Spinach Salad with Beets and Goat Cheese

Spinach Salad with Beets and Goat Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 cups peeled cubed beets
  • Olive oil to drizzle on beets
  • 6 cups  spinach
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • Dressing:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons  Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Roast the beets drizzled with olive oil for 20-30 minutes at 400 or until fork tender.
  2. In a large serving bowl, add spinach, goat cheese and walnuts.
  3. Add  beets to salad mixture.
  4. Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a separate bowl.
  5. Pour dressing over salad and serve immediately.

Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients: 

1 pound fresh asparagus 

Good quality olive oil

Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper

 

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Break off the tough ends of the asparagus. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil. Spread the asparagus in a single layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for 25 minutes, until tender but still crisp.
  • (Note – can broil for a quicker option to get crispy but MUST WATCH CLOSER)

Foods that boost brain health

Foods that boost brain health
By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

Brain health is critically important because we use our brain throughout our lives. When we’re young, our brains help us develop motor skills, learn and study new information. As we age, we want to preserve our memory and ensure our cognitive ability stays sharp and focused.

Our daily choices have a significant impact on our brain health. Specifically, what we choose to fill our plate with can either help support or deteriorate our brain function. Here are some of the best foods to integrate into your diet regularly for a healthy brain.

Oily Fish
Oily fish like sockeye salmon, herring, and sardines are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, a good fat that is crucial for supporting the development of new brain and nerve cells. Ideally, you should aim for at least two portions of oily fish per week – but be sure the fish is wild-caught as opposed to farm raised. Farm raised fish have been shown to contain high levels of mercury and toxins. You can also take fish oil as a supplement. Nordic Naturals is a high-quality brand that we sell at our office.

Nuts and Seeds
If you are vegan, vegetarian or do not like eating fish, there are other food options available that are rich in omega 3’s. Flax seeds are a plant source of good fats. You can purchase flax seeds that are already ground into a powder and are virtually flavorless. Flax seed powder can be sprinkled over food, added to salads or blended into smoothies for a nutrient boost. Walnuts are another good source of omegas. Four walnut halves a day contain a sufficient amount of healthy fat and also vitamin E, which can help protect against Alzheimer’s.

Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help reduce inflammation in the brain. It is ideal to use when cooking at high heat. You can also add some coconut oil to your morning coffee for an additional boost in alertness.

Avocados
Avocados are one of my favorite snacks and are actually considered a fruit. Avocados have the lowest amount of sugar and highest protein content of any fruit. Avocados are packed with healthy monosaturated fats, which are responsible for keeping blood sugar levels steady and great for your skin. Avocados also contain water soluble vitamins C and B, which are not stored in the body and need to be replenished daily. Additional nutrients hiding out in this unassuming fruit include folate and vitamin K, which help prevent blood clots in the brain, and improve memory and concentration.

Turmeric
Turmeric is a root that has been used for its healing properties and health benefits for centuries. Curcumin, an active compound found in turmeric root, is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that has been shown in studies to help clear the amyloid plaques in the brain that contribute to conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin can be taken in high doses daily to help with arthritis and joint pain, as well. In order to experience the anti-inflammatory effects, you need about 500 to 1,000 mg per day. Turmeric powder can be added to eggs in the morning or can be consumed as a tea.

Broccoli
Broccoli is considered a low-calorie superfood. Eat all your heart (or brain) desires! Broccoli is packed with vitamin K, which supports blood vessels in the brain, and vitamin C, which boosts the immune system. It’s also high in fiber, so you’ll feel full quickly while eating it.

Celery
Celery is low in calories but high in nutrients and antioxidants, making it a great snack if you are looking to boost your brain and shed some stubborn quarantine pounds. Most people eat celery stalks, but the leaves and seeds can be added to soups, stir fries or juiced for a super hydration boost.

