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Seeking Healthier Foods? This Is Nuts

These superfoods have plenty of benefits for body and mind

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    Go a Little Nuts - It's OK!

    En español | Remember back in the day when we were told to avoid nuts because they were too high-calorie? Turns out that was nutty advice. The little powerhouses “have wonderful health benefits,” says Rebecca Solomon, director of clinical nutrition at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York. Just don’t go overboard and eat too many, she adds. Here’s how to choose the ones best for you.

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    Best for calorie counters

    At 160 calories per ounce, these three are best: almonds,  (23 nuts per ounce), cashews (16 to 18 nuts) and pistachios (49 nuts). Highest in calories at 200 an ounce — along with lower amounts of protein and higher amounts of fat — are macadamias (11 nuts) and pecans (19 halves).

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    Best for your heart

    Walnuts. While all nuts contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts contain the most and can help protect against heart disease, as well as diabetes, a 2013 study found. Many other studies have also linked walnuts with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, including lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels.

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    Best for weight loss

    Any nuts. A review of studies found that people who ate nuts weighed less than those who didn’t. Prefer almonds? People who snacked on 1½ ounces of almonds daily lost more weight and kept it off than those who didn’t eat them, a City of Hope National Medical Center study found.

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    Best for strong bones

    Almonds and cashews. Just an ounce of calcium-rich almonds provides 26 percent of your daily needed amount of the bone-strengthening mineral. A lack of magnesium can also increase the risk of osteoporosis, and while almonds contain magnesium, cashews have even more — 20 percent of the daily magnesium you need for strong bones.

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    Best for halting the munchies

    Peanuts. And peanut butter. High-protein, high-fiber peanuts help control blood sugar and reduce hunger pangs between meals, a 2012 study of women at risk for Type 2 diabetes found. A 2013 Purdue study also found that 1½ ounces of peanuts daily helped lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

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    Best for prostate cancer protection

    An ounce of nuts, any nuts, a day. A 2013 study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer who added an ounce of nuts to their daily diet, as well as more olive oil, lowered their risk of developing advanced prostate cancer.

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    Best for brain health

    Almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios — any mixture of nuts in your diet is associated with better memory and thinking skills as you age. A 2014 study found that older women who ate at least five servings of nuts weekly over six years scored higher on a battery of cognition tests.

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