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Considering that nuts are packed with nutrients, and nutritional experts say regularly including nuts in our daily diets helps promote heart health, it defies explanation why more of us don’t eat more of them! 

High in protein and chocked full of nutrients, consumption of nuts has been linked to a reduction in heart disease in both men and women, according to a report from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey. Federal dietary guidelines suggest 1.5 ounces (about a handful) eaten daily may reduce heart disease. That is about 250 calories, depending on what type of nut is eaten.

Samara Joy Nielsen, a nutritional epidemiologist and lead author of the report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention*, says that in spite of more women than men consuming nuts, 14% of the men ate the recommended daily serving size, while only 12% of the women did. Nuts are a great source of unsaturated fat, a necessary dietary element. Those of us at your favorite Chocolate of the Month Club headquarters wonder if women cut down on the amount in an effort to cut fat intake. Realizing the health benefits, we’re going to cut back on donuts instead! (*Report data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009-2010)

Experts are in agreement that four in ten, or a mere forty percent of American adults, eat enough nuts daily to reap the benefits. Some stats:

Who is included in that forty percent? Adults aged 60 and over make up the largest group, perhaps fueled by the fact that as we age, our penchant for sweets lessens, and our craving for bitter tastes increase. Women eat nuts more often than men, but do not eat as many per day.

What type of nut is preferred? There are no hard statistics available, but cashews, walnuts and pecans rank among the leaders. Peanut butter, sesame paste, tahini and even pumpkin seeds are considered “nuts.”

Caucasians ate more when compared to all other nationalities.

Although nuts are eaten out-of-hand, they are important ingredient items in literally thousands of recipes for breads, cookies, main-dish and vegetable casseroles, both fruit and vegetable salads, gelatins, and our personal favorite — CANDY made with CHOCOLATE!

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Tracie Burket
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