3 Healthy Nut Mixes You Should Try
Researchers have been showing the health benefits of nuts for more than a decade. According to the American Society for Nutrition, people who consumed one serving of nuts each day decreased their risk of dying by any cause by 27%. That's almost a one-third reduction in the risk of dying! These individuals also had lower body mass index (BMI) and typically were non-smokers.
What is One Serving of Nuts?
Calories do matter - so count those nuts. A serving of nuts is approximately 1-2 oz. Or about 15 almonds. Go ahead - count them, because calories do count when it comes to healthy nut mixes. Nuts (with the exception of coconuts) typically are rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, which are heart-healthy and can help protect against aging. Other nut-like snacks include sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds - which boast a different set of nutrients like fiber, lecithin, and vitamin E.
Pistachios have the highest strongest effect on reducing blood pressure, and walnuts - at the top of the list of most widely consumed commercially grown tree nuts in the world, and are rich in heart healthy and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
More Nutty Science
Most nuts, for example -pistachios-contain plant sterols, which can help reduce the amount of cholesterol that you absorb from meals. They also contain eye-protecting and cataract-risk reducing plant chemicals lutein + zeaxanthin, ensuring your vision stays true for years to come.
Choline is in the b-vitamin family, and can help protect against the development of fatty liver disease. Sunflower seeds are rich in choline, which can also help direct fat within cells to the right places.
Most nuts can be 'sprouted' - which doesn't mean you wait for the seed to grow a small leafy-green sprout. Instead you simply 'soak' the nuts in water, which helps make the nuts easier to digest. This works well for hazelnuts, and any other 'dry' nut like almonds and pecans.
To sprout almonds, for example, simply add 1 cup of raw, unsalted almonds to jar, and fill the jar with 2 cups of water. Cover with a cloth to keep out dust particles. Soak for 12 hours at room temperature, and then rinse and change the water, and soak for another 12 hours. The almonds will swell as they absorb water, and they taste a bit sweeter. You can keep sprouted almonds in the fridge for a few days, or use them to make your own 'nut milk' by blending them in a food processor with a little additional water.
If you want to get the most nutrients for your calories, try making a few different healthy nut mixes. When you combine different nuts and seeds together, you can get the maximum nutrition from your snacking-calories.
1. Sun-Stachio Mix
This colorful golden and green mix will delight your eyes as much as your taste buds. Mix 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) of sunflower seeds, 12 golden raisins, and 20 shelled pistachios.
Sun-Stachio healthy nut mix nutrition breakdown:
2. Black and White Healthy Nut Mix
Decadent 82% dark chocolate and pearly white almonds are a delicious combination. Take 1 square of 86% dark chocolate, such as Ghirardelli brand, place on a cutting board, and dice into small pieces with a knife. Then count out 15 whole almonds without the skin, for example the Marianai brand almonds. Place into a plastic bag for an easy and tasty on-the-go snack option.
Black and White Healthy Nut Mix nutrition breakdown:
3. All-American Apple Pie Healthy Nut Mix
Cinnamon, pecan, dried apple makes this truly classic, all-American favorite into a healthy and delicious snack. You might find yourself wanting to switch on a baseball game and some music from the 1950's. Just take 15 pecans and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon, and roast in the oven at 275 degrees for about 10 minutes. You can add a packet of stevia if you like a little extra sweetness. Then take 3 rings of dried apples, break into bite-sized pieces and combine with the toasted pecans. And hurrah! Now go fly that American flag. Make sure you drink plenty of water too, to help rehydrate the apples.
All-American Apple Pie healthy nut mix nutrition breakdown:
*all nutrition data analyzed using the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.