Engulfed in holiday frenzy you might have missed the headline that walnuts have fewer calories per serving than previously thought.
Calorie guides state that an ounce of walnuts contains 185 calories. Findings from real-life consumption and excretion research reveal that only about 146 calories are absorbed. Similar research in 2012 showed that an ounce of almonds had about 130 calories instead of the published 160 calories.
These facts demonstrate that our understanding of nutrition continues to evolve. And if this makes someone feel more comfortable eating super nutritious tree nuts, well that’s a good thing. Walnuts and almonds are filled with nutrients.
I usually recommend a variety of nuts. All nuts have protein, fiber and good fats. Walnuts are very high in omega 3 fatty acids as well as copper, manganese, and molybdenum. Almonds are loaded with vitamin E and biotin and pistachios are the only nut with eye-support nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin. And one Brazil nut provides the recommended daily amount of selenium.
Many studies have found that nut consumption is linked to a lower risk for heart disease. Other findings include less weight gain and lower risk for developing Type 2 diabetes among nut consumers. All this goodness in 130 calories is a bargain.
I recommend nuts to nearly all of my patients. If the nuts are for a snack, I suggest carrying a small container that holds an ounce portion. Enjoy them mindfully by eating one at a time. The culinary uses for nuts are endless. It might be a generalization but it is true — nuts make most every dish taste better. Two of my favorite sites for nut recipes and information are www.walnuts.org where you can download a free eBook of Mollie Katzen walnut recipes and www.almonds.com
Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Follow her on Twitter @sheahrarback.