Nuts in spite of the health benefits that they offer are not given the pride of place in our diets due to the fat content and high calorific value they have.

Consuming nuts in moderation will definitely not have an adverse impact on your weight. This can be done by substituting nuts in place of those high calorie snacks like donuts and potato chips.

Snacking on three ounces of pistachios provides us approximately 400 calories. If your daily calorie needs work out to about 2000kcal per day, then the intake of nuts cater for 20% of your calorie requirements.

Nuts do not contain cholesterol and the fats found in nuts are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated thus, posing no threat to your heart. In fact studies have shown that the fat content in nuts could be good for reducing cholesterol and thus ensuring better overall health.

Studies have reported that the regular consumption of nuts is beneficial in improving the good cholesterol and also act to reduce the levels of the bad cholesterol. Hence, it helps to keep your cholesterol levels in perfect balance. Studies have also shown that the triglyceride levels could actually be reduced due to the consumption of nuts.

Almonds, for example have found to be very effective in reducing the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) in people having a cholesterol problem.

Nuts have the following properties, with slight variations from one to the other.
• They are a rich source of fiber.
• Nuts do not have cholesterol and are known to have less saturated fat.
• Nuts are a rich source of Vitamin E, folic acid, niacin and amino acid arginine which makes it a very healthy food.
• Nuts also have a high content of mineral like calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium, selenium and copper.

However, note that palm nuts and coconuts do not fit into the category of nuts as mentioned. This is because these nuts have the highest content of saturated fats. Nuts like macadamia, cashew nuts, pine nuts and Brazil nuts are also known to have a high level of saturated fats and are not advisable to be consumed in large quantities.

Peanuts, although not a nut (it is a legume) reduces the risk of heart diseases due to its high folate content. Folate is necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells. This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy.

Some people may be allergic to peanuts. A nut allergy can produce a tingling feeling in the lips or mouth, itch or rashes, swelling, tummy aches or if serious, may even cause death or unconsciousness. Look out for symptoms of allergy to nuts and avoid them if you need to.

You can easily purchase ready-to-eat nuts from your nearby supermarket if you find roasting your own nuts a hassle. Avoid buying nuts that are oil-fried and coated with a layer of sugar or salt on them as they make the nuts become unhealthy. Stick with oven-roasted nuts with no added sugar or salt so as to get the most nutritional benefit from them.