are a classic combo for good reason. Spread almond butter on apple or pear slices, or go tropical and pair a small banana with a few macadamias.

5. Add crunch to salad. Instead of greasy croutons, sprinkle toasted nuts on top of your greens. Do it right before serving, after your salad is dressed, to keep them crunchy. (Try this one, which is simple enough for a weeknight but dressed-up enough for a dinner party.)

6. Healthify “creamy” soup. Add some nuts (cashews work especially well because of their creamy texture) when simmering butternut squash, carrots or other vegetables for soup. When you blend it, the soup will turn lusciously creamy, without any actual cream.

7. Sweeten up your day. Craving a treat? These wholesome “brownie bites” are no-bake, so they’re ready in minutes. (Freeze extras for future chocolate “emergencies.”) Or simply pair a few squares of dark chocolate with a small handful of nuts.

Handle with care:
Because nuts are loaded with oils, they can turn rancid easily. Here are some tips for shopping for and storing them.

  • Get what you need. Nuts can be pricey, so be careful to buy just what you need.
  • Buy fresh. Bulk bins are a great place to buy nuts, as long as you know the store replenishes a lot. Whole nuts will stay fresh longer than chopped, sliced or slivered.
  • Stay cool. Put nuts into airtight containers and store in the fridge (up to six months) or freezer (up to nine months).