Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nuts: Protein Helps Quell Hunger Pangs and are Good for You!

I love almonds!

I don't mean this theory is nuts - just that nuts contain the proteins and other healthy things to calm down food cravings, while being good for you at the same time.

I did a posting on what I have for breakfast a few weeks back - in the colder months I like to have hot oatmeal (even the skim milk is hot).  And while a hardy bowl of cold or hot cereal is a good way to start the day, I have a handful of almonds or peanuts after my workout each morning.  Without this protein, I don't think the bowl of cereal would carry me through the morning and early afternoon.

Almond joy

Protein comes from the Greek word protos meaning "first." Your body uses proteins in your diet to build new cells, maintain tissues, and sythesize new proteins to help your body perform basic functions.  That handful of almonds, or peanuts, or whatever your favorite may be (pistachios anyone?) is good for you and, at least in my case, helps me feel full and satisfied.  After all, I tend to go for salads and soup for lunch.  Usually I have a vegetable soup like split pea or tomato basil.  Without the dose of protein I would crash and burn by 4 PM.

Speaking of soup - Lentil Soup is also an excellent source of protein.

Besides helping you feel sated, nuts are good for you.  Almonds are low in saturated fat and contain my other protective nutrients - calcum and magnesium - for strong bones, vitamin E and may help protect against cardiovacular disease and even cancer.  There is reduced heart attack risk when you have nuts five times a week accord to a Loma Linda School of Public Health study.  They help lower cholesterol and can have the anti-inflammatory agent found in red wines.  The fat in nuts is unsturated, or the "good" fat and there is no cholesterol in these fats.

As you know, I avoid fats at all costs.  But all fats are not created equal.  The American Heart Association rescently eased up on its recommendation that no more than 30 percent of our calories come from fat.  They now say addtional fat is OK, so long as it's unsaturated - like the good fat found in almonds.

I do try to restrict my almond and other nut intake to about a handful or so every day.  Try some after your breakfast tomorrow and see if you notice less of an appetite, and less of a desire to snack before lunch.  Or if you crash and burn at 4 PM, try nuts with some raisins instead of cookies or candy to go with your coffee.

So, while some of my gentle readers may consider me nuts - there's nothing nutty about the benefits of almonds!

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