The old saying, “Everything in moderation,” is true of most things we eat or drink. Dark chocolate, when consumed in very small amounts, is believed to lower blood pressure; however, chocolate consumed in excess leads to weight gain and an increase in blood sugar levels. Chocolate also contains high levels of naturally occurring amines, which can trigger migraines, and it has been linked to heartburn and lower bone density.
Nuts are no exception to the rule. In moderation, nuts can be very healthy. They’re packed with protein that helps your body measure out a reasonable amount of energy throughout the day without the inconsistency and crashes that come with carbohydrates. Some nuts, like walnuts, contain Omega 3 fatty acids, which can lower your bad (LDL) cholesterol and keep your arteries elastic. Other nuts, like almonds, contain vitamin E and calcium, which can help reduce your risk of cancer and osteoporosis. Brazil nuts and macadamia nuts contain fiber, but have a much higher fat content. In moderation, each of these nuts is healthy.
When you eat too many nuts, you end up consuming too many calories and too much fat. This can cause weight gain, the side effects of which quickly counteract many of the positive health benefits that nuts have.
So, if you want to enjoy a serving of nuts, how many nuts would you eat? A serving of nuts is about 1 ounce. or put another way:
- 32 peanuts
- 24 almonds
- 15 pecan halves
- 18 cashews,
- 12 hazelnuts,
- 8 Brazil nuts,
- 12 macadamia nuts,
While it may sound difficult to stop at just 32 peanuts, keeping in mind that an ounce of peanuts is about 165 calories might make it easier to limit yourself. Macadamias, pecans, and Brazil nuts pack even more of a wallop with close to 200 calories per ounce.
If you enjoy the taste of nuts but want to spare yourself the added calories, sprinkle a teaspoon of crushed nuts onto you salad. That will add about 30 calories to your meal.