If you’re feeling hungry in the middle of the day but don’t want to commit to a full meal, nuts and seeds can make a great snack. They’re high in fiber and protein to fill you up and keep you full of energy, and contain high levels of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
They can even be a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, depending on the specific nut or seed in question. Nuts and seeds are easy to incorporate into your diet – munch on them as a snack or incorporate them into a salad for a light meal; they can also add a healthy crunch to baked goods.
But as with all things, moderation is important – nuts are a very high calorie food, after all. Here are some healthy nuts and seeds to introduce to your daily diet.
These pleasant, mild-tasting seeds – they are technically seeds, not nuts! – are available at most grocery stores. For eating, you’ll want to pick up sweet almonds; bitter almonds are edible, but much less pleasant, and typically used to make almond oil.
Almonds are a good source of fiber, protein, selenium, and other important nutrients – but they may have even more health benefits; one review says that
“emerging evidence supports that almond consumption beneficially influences chronic degenerative disease risk beyond cholesterol reduction, particularly in populations with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus.”(1)
2. Flax Seeds
These small, brown seeds can be used as egg substitutes in vegan cooking, or just added to dishes on their own – they have a mild taste and crunchy texture. Their high fiber content promotes intestinal and bowel health, while their rich levels of alpha-linolenic acid are great for promoting cardiovascular health(2).
To get the most from these, grind the seeds using a blender before eating. If you’re on blood-thinning medication or are pregnant, however, it’s best to avoid these seeds – they can have negative effects on both these conditions.