It’s time to crack open the truth about nuts. Yes, they are high in fat, but it is a good type of fat. Nuts are also one of the best sources of plant protein. They are filled with fiber and rich in important nutrients like vitamin E, folate and potassium. Nuts also contain hard-to-find essential nutrients like copper and magnesium.Nuts are linked to improving heart health, fighting cancer and even preventing cataracts. While all nuts have similar nutritional benefit, each type of nut has a special claim to fame:

Almonds are good for your heart. Just one small handful of almonds once a week has been shown to help decrease the risk of heart disease by 25%.

• Brazil nuts are extremely rich in the important, yet hard-to-find, cancer-fighting mineral selenium. Selenium is especially beneficial for preventing lung, colon and prostate cancer. For better health, eat a Brazil nut a day. Buy plenty when they are in season and freeze (they crack more easily when frozen).

• Pecans top the list of foods with the highest level of antioxidant activity. Pecans have been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer and lowering cholesterol.

• Walnuts are filled with heart-healthy omega-3 fats. It’s the same type of good fat found in salmon and flax seed. Omega-3 fats help prevent hardening of the arteries, are linked to lowering triglycerides and prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Enjoy nuts while they are in season by trying one of our many nutritious nut recipes at Hy-VeeHealth.com.

Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location. The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at tshaffer@hy-vee.com.

 

Cranberry Orange Brie

All You Need

1 (12 oz) round Brie cheese

⅓ cup whole-berry cranberry sauce

2 tbsp packed brown sugar

1 tsp orange juice

1 tbsp brandy

¼ cup chopped walnuts, crackers or slices of crusty bread

All You Do

Remove top rind of Brie to within one quarter inch of the edge. Cover and refrigerate. Brie can be prepared up to one day ahead. In medium bowl, stir together cranberry sauce, sugar, orange juice, brandy and walnuts.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place Brie on baking sheet; spoon cranberry mixture over top. Bake 4 to 6 minutes or until cheese is hot but not melted. Serve with crackers or slices of crusty bread. Serves 12.

Nutrition facts: 130 calories, 21g carbs, 3g protein, 9g fat, 1g fiber, 180mg sodium.