Why we should be eating more nuts at the ballpark

WASHINGTON — Baseball season is back and for most of us that means keeping our jaws as busy as our eyes at the ballpark.

While hot dogs and sodas are popular choices, more and more Americans might be tucking into a bag of peanuts.

According to Sally Squires, who writes the Lean Plate Club blog, factoring more nuts into your diet CAN be a good thing, just keep an eye on how many you are cramming into your mouth.

Peanuts and tree nuts are a high protein food that are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids that are good for the joints, heart and brain.

They also contain fiber which helps you feel full and keeps you regular.

Other dietary components are vitamin E, which may help stop plaque from developing in your arteries, L-arginine which helps to make artery walls more flexible and less prone to blood clots that can cause a heart or a stroke and Plant Sterols that can help to lower blood cholesterol.

In 2004 the Food and Drug Administration granted a qualified health claim for nuts. It stated eating 1.5 ounces per day along with a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease, Squires said.

“There’s also new evidence that nuts can help cut the recurrence of tumors in people with stage three colon cancer,” Squires said. “That’s pretty exciting news.”

A prospective study of 826 stage three colon cancer patients who consumed two or more servings of nuts per week for six and half years found that they were more likely to remain disease free and they had a higher rate of survival than those who did not consumer nuts, according to Squires.

Eating nuts also provides other health benefits.

“It lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes, the metabolic syndrome insulin resistance which leads to type 2 diabetes,” Squires said.

So are Americans consuming enough nuts?

A 2014 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that just about 40 percent of Americans consume nuts daily. However, consumption does increase with age.

But snackers be warned, nuts are also fairly high in calories. An ounce, roughly a handful, is about 170 calories.

“You have to take that into account with your total consumption of calories,” Squires said.

Of course for those who have nut and peanut allergies, these foods can be deadly, and should be avoided.

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