Choose Wisely – Nuts

Choose Wisely #12- Raw Nuts

Nuts have so much nutritional value as long as you consume them raw or when they are properly roasted. Nuts are loaded with vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy fats as well as very rich in fiber so it’s important not to lose the wonderful benefits by improper processing. Most nuts are low in saturated fats and high in unsaturated fat which we need in our diets.

Choose This:

Your best bet is to choose raw nuts whenever possible to avoid the oxidation that can occur during roasting of nuts. If you choose to roast your own you can do so by stirring raw nuts in a skillet over low – medium heat until lightly roasted. Another method is to spread the nuts on a baking sheet and place in a 250 degree oven, tossing them occasionally until they are done (about 30 minutes). You can lightly coat before you roast nuts in Coconut, peanut or extra virgin olive oil. (Do not choose vegetable, soybean, cottonseed, corn or grapeseed oil). Lightly sprinkle with sea salt or cinnamon, if desired. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

Nuts are high in calories and should be limited to a daily 1 ounce serving. Grabbing a handful as a snack a few times a day usually results in gains. This amount of nuts should be saved as an occasional snack or an easy travel companion. Mixed in a trail mix along with seeds, raisins and coconut flakes cuts down on a higher amount of consumed nuts and still gives the satisfaction of a crunchy snack. I like to think of nuts more like a condiment, sprinkle it over yogurt, oats, salads, veggies, and in your favorite recipe. The possibilities are endless on how you can get this healthy food into your diet and keep the portion control at bay.

Do not choose this:

Most manufacturers put the nuts through a process using unhealthy oils or very high heat to roast their nuts. This process takes any healthy fat molecules and turns them into harmful free radicals. Roasting nuts may alter and damage the polyunsaturated fats that nuts and make them more vulnerable to oxidation making them more rancid. Roasted, chopped, and ground nuts go rancid more quickly than whole raw ones.

Also, many manufacturers process the nuts in a facility that also processes common allergens like wheat. So, unless you know all the details of the process, it is best to purchase raw nuts and consume raw or roast them yourself. Nuts purchased in containers are also very high in sodium.

Always read the ingredients. These appear to be healthy, and even though they are not roasted in harmful oils, they may contain unhealthy ingredients.  You will see on this list the hidden sugar maltodextrin.


Try These Raw Nut Recipes:

Healthy Trail Mix

Candied Nuts


  1. Sara on March 18, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    would macadamia nut butter be as beneficial as whole macadamia nuts?  

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