Beets
Beets contain nutrients to boost energy and performance, enhance blood flow to the brain, and help filter your blood of toxins. My favorite way to eat them is pickled. Simply boil the beets until tender, add salt and apple cider vinegar, and store in the refrigerator in a glass container in the juice they were boiled in. Beets are great as a snack or salad topper. Just be sure to enjoy them in moderation, as they are high in natural sugar.

Blueberries
Blueberries are a delicious way to protect your brain from stress and degeneration. A small but mighty berry, blueberries are one of the most antioxidant rich foods and include vitamin C, K and fiber.

Dark Chocolate
Yes – chocolate can help boost brain health! Dark chocolate is full of brain supporting antioxidants. The darker the chocolate, the more health benefits. It’s perfectly fine to consume a square or two of dark chocolate each day, just be sure it’s at least 70% cacao and minimally processed.

Start incorporating some of these foods into your diet and enjoy the brain-boosting benefits! By making smart daily choices, you can help maintain your mental clarity and stay sharp, while preventing future disease.

Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.

Apple Cinnamon Waffles

 

Apple Cinnamon Waffles

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup flax seed meal I used Organic Golden Flax from Bob’s Red Mill
1/4 cup Swerve Sweetener
1/4 cup unflavored protein powder
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs room temperature
1 cup finely chopped or grated apple
3/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp apple extract optional, helps intensify flavor
Instructions

Preheat a waffle iron to medium and grease if necessary.
In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, flax seed meal, sweetener, protein powder, baking powder and cinnamon.
Stir in eggs, apple, almond milk, butter, vanilla extract and apple extract and stir until well combined.
Spoon a few tablespoons of batter into each section of the waffle iron and close lid. Cook 4 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides (the amount of batter and time of cooking will depend on your waffle iron).
Remove waffles and repeat with remaining batter.
Serve with sugar-free syrup.

Mason Jar Chicken Taco Salad

Chicken Taco Mason Jar Salads

Ingredients
For the dressing:
½ cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt can substitute with mayonnaise or sour cream
½ cup taco sauce can substitute with your favorite salsa, but it will create a thicker and chunkier dressing, so you may need to thin it with a little bit of water or milk
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
12 ounces cooked diced Southwestern-seasoned chicken (I find this in the refrigerated section of my grocery store, but you can substitute with any cooked chicken that you season with a little bit of taco seasoning or southwest seasoning)
1 cup black beans from a 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn can use fresh, frozen, or canned & drained
1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes
1 cup 4 ounces Sargento® Fine Cut Shredded 4 Cheese Mexican
4 16 ounce/pint-size wide-mouth jars
Instructions
Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl until completely combined.
Place an equal amount of dressing at the bottom of each jar.
Divide remaining ingredients among the jars, layering in the following order: chicken, black beans, corn, cheese, tomatoes and lettuce. Twist on the top to seal your salads and refrigerate until ready to serve.
When you’re ready to eat, just dump the jar onto a large plate or bowl and enjoy!

Food Cravings

What do food cravings mean?
By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

All of us have experienced a craving for a specific food, whether it be for salty potato chips, creamy peanut butter or sweets like ice cream and chocolate. A craving is a signal from the body that something is needed. Cravings can be driven by physical, emotional or biochemical factors.   For example, pregnant women might experience strong cravings due to hormonal changes that disrupt and change their sense of taste and smell. When we’re feeling emotionally stressed, we might crave “comfort” foods.

When a craving hits, you’re faced with a few options: You can give in to it; you can find out what your body really needs; or you can find an alternative distraction like taking a walk, phoning a friend or jumping into your bath tub, hot tub or pool. Some cravings only last 3 to 5 minutes, so finding a distraction does not always have to be a long, drawn out affair.

Below are a few common cravings and some thoughts on what your body might really need instead.

Potato Chips
A potato chip craving could be an indication you’re low in sodium. Sodium, more commonly known as salt, is an essential electrolyte needed in large amounts — especially for normal nerve and muscle function.

