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Nuts About Nuts
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“Don’t eat nuts! They are full of fat!”

Have you ever heard anyone say that? Well, do you know what? They’re right! Nuts are high in fat. But before you go chucking that bag of peanuts out the window you should know something else. Most of the fat in nuts is actually healthy unsaturated fat, which your body needs. In fact, nuts have been shown to decrease LDL, the “bad cholesterol” that clogs up your arteries; reduce your risk of heart attacks; and even help you lose weight by making you feel full quicker so you eat less. Who could have guessed that something that tastes so good could be this good for you?

A few words of caution, though, before you start chowing down: up to one out of every 100 people is allergic to some form of nuts. Symptoms to look for are rashes, hoarseness, severe shortness of breath, and even loss of consciousness. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek help immediately! However, the majority of people can eat nuts without any problem.

Now here are some other fun “nutty” facts:

People who eat one to two ounces of nuts five times or more each week have more than 50 percent fewer heart attacks than people who don’t. Nut eaters have fewer strokes and are less likely to develop nasty diseases like diabetes, gallstones, and dementia.  

Brazil nuts may help prevent breast cancer.

A study of a group of nurses found that the ones who ate nuts were actually thinner than the ones who didn’t, in spite of nuts’ high fat content.

Nuts are a great source of good things like fiber, copper, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins. 

Dr. George Washington Carver developed more than 300 uses for the peanut, including paint, cheese, and soap.

Michelangelo used walnut oil as a drying agent when he painted the Sistine Chapel. 

Americans eat enough peanut butter to pave the Grand Canyon. 

Nuts are delicious in cookies, breads, salads, or over desserts. They also make great dinner loaves. 

It takes more than 300 pounds per square inch to break a macadamia nut shell, which is why these nuts are so expensive. 

Cutting down on empty carbs? Nuts are loaded with protein and are naturally low in carbohydrates. 

You knew President Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer, but I’ll bet you didn’t know Thomas Jefferson was too.

Peanuts are actually legumes (members of the bean family), not nuts.

Pecans were used by Native Americans as an important part of their diet.

Almonds are eaten by more people than any other tree nut.

People in ancient Rome used to throw almonds at weddings instead of rice. Can you say “Ouch!”?

So as you can see, it’s all right to be a “nut case.” Nuts are packed with nutrition, are fun to eat, and come in “easy to open” packages (except for macadamias, of course). So grab a handful today and go nuts about nuts!

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By Richard Edison, PA-C. Reprinted with permission from Listen, February 2007. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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