Go Nuts!

GO NUTS!

Nuts and seeds are finally getting the accolades from western science that has so long been granted to them by Chinese medicine. Now everyone agrees that these are nutritional powerhouses with a potent mix of protein, essential fatty acids, vitamin E, minerals and monounsaturated fats. Some people refer to them as “the perfect food”.

Over thirty studies have shown serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels favorably reduced when nuts where included in the diet. This got the attention of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In 2003, the FDA made this statement: “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.” (http://lancaster.unl.edu/food/ftmar04.htm).

Nuts and seeds have such a positive effect on blood pressure that they have become part of the highly regarded DASH Diet for controlling hypertension. (http://dashdiet.org). This effect may be due to the fact that nuts are excellent sources of calcium, magnesium and potassium. Some findings suggest that, because they are slowly absorbed, eating nuts may lower the Glycemic Index of a meal. That bodes well for people with hypoglycemia or diabetes.

The wealth of nutrients in nuts makes them calorie dense. This worries some people who are concerned about their weight. However, including a handful of nuts in the daily diet may actually expedite weight loss. In addition to all the good things, nuts give people a sense of satiety. Perhaps snacking on a few nuts instead of eating celery sticks will help people stay on a weight loss program and avoid serial dieting.

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health found three times as many people trying to lose weight were able to stick to a Mediterranean-style moderate-fat weight loss diet that included nuts, peanuts and peanut butter, versus the traditionally recommended low-fat diet. (International Journal of Obesity, Oct. 5, 2001).

The FDA recommends a daily serving of 1½ ounce of nuts (two – three tablespoons). I agree with this suggestion. Take a look at all the healthy benefits of nuts.

ALMONDS: A one-ounce serving is about 24 nuts with 6 g. protein, 160 calories, and 9 g. monosaturated fat. Almonds are loaded with Vitamin E (an antioxidant that helps prevent heart disease and cancer) and magnesium (strengthens bones).

BRAZIL NUTS: A one-ounce serving is about 8 nuts with 4 g. protein, 190 calories and 7 g. monosaturated fat. Brazil nuts are packed with selenium (an antioxidant) and phosphorus (strengthens bones and teeth & assists with energy metabolism.

CASHEWS: A one-ounce serving is about 18 nuts with 4 g. protein, 160 calories and 8 g. monosaturated fat. Cashews are rich in selenium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.

HAZELNUTS: A one-ounce serving is about 20 nuts with 4 g. protein, 180 calories and 3 g. monosaturated fat. Hazelnuts contain large amounts of
Vitamin E.

MACADAMIAS: A one-ounce serving is about 12 nuts with 2 g. protein, 200 calories and 17 g. monosaturated fat. Macadamias have the highest level of unsaturated fat (cholesterol lowering).

PEANUTS: (not actually a nut, but a legume, though often thought of as a nut so here it is) A one-ounce serving is about 28 nuts with 7 g. protein, 170 calories and 7 g. monosaturated fat. Peanuts are a good source of Vitamin B3 (promoting healthy skin), Vitamin E and zinc (renewing tissue), potassium (muscles) and Vitamin B6 (immunity).

PECANS: A one-ounce serving is about 20 halves with 3 g. protein, 200 calories and 12 g. monosaturated fat. Pecans are packed with Vitamin B1 (thiamine energy) and zinc.

PISTACHIOS: A one-ounce serving is about 45 nuts with 6 g. protein, 160 calories and 7 g. monosaturated fat. Pistachios are full of phosphorus.

WALNUTS: A one-ounce serving is about 14 halves with 4 g. protein, 190 calories and 2.5 g. monosaturated fat. Walnuts are rich in Omega-3s (reducing fat and cholesterol).

Wow. Nuts really are superfoods. They contain more than just proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Chinese dietary medicine sees nuts as beneficial because, in addition to having excellent nutrients, they are seeds. All seeds contain Jing. Jing is the generative essence of the plant. This is the dynamic information (think of a genetic code) that directs the growth of any species, whether plant or animal. Jing determines how you grow, mature, and eventually die.

The Jing contained in nuts and seeds has a positive influence on the Jing within us, especially that of the kidney and skeletal systems. This influence is through the resonance of the generative energetic systems of both species. We not only absorb essential nutrients from the plants we eat, we also obtain Jing, and benefit from those bioenergetic nutrients that feed our essential base of structural growth and maintenance.

So, go out there and have a handful of nuts. The ultimate power food. Go crazy.