We obtain sodium through food and drink, and we lose it when we sweat and urinate. When we sweat in the heat, we actually sweat minerals, not water. After excessive sweating, or long periods outside, the body needs more than just water to replenish what is lost. (Certain medications can also make the body excrete excess fluid.) Conversely, too much sodium can lead to heart issues like high blood pressure.

The recommended daily intake of sodium is around 2,300 milligrams. Instead of satisfying this need with processed food like potato chips, reach for healthy whole foods instead. Beets, spinach and chard are a great source of sodium and packed with disease fighting antioxidants. Raw cashews and walnuts can be a good replacement in moderation — keep the serving size to one ounce (about 18 cashews and 15 walnuts). Popcorn drizzled with a butter-flavored olive oil (sold locally at the Plantation Olive Oil Company) is another healthier option. My favorite salty, satisfying snack is ‘crunchy seasoned peas’ made by BHUJA, which can be found in the gluten free section at Publix (often hanging on an end display).

Ice Cream
If you find yourself craving the cool, sweet taste of ice cream, it could be an indication you are low on sleep. The amino acid tryptophan (also found in your Thanksgiving turkey) is found in high-fat dairy products. Tryptophan assists in the production of melatonin and serotonin to help you feel sleepy and relaxed. Instead of caving to a late-night bowl of ice cream, try getting to bed an hour earlier, incorporating an afternoon power nap, or enjoying some quiet time for 20-30 minutes. Naps help improve immune function, boost your mood and increase alertness. Adults should limit a nap to 30 minutes or less. If you are sleep deprived, a 90 minute to 2-hour snooze can be beneficial. Instead of ice cream, try snacking on frozen blueberries for a sweet, refreshing snack.

Peanut Butter
A peanut butter craving could be an indication you are low in healthy fats, which are essential for survival. Contrary to popular belief, eating fat does not make you fat. Healthy fats, such as omega-3s, help protect the nervous system and brain. Omega-3 fats can be found in oily fish like sockeye salmon. Calories from fat are more nutrient dense than calories from carbohydrates and protein, and can help you feel fuller faster. Try reaching for an avocado sprinkled with lemon pepper.

Chocolate
Some people get hooked on the boost that chocolate can give, which then leads to compulsive habits. However, a chocolate craving can also indicate a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is required for over 300 enzyme reactions in the body. Common symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include irritability, anxiety, extreme fatigue combined with insomnia, lack of concentration and muscle spasms. Before grabbing that candy bar, reach for magnesium-rich foods such as almonds. If nothing but chocolate will do, opt for quality dark chocolate, preferably organic and above 70% cocoa. A magnesium supplement may also help.

Baked Goods and Pastries
If you are feeling anxious or stressed, baked goods and pastries can provide a temporary calming feeling. That’s because the sugar triggers a quick dopamine rush, also known as the “feel good” hormone. But that sugar rush soon turns into a blood sugar crash, which fuels inflammation and will leave you feeling sluggish. The naturally occurring sugars in fruits such as peaches, berries and apples are a healthier choice. You could also try a small amount of dried fruit, such as prunes or raisins.

Soda
Sparkling water, with a squeeze of lime or slice of orange, delivers the carbonation found in soda, minus all the excess sugar.

The next time a craving hits, dig deeper to uncover the real reason behind it. If anything, try making a lateral move and reaching for a healthier choice.

Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.

Cooling Down with Cucumbers

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

 

When those summer temperatures begin to rise, it’s normal to reach for tasty options to help cool us down. But before you reach for the ice cream and lemonade, take a moment to think outside the box. Cucumbers are a naturally cooling food that offer many nutritional benefits. Low in calories and containing a good amount of fiber and water, cucumbers are an ideal summer treat that can refresh the body, while also helping promote hydration and weight loss.

 

Often thought of as a vegetable, the cucumber is actually a mild-tasting fruit. Cucumbers are members of the Cucurbitaceae family, which also includes melon and squash. Cucumbers come in a variety of colors and sizes. Most commonly, they are sliced and eaten fresh or brined and made into pickles.

