Do you consider a handful of mixed nuts a guilty pleasure? Are you afraid to give your kids peanut butter?
More and more research is showing that it can be good to go nuts.
While they used to be disparaged as a fattening food, Richard D. Mattes of Purdue University and his co-authors found that adults who eat nuts weigh less than nut avoiders. And children who ate peanuts usually had a lower body mass index than those who did not. According to the Mayo Clinic, nuts can lower the low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol level in the blood. High LDL is one of the primary causes of heart disease. Eating nuts may also reduce your risk of developing blood clots that can cause a fatal heart attack.
Concerns about nut allergies have grown in recent years, but according to Dr. Christina Ciaccio, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the food allergy program at the University of Chicago, recommendations are changing and doctors are encouraging earlier introduction of nuts to children’s diets. She states, “nuts are good, healthy, inexpensive protein. We recommend early introduction of smooth peanut products for prevention of peanut allergy.”
The Harvard School of Public Health reminds us of an important caveat: putting more nuts in your diet won’t do you much good if you eat them along with your other usual snacks. To reap the benefits, you will need to cut back on chips and enjoy small portions of nuts. You want to tip the scales away from heart disease, not toward it.