Here's our list of favorite nuts, ranked by their nutrient density. These varieties contain the most protein, fiber, B-vitamins, calcium, minerals, and vitamin E for the least amount of saturated fat:
- Filberts (hazelnuts)
Almonds. Our "Top Nut" award goes to the almond. Here are the main nutrients in one ounce of almonds (a medium-size handful):
· 166 calories
· 5 grams of protein
· 14 grams of fat (90 percent unsaturated)
· 4 grams of fiber (the highest fiber content of any nut or seed), unblanched
· 80 milligrams of calcium
· 1.4 milligrams of zinc
· 1 milligram of iron
· 6.7 milligrams of vitamin E
· some B-vitamins, minerals, and selenium
Filberts, (hazelnuts) because they are high in the amino acid tryptophan, are a good nut for sleep. Almonds and filberts have the most vitamin E (6.7 milligrams per ounce) - nearly 25 percent of the adult recommended dietary allowance.
Sleep Nuts } Eating a small handful of nuts as a before-bedtime snack may help you catch more Z's. Some nuts and seeds, especially whole filberts and ground sesame seeds, have a high amount of the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan.
Walnuts have the greatest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids.
Chestnuts are lowest in fat, containing only about 10 percent as much fat as other nuts. What little fat is in the chestnut (1.3 grams per ounce) is nearly all the unsaturated type. Chestnuts also contain three grams of fiber per ounce, but they are relatively low in protein.
Soybean nuts (SCD illegal) and peanuts are not really nuts at all. They are legumes, and they come from plants rather than trees. Both are very nutritious. Soybean nuts, while less popular because of their less appealing taste, are actually the most nutritious nut. A quarter cup of soybean nuts contains a similar number of calories to other nuts, yet packs the following nutrients:
· 17 grams of protein
· 9 grams of fat (90 percent unsaturated)
· 3.5 grams of fiber
· 138 milligrams of folic acid (33 percent of the DV)
· 116 milligrams of calcium (10 percent of the DV)
· 2 milligrams of zinc (around 15 percent of the DV)
· 1.7 milligrams of iron (10 percent of the DV)
· 19 micrograms of selenium
When purchasing soybean nuts, avoid those that are roasted in "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oils.
PEANUT BUTTER BASICS
Praise for Peanut Butter! Could life go on without peanut butter? Yes, but not as pleasurably. Not only is peanut butter a nutrient-dense food, it is one that most children enjoy. Parents like its convenience. Two tablespoons of peanut butter, the usual amount for filling a peanut butter and jelly sandwich contains:.
· 8.5 grams of protein
· 4 milligrams of the B-vitamin niacin (one-third the RDA for a pre-teen child)
· a touch of fiber, calcium, folic acid, zinc, and iron
· all this in 200 calories that provide a high source of energy for a busy child.
Problems with Peanut Butter
While peanut butter is a favorite and nutritious family food, the peanut is not without its problems.
· Children who are allergic to peanuts are very allergic and, unlike many other food allergies, this is one they usually don't outgrow. If your child is allergic to peanut butter, be sure you warn the school (children share lunches) and other adults (such as playmates' parents) who may be serving your child snacks. Some people are so allergic to peanuts that even a whiff could trigger an asthmatic attack. This scare has recently prompted some airlines to have "peanut-free zones" on their flights. Beware of peanut butter hidden in candies and some Asian dishes. People who are allergic to peanut butter (which is a legume and not, strictly speaking, a nut) can often tolerate other nutbutters, such as almond and cashew. Try these alternatives carefully. Avoiding peanut butter during pregnancy and lactation may lower the chances of your infant being sensitized to peanut butter and later becoming allergic.
· For safety's sake spread nutbutters on bread or crackers rather than allowing children to wolf down a fingerful. Globs of peanut butter and other nutbutters can cause choking.
· Be careful of a toxic mold called "aflatoxin" that can grow on rancid peanut butter or spoiled peanuts. Peanut butter manufacturers are highly aware of this potentially toxic mold and take strict manufacturing precautions to eliminate it. Commercially-available peanut butters are safe. If you grind your own nuts into peanut butter, take care to use roasted nuts that are fresh.
· While the fat in peanut butter is about 80 percent unsaturated, hydrogenated oils may be added to the peanut butter to increase the shelf life. If hydrogenated oil is added, it must be listed on the label. You can tell whether or not peanut butter contains hydrogenated oil by whether it separates when it sits on the shelf. When non-hydrogenated peanut butter sets, the natural oils will rise to the top, and you have to stir the oil into the peanut butter after you open it. If there is no oil floating on the top of the peanut butter when you open a new jar, check the ingredient list. It probably contains hydrogenated oils.
PEANUT BUTTER TIP
Hold the jar upside down to help the oil settle throughout the butter. This saves a lot of messy mixing.