 

Composed of about 96% water, cucumbers can also help you meet your daily fluid and hydration needs. They also contain magnesium and other electrolytes that aid in hydrating the digestive system and keeping the bowels relaxed and regular. One cup of cucumbers is only 15 calories and provides about 20% of your daily need of vitamin K. Vitamin K, in combination with other essential nutrients, can help improve calcium absorption and contribute to good bone health.

 

When shopping, look for dark green cucumbers that are firm and smooth without any soft, waterlogged spots or bruises. Plan on eating the whole cucumber, as the skin and seeds contain important health-boosting compounds. Organic and unwaxed cucumbers will pack the biggest nutritional punch, especially if you are consuming the skin. Cucumbers should be stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them (usually within 3-5 days of purchase).

 

Most recipes call for raw cucumbers. This is because, due to their high water content, cucumbers tend to be soggy when cooked. Here are a few ways you can incorporate cucumbers into your daily diet when the dog days of summer are in full force:

 

Create a refreshing summer drink: Thinly slice a cucumber and add it to your water for additional flavor and nutrients. Or try combining 4 ounces of coconut water with the juice of 4 celery stalks, 1 cucumber and 1 lime.

Whip up a salad: Try this quick and healthy cucumber salad with just 5 ingredients: Cut two large cucumbers into 1/8 inch-thick slices. Combine with one small white or red onion chopped, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 teaspoons of dill.

 

Use cucumbers as salad boats or a bread replacement: Cut the cucumber in half and remove seeds in order to have the most room to stuff with your favorite salad. (My local favorite is the chicken salad from Sweet Kneads.) You can also stuff the cucumber with tuna salad or make your own BLT salad.

 

Add to a fruit salad: While it may sound odd, this tasty salad combines multiple fruits that provide a good dose of hydration. In a large bowl combine: 1 container (16 oz.) fresh strawberries cut in half, 1 english cucumber cut in half lengthwise and then into ¼ inch slices, 1 cup cubed honeydew melon. Chill until ready to serve. Just before serving, whisk together: 3 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1 teaspoon grated lime zest and drizzle over the cut fruit, tossing gently to coat.

 

Finally, try this recipe at your next summer potluck. It is light, refreshing and has great flavor.

 

Cucumber and Chickpea Salad

3 cans (15 oz. each) chickpeas or garbanzo beans rinsed and drained
4 large cucumbers, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 packages (3.5 ounces each) feta cheese
1 cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup ranch salad dressing
2 tablespoons snipped fresh dill
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Combine cucumber, onion, feta, chickpeas. In a separate bowl mix ranch dressing, dill, salt and pepper, pour that over the salad ingredients, toss continuously to coat. Refrigerate covered for 1 hour before serving.

 

Why You Should Make Your Own Salad Dressing

By Dr. Alyssa Musgrove – Pathways to Healing

Last week, I shared a few of my favorite salad recipes to help you take advantage of the variety of spring and summer produce coming into season. Salads are a great way to boost your vegetable and nutrient intake, but it’s important to point out that how you dress your salad is just as important as what you put in it. Store-bought salad dressings can be a convenient option, but they often can turn a healthy choice into a calorie-dense, preservative-laden health bomb. 

Here are just a few reasons why you should consider skipping the store-bought stuff:

Added sugar. Ever sprinkle a couple teaspoons of sugar over that bowl of leafy greens before digging in?  If you’re using a store-bought dressing, you likely are. Sugar is a common ingredient in store-bought dressings, often hiding under the name of high fructose corn syrup or dextrose. Added sugar causes blood sugar spikes (which fuel cravings later on), depletes nutrients in the body and encourages weight gain.

Poor quality oils. It’s nearly impossible to find a store dressing made with high-quality, 100 percent extra-virgin olive oil. Rather, to keep production costs down, manufacturers often use canola, corn, sunflower or soybean oil. These cheap oils easily become rancid (which causes inflammation in the body) and have been shown to increase cholesterol.

