Nuts have that rare quality of being both good for you and tasting great. While different kinds of nuts have different flavors, different nutrition profiles, varying levels and types of fats, and different benefits, nuts in general provide a good source of protein, healthy fats, and make a nice addition to breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, and snacks. They pair nicely with fruits, hot cereals, fish, beef, chicken, salads, pasta, and even ice cream. Not to mention, they are great on their own. Almonds, cashews, pistachio, macadamia, hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts (technically a legume), Brazil, pecans, and pine nuts are common types, though certainly not an exhaustive list.
While each type of nut has its specific benefits, nuts as a group are known to be cholesterol free, high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, a good source of fiber, vitamin E, folic acid, and antioxidant phytochemicals. Despite being high in calories and fat, these components give nuts their heart healthy label. As part of a heart healthy diet, nuts have been credited with reducing the risk of heart disease, helping reduce LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol levels, raising HDL (or “good”) cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of blood clots, and helping to improve the lining of arteries. The fat and fiber in nuts can help lead to feeling fuller for longer, which is good for those trying to lose weight.
But, all this goodness comes at a price. The slightly salty taste and crunchy texture can lead to overeating nuts. While nuts are good for you, they are high in calories, and should be consumed in moderate amounts. One way to prevent overeating is to portion out the nuts and put the container away before partaking. You can also get the benefits of nuts by eating them in smaller amounts with other foods. One caveat is that those bariatric patients who have had adjustable gastric band surgery should avoid eating nuts in order to prevent them from getting stuck in the newly created stomach opening.
We list our favorite ways to consume nuts:
- Use crushed or slivered nuts in oatmeal (or other hot cereals) or with cold cereal
- Sprinkled on top of greek yogurt
- To replace croutons in a green salad
- Mixed in popcorn as a snack
- Add to breads, waffles, muffins, or pancakes
- Crush and sprinkle on top of sliced banana or apple
- Make your own peanut, almond, or cashew nut butters
- As a base for pesto
- Crush and use as a crust for fish
- Tossed into a chicken stir fry
- Added to a dish of quinoa
The above is offered by Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a board certified surgeon specializing in laparoscopic and bariatric surgery, including gastric sleeve, gastric band, and adjustable lap band surgery. Dr. Shillingford’s Boca Raton, Florida office serves bariatric patients from all over Florida including Delray Beach, Miami, Miami Beach, Palm Beach, Wellington, and Hollywood. Gastric sleeve and gastric bypass patients may find that including nuts in their diet can provide them with key nutrients to stay healthy and help them to feel satisfied.