Americans have a nut deficiency
Not enough people are going nuts over nuts, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study released this month. About 60 percent of Americans don’t consume these necessary protein-based foods on a daily basis.
The latest dietary guidelines for Americans encourage the consumption of nuts and seeds. Nut consumption has been associated with improved nutrient intake and diet quality and improved health outcomes, including those related to cardiovascular disease, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Nuts are considered high in protein and have been linked to decreasing obesity and cardiovascular disease. In the study, 80 percent of the intake of nuts by both genders was either through a single foot item (nuts or seed) or as peanut butter.
Nutritionists view the ideal level of consumption is about an ounce-and-a-half of nuts daily — equal to about 240 calories — according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines on reducing heart disease.
However the new study showed that less than 15 percent of men or women ever reach that figure. For the purpose of the study, the CDC definition of nuts included everything from peanuts, peanut butter and cashews to pumpkin seeds and sesame paste, among many others. Research investigators found women consume nuts on a greater basis than men and whites were more likely to consume it than other groups.
Another nutrition expert agreed that nuts have a place in a heart-healthy diet.
Michelle Waspi, dietitian at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago, Ill, believes nuts are an essential element in a person’s heart-healthy diet. She says people should choose wisely and stay away from nuts that contain the highest amount of fats like macadamia and pecans, which are often featured in mainstay desserts such as cookies and pies.
She views nuts as also being essential for everyone, especially those who are deciding to go vegetarian. She says protein is a key to a healthy body so be sure to incorporate the right combinations of plant based proteins to stay fit.
“You generally need to consume beans, soy and especially nuts. Nuts are packed with heart-healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals,” Waspi says.
Fellow nutritionists agree. “Nuts are a terrific source of both healthy unsaturated fats and plant-based protein,” said Dana White, clinical associate professor of athletic training and sports medicine at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., in a statement. “They are easy to eat and take on the go for a hunger-fighting snack.”
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