Additives. The ingredient list of most salad dressings includes a litany of gums, thickeners, colors, flavors and preservatives. Even in small amounts, these chemical additives are toxic to the body. It’s always a good idea to avoid unnecessary additives – especially if you have food sensitivities.

Fortunately, making your own salad dressing couldn’t be easier. A homemade salad dressing not only tastes better, but it can also be whipped up in a matter of minutes – many times with ingredients you already have on hand. Here are a few of my favorite recipes to get you started:

Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard and garlic. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking continuously. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Maple-Dijon Dressing  (Courtesy of “The No Meat Athlete Cookbook”)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil (if doing oil free use 2 tablespoons of broth or water)
salt to taste
Combine the vinegar, maple syrup, mustard and pepper in a small jar with tight fitting lid. Whisk in the oil or broth in a slow, steady stream. Season with salt to taste. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Blueberry-Walnut Vinaigrette (Courtesy of “The No Meat Athlete Cookbook”)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup blueberries
¼ cup walnut pieces
1 tablespoon minced shallot or red onion
½ teaspoon dired thyme
½ teaspoon maple syrup
1-2 tablespoons water (optional)
salt and black pepper to taste

Puree the vinegar, blueberries and half of the walnuts in a blender until smooth, thinning it with 1 or 2 tablespoons of water if desired. Finely chop the rest of the walnuts. Transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and add the shallot or red onion, thyme and maple syrup. Shake to combine and seas with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least a few hours and up to 3 days to allow the flavors to meld.

Lemon-Tahini Dressing (Courtesy of “The No Meat Athlete Cookbook”)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 small garlic clove, chopped
½ cup tahini
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
¼ to ½ cup water

Pulse the lemon juice, maple syrup, garlic, tahini, salt and pepper in a high-speed blender to combine. Slowly add the water, starting with ¼ cup until it reaches your desired consistency. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.

Colorful Salad Ideas for Spring

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove, Pathways to Healing

Our bodies require a rainbow of nutrients for optimal health, and eating a variety of colors is one way to achieve this fundamental health goal. It can be easy to fall into the same eating routine once you find foods the entire family likes, but the truth is our bodies benefit from food variation. Children, especially, need a diversity of foods in their diets and adults benefit, as well.

Eating an assortment of colored fruits and vegetables is the best way to receive a complete range of the vitamins and minerals your body needs in order to function. Each fruit and vegetable has a distinctive color that indicates an abundance of unique nutrients. The range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables have enormous healing powers that can help our bodies thrive.

This week, try buying a new fruit or vegetable that is not usually on your shopping list and find a way to incorporate it into a meal. Below are a few of my favorite nutrient-dense salad recipes to help you get started.

Rainbow Chopped Salad with Avocado Vinaigrette
Salad:
8-10 red radishes, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
½ pint yellow cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 small zucchini, chopped
¼ small red cabbage, chopped
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped

Avocado vinaigrette:
1 soft avocado, peeled and pitted
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ cup avocado oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
¼ cup water, add more as needed

Place all vinaigrette ingredients in blender until smooth, taste and salt as needed. Chop all vegetables and toss together with dressing in a large bowl.

Colorful Kale salad
1 bag of organic kale or baby kale
1 tub of pomegranate seeds
Slivered almonds, pecans or walnuts
Crumbled feta or goat cheese
Healthy vinaigrette to taste

Toss all ingredients and enjoy.

Dr. Axe Raw Superfood Carrot Salad
Salad:
10 large shredded organic carrots
1 cup dried goji berries
4 organic green apples, chopped (you can use any color or what is on sale)
1 cup pecans

Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all salad ingredients and toss with vinaigrette in a large bowl. Serve chilled.

