Eating Healthy: the Basics

1. What is a healthy breakfast?
2. What is a healthy lunch?
3. What is a healthy dinner?
4. How much should I weigh?
5. How many calories should I be eating?
6. What is the best way to lose weight?
7. How can I keep my weight loss goal in mind and stay motivated?
8. What is a healthy weekly weight loss?
9. How to set weight loss goals and make them happen
10. How to keep a food diary, and why it is essential to successful weight loss
11. Are all fats bad for you?
12. Are saturated fats bad for you?
13. Are unsaturated fats good for you?
14. Are carbohydrates bad for you?
15. Is fiber good for you?
16. How to read nutrition/food labels
17. How to plan your weekly menus
18. Why should I eat less salt?
19. What do the sodium (salt) numbers mean on food labels?
20. What is The Mediterranean Diet?
21. Why eating vegetables is good for you
22. Why eating fruit and nuts is good for you
23. Why are cereals and whole grains good for you?
24. What are legumes, and why are they good for you?
25. Why is eating fish good for you?
26. Which fats and oils are good for you?
27. Are dairy products good for you?
28. Which meats should I not eat?
29. Is drinking alcohol good for you?
30. Is it important to measure your ingredients?
31. Are snacks good for you?
32. How to choose the right portion size
33. Can you lose weight with a smaller plate?
34. Eat healthier by cleaning out your pantry
35. Which oils and fats should I keep in my pantry?
35. Which oils and fats are good for you - and when should I use them?
36. Which carbohydrates are good for you?
37. What is the best chicken or turkey for you?
38. Are dairy products good for you?
39. Which nuts and seeds should I eat?
40. Is red meat like beef or pork bad or good for you?
41. Is eating dessert good or bad for you?
42. Is drinking soda bad for you?
43. Is drinking coffee bad for you?
44. How can healthy food taste good? Part 1
45. How can healthy food taste good? Part 2
46. How to eat healthy while eating out
47. Are vitamins and supplements necessary to eat healthy?
48. How to eat healthy while traveling


Eating Healthy: the Basics

Which nuts and seeds should I eat?

We know now that nuts and seeds are really good for you. One important study shows that nuts added to a Mediterranean Diet made a huge difference in developing metabolic syndrome (Arch Intern Med 2008:168;2449-2458). Do keep in mind that nuts are considered fats and are higher in calories. Even so, the types of fat are so much better for you, since most are low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fats.

In another study of folks already on a Mediterranean diet, those who added walnuts to their diet had an additional 4% decrease in total cholesterol. In another, those who ate 3 ounces of almonds per day for 9 weeks had as much as a 10% drop in cholesterol. To make it even better, nuts and seeds are chock full of antioxidants and Vitamin E as well as magnesium, copper, plant sterols, protein and fiber.

While a lot of the studies are funded by industry groups, like the California Walnut Commission, much of it is excellent research and the conclusions are pretty compelling. There may be some possibility that almonds are better than walnuts and walnuts are better than cashews or peanuts, but I don't believe that we have as much information about this as we need to. Eat what you like. Raw may be better than roasted, and certainly eating your nuts unsalted is likely to be better for you.

One important thing for those with diverticulosis. It may be that you have been told to avoid eating nuts and seeds in the past to prevent a flare of diverticulitis. Thank goodness this has now been disproven. In fact, those with diverticulitis who ate more than two servings of nuts a week had about the same or slightly lower risk of problems than those who ate less than one serving per month. (This includes popcorn, corn and the tiny seeds from strawberries and blueberries.)

But... if you like dry roasted salted peanuts, I'm fine with that. You're definitely better off eating salted nuts than eating Doritos or Wheat Thins. The nuts have a few more calories in an ounce (170 for the nuts compared to 140 for the Doritos), but they have about half the salt (85 mg for the nuts and 180 mg for the Doritos).

Peanut butter is a fantastic choice in your diet and I especially love the fresh ground that you can purchase in some stores. If you purchase peanut butter in jars, look for the ones with the fewest ingredients. I always keep some on hand for making sauces and such.

I do have a lot of nuts also and keep them sealed in ziplock bags. I keep at least the following on hand:

Almonds (whole, slivered and sliced)
Sesame seeds (white and black)
Poppy seeds
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds

I buy nuts at the health food store, where I can purchase them raw and get only a handful or so at a time so that they don't go bad (they will last about 2 months sealed in plastic).