Learn about the different nut varieties and the benefits of nuts and how you can include it in a balanced diet.
A well-balanced diet should contain a wide variety of food from the different food groups in My Healthy Plate. Nuts belong to the Meat & Others food group because they are rich in protein. They also good sources of vitamins such as vitamin E and folate as well as minerals such as potassium, iron, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and selenium.
Nuts contain mainly unsaturated fats. These fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) help to improve heart health by reducing total and LDL ( bad ) cholesterol levels in the blood. In addition to the unsaturated fat content, it is likely that several other components in nuts such as fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals work together to improve heart health.
Although nuts contain healthy unsaturated fats, they are generally high in calories. Hence, it is important to eat nuts in moderation. A diet high in calories may lead to excessive calorie intake and increased risk of becoming overweight. It is also important to know that just eating nuts and not cutting back on foods that are high in saturated fats (e.g. animal fat, full-cream dairy products, deep-fried food and food prepared with palm-based vegetable oil) and trans-fat (e.g. pastries, cakes, cookies and deep-fried foods) won't do your heart any good.
You may include a small handful of nuts or a cup (40 g) a few times a week as part of a well-balanced diet. To maximize the health benefits of nuts, consume a variety of nuts as they contain different amount of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. For example, almonds are rich in vitamin E, while Brazil nuts are rich in selenium. Nuts can be enjoyed as a convenient snack in school or at work. It can also be added to salads, stir-fries, pasta and rice dishes.
Some nuts are deep-fried, contain added salt or sugar. Hence, look out for plain varieties or those with the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) when buying nuts. Nuts with the HCS have no added sugar and are lower in salt and fat.
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This article was last reviewed on
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
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