In a Nutshell

High in calories, nuts don’t make a good first impression. But upon closer look, these protein-rich seeds reveal a promise. Thanks to their omega-3 fatty acids, nuts lube up the coronary system and aid cardiovascular health. They also contain nutrients that may ward off ailments from insomnia to cancer. And they help you feel full, which is why consuming small portions may promote weight loss.

But there are some pointers to keep in mind before cracking your next snack:

While roasting may bring out flavor, it can reduce the nutritional value of nut oils and make them more vulnerable to spoilage. Stick to raw versions or dry-roast briefly on a very low heat, then store in airtight containers in the fridge or freezer to keep them from getting rancid.

Nut butters are a good option — just be sure to read the ingredients. Stay away from those with added sugar or corn syrup. And avoid anything with the word hydrogenated on the label.

Some experts warn about eating too many nuts if you suffer from diverticulitis — a condition where pockets form in the colon wall and become infected or inflamed.

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