Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Health nuts

Health nuts
Wed, Jan 07, 2009
The Straits Times

Love nibbling on nuts but worried that they are unhealthy? Not necessarily so, say the experts.

The United States Food and Drug Administration says that eating 1/3 cup or 42.5g of nuts a day as part of a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Ms Lilian Liang, a dietitian from the department of nutrition and dietetics at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, says that nuts are rich in proteins, vitamins (folic acid, niacin and vitamins E and B6) as well as minerals like magnesium, copper, zinc, selenium, phosphorus and potassium.

She says nuts can be consumed daily, but should be done so in moderation.

Choose those that are raw or unroasted, unsalted and without honey or sugar coatings. They can be eaten as a snack or as part of a main meal such as with salads.

However, take note of the saturated fat content as saturated fats - unlike their unsaturated counterpart - are similar to animal fat and contribute to low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This is the bad cholesterol which leads to a higher risk of stroke and heart disease when they clog up the arteries.

Nuts contain a combination of both unsaturated and saturated fats, so do remember not to overeat them.

This story was first published in Mind Your Body, The Straits Times, on Jan 1, 2009.

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