OTHER NUT BUTTERS
Peanut butter isn't the only kind of nutbutter you can spread on your whole-wheat bread (not SCD legal). Try some variety.
· Almond butter is more nutrient-dense than peanut butter. It contains half the amount of saturated fat, less salt (usually), and eight times as much calcium. Peanut butter, however, contains twice as much protein and four times as much niacin (20 percent of the DV).
· Cashew butter is less nutritious than both almond and peanut butter. It contains less protein, fiber, and niacin than peanut butter, but it still makes a tasty piece of toast.
· Soy butter (not SCD legal) is a healthy alternative for those allergic to other nutbutters, is lower in total and saturated fats than peanut butter, but usually has added sweeteners to make it palatable.
· Sesame seed butter (called "tahini") is a favorite of Middle Eastern cuisine. It can be mixed with ground chickpeas to make hummus or combined with eggplant and spices to make baba ghanoush.
Nature packs a lot of nutrition into a little nut, which is why nuts and seeds get honorable mention on our "Top Twelve Foods" list. Nuts are the seeds of different trees. They come in a variety of shapes, flavors, and preparations that add to their appeal: shelled or unshelled, raw, dry roasted, oil roasted, sugared, salted, and honey-coated.
Nuts and seeds are more nutrient-dense than most other foods. They are rich sources of protein, fiber, B-vitamins, folic acid, calcium, iron, zinc, and the antioxidants vitamin E and selenium. Think nuts have too much fat to be part of a healthy diet? Wrong! Nuts do contain a lot of fat, yet ninety percent of this fat is the heart-healthy, unsaturated kind. In fact, recent studies have shown that eating nuts may reduce a person's risk of having a heart attack. Because nuts and seeds are high in monounsaturated fats, they have been found to lower LDL cholesterol.
Roasted nuts are more flavorful and spoil less quickly, yet how they are roasted makes a big nutritional difference. Dry roasted nuts don't have any added fat. Oil roasted means the nuts are fried in oil, which adds around ten percent more fat calories to the nuts. This is no big deal unless the nuts have been roasted in saturated or hydrogenated fats (e.g. coconut oil); check the label. An increase in saturated fats lessen the nut's main nutritional claim to fame - they're low in saturated fats.
While heating or roasting nuts does enhance the flavor and reduce spoilage, it also may alter some of the essential fatty acids. This is why processed nuts are less likely to go rancid, but the tradeoff may be a loss of healthy nutrients. Seeds and nuts themselves are more nutritious than the oil extracted from them, at least in theory. Seeds and nuts contain natural vitamin E, which protects their oil from going rancid. Processing may remove some of the natural antioxidants in the nuts and seeds.
While nuts and seeds are a perfect snack, don't go nutty over their nutrition. A handful of nuts or seeds pack around 200 calories. Best to dole out a small amount into a container rather than snacking right out of the bag. The good news is that the fiber in nuts and seeds fills you up quickly, making you less likely to overeat while you're snacking and at the next meal.
Sunflower and sesame seeds, along with various kinds of nuts, are a nutritious addition to salads. This also makes a small amount of nuts go a long way. Sprinkle on a spoonful and enjoy!
When it comes to nuts, organic is better. All nuts, and peanuts especially, pick up pesticide residues. Ditto for nutbutters.
Seeds have nutritional profiles similar to nuts, because, after all, nuts are seeds. One ounce of hulled sunflower seeds (one medium-size handful) offers:
· 165 calories
· 5.5 grams of protein
· 14 grams of fat (90 percent saturated)
· 3 grams of fiber
· 2 milligrams of niacin (10 percent of the DV)
· 67 milligrams of folic acid (17 percent of the DV)
· 20 milligrams of calcium
· 1.5 milligrams of zinc (10 percent of the DV)
· 1 milligram of iron
· 14 milligrams of vitamin E (50 percent of the DV)
· 78 mcg. of selenium (there is some evidence that 100 micrograms a day of selenium may reduce the risk of cancer)
Soak Your Seeds
Soaking seeds and nuts in distilled water overnight makes them easier to digest.
Sesame seeds have a similar nutritional profile to sunflower seeds, but these tiny decorative seeds supply slightly more fiber, and twice as much calcium, zinc, and iron.
Of all the seeds and nuts, pumpkin seeds contain the most iron, packing a blood-building four milligrams per ounce (six times more iron than in an ounce of beef). Yet, pumpkin seeds contain less vitamin E, calcium, folic acid, niacin, and fiber than sunflower or sesame seeds.
Grind Your Seeds
Because sesame seeds are so small, you are unlikely to chew them and break down the seeds to release the nutrients. As a result, the seeds pass through the intestines undigested. To release all the good nutrients from these power- packed little seeds, first grind them into a meal, and then sprinkle them on salads.
KAY’S NOTE: Those who are still healing on the SCD should wait to add whole seeds and nuts to their diet until symptoms are gone.