Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut

Magnet # 71: Mauna Loa Orange

Material: Rubber

Purchased By: Dad

It's okay to feel like a nut today, given that it's National Nut Day. Since it's not exactly clear whether it's a day set aside to celebrate the kooky, nutty folks of the world or enjoy the partaking of a handful of nuts, I guess it's fine to do both. But, as far as this post goes, I'll be focusing on the consumption of nuts, like the ones Mauna Loa produces. Yes, I know there's a piece of fruit portrayed on this magnet, but they sell nuts, too - particularly macadamia nuts, which can be so delightful when combined with white chocolate and cookie dough batter.

For years now, one health study after another has been extolling the health virtues of nuts.  Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, which is believed to promote healthy aging, and can possibly reduce the risks of heart disease and cancer. Brazil nuts contain selenium, an antioxidant agent that helps the brain function properly. It's also believed to reduce the risk of prostate cancer for men, and one or two Brazil buts a day provides enough selenium to make your daily quota.  Peanuts, which are actually legumes, and not truly a nut, are nonetheless healthy.  They contain niacin, which can raise good cholesterol levels, and folate, which can help your body in a number of ways, including helping nerves function correctly.  Walnuts are some of the best nuts you can eat, even if they're not the most tasty to some folks.  They have quite a few vitamins, and instead of having a variety of nuts to get these nutrients, you can just eat a handful of them.  Most importantly, they're also a great source of omega-3, which is a highly beneficial fatty acid.  Its benefits include reducing the risk of heart attack and strokes, and may even prevent depression and Alzheimer's.  Many nuts are also a good source of copper, which helps the body produce healthy red blood cells, and B-6, which helps produce antibodies and insulin. Nearly all nuts also have no cholesterol and almost no sodium, unless manufacturers add salt to them. However, they do contain a fair amount of fat, so make sure you don't eat more than a handful. On that note, however, nuts do have a fair amount of protein, fiber that can help dieters feel fuller for longer amounts of time. They can be added to salads, baked goods, cooked veggies, pasta, and cereal to assist in the weight loss process.  

I've been trying to have a handful of almonds most days for the past half year or so. I haven't noticed any changes for the better, but I haven't noticed any for the worse, either. So grab a jar of your favorites, and feel like a nut today! Then practice cannibalism...

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