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EatingWell

EatingWell

Posted: December 24, 2010 09:09 AM

If you're eating with my husband and me you need to be quick to get what you want when it comes to certain foods. He's a chunk hunter and I'm a cherry picker. His ice-cream-scooping power has laserlike accuracy when it comes to finding and extracting the delectable bits of sinfulness from cookie, candy, and swirl-packed ice creams. When it comes to nuts, I like to scavenge around the nut bowl to pick out just the varieties I want to eat. (Yes, I'm that girl.)

Turns out my habit may have some health benefits. All nuts are packed with heart-healthy fats. But some picks rise above the rest in terms of nutrition benefits, as Caitlin Chapman wrote about in the November/December issue of EatingWell Magazine. Here are four of the healthiest nuts to eat. (FYI to peanut lovers -- they're a healthy choice too but we didn't consider them in this roundup because they're technically legumes.)


Walnuts
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Walnuts (185 calories per 14 halves or 1 ounce) are the only nuts that offer a significant amount of the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA’s anti-inflammatory properties halt plaque buildup in the arteries that results when "bad" LDL cholesterol is oxidized.

The omega-3 is also linked with improved glucose control and stronger bones. In a study of 23 overweight people published in 2007 in Nutrition Journal, increasing intake of ALA via walnuts and flaxseed oil decreased the rate of bone breakdown.
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