Asian Chicken Salad
Salad:
Handful of shredded kale, white cabbage or both!
2 slices purple cabbage
4 slivers of fresh ginger, roughly chopped
½ carrot, slivered
4 mini red bell peppers, cut into slivers
2 mini yellow bell peppers, cut into slivers
½ pulled rotisserie chicken, no skin
Handful of spring green peas, slivered
Handful of diced green onion
Handful of chopped cilantro
Handful of black sesame seeds
(Optional additions: red chili flakes, diced water chestnuts)

Dressing:
1/3 cup sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
¼ cup water
3 tablespoons Hoisin sauce

Heat oil, then add other ingredients and whisk together for 3-4 minutes. Let cool before dressing the salad.

Balsamic Beet Salad
Salad:
3 large beets
5 ounces mixed salad greens
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese

Vinaigrette:
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt

Cube the beets and place in a steamer basket over boiling water with lid on. Steam the beets until tender, 10-15 minutes. Combine the salad greens in a bowl and top with cooled beets and crumbled goat cheese. Make the dressing by combining the orange juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt in a small bowl and whisk. Drizzle over the salad just before serving.

Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.

Benefit Of Nuts

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

If you’re looking for a quick, convenient, nutrient-dense snack option, you really can’t do better than a small handful of raw nuts or seeds. There are a host of health benefits associated with eating raw nuts, which some experts even refer to as a “superfood.”

The Mayo Clinic notes that eating nuts can lower your LDL, or bad cholesterol, while improving the health of your artery linings.  In addition, nuts and seeds are an excellent source of protein, antioxidants, fiber, amino acids, minerals and omega oils. These nutrients boost heart, brain and digestive health, while fighting free radicals. The high fat and protein content of nuts also helps with satiety and controls hunger by stabilizing blood sugar.

Almonds are the most nutrient-dense nut. The almond skin is rich in antioxidants including phenols, flavonoids and phenolic acids. A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry revealed that one serving of almonds contains a similar amount of polyphenols as a cup of steamed broccoli or green tea! Almonds also have one of the highest protein contents of nuts, nearly one gram of protein per almond.

Brazil nuts contain a high amount of the trace mineral selenium, which is a powerful antioxidant and aids in boosting the immune system. It is believed that selenium can benefit heart health by its ability to fight inflammation and increase blood flow.

Cashews contain a large amount of oleic acid, a heart-healthy fat. They are also a great source of biotin, copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc.

Hazelnuts are rich in many antioxidants, as well as vitamin E, arginine and B vitamins.

Macadamia nuts have the highest protein concentration in one serving. They are also a great source of fiber, magnesium and potassium.

Pecans contain over 19 vitamins and minerals! They are second highest in protein content and include calcium, copper, folic acid, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and include B vitamins, as well as A and E.

Pine nuts may help with weight loss because they contain pinolenic acid, which triggers the release of an appetite-suppressing hormone. Pine nuts are most often used in recipes to make pesto.

Walnuts have recently been hailed a “superfood,” due to high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, linoleic acid, vitamin E, and vitamin B6.  Pumpkin seeds are a nutritional powerhouse with a wide variety of nutrients ranging from copper and zinc to magnesium and manganese, and are also high in protein. The high zinc content in pumpkin seeds can boost prostate health.

(It’s important to point out that, although commonly viewed as a nut, peanuts are actually legumes and grow underground. For a variety of reasons, I do not recommend my patients eat peanuts.)

While nuts and seeds are very healthy, they are high in fat and protein. It is very easy to overindulge in nuts, eating too many servings (and thus consuming too many calories) in one sitting. One serving is considered one ounce. The following list details how many nuts are in a single serving. Eating a variety of nuts is your best bet, and moderation is crucial.

Almonds (20-24 nuts): 160 calories, 14g fat, 6g protein

Brazil Nuts (6-8 nuts): 190 calories, 19g fat, 4g protein

Cashews (16-18 nuts): 160 calories, 14g fat, 4g protein

Hazelnuts (18-20 nuts): 180 calories, 17g fat, 4g protein

Macadamia (10-12 nuts): 200 calories, 22g fat, 2g protein

Pecans (18-20 halves): 200 calories, 20g fat, 3g protein

Pine Nuts (150-155 nuts): 160 calories, 14g fat, 7g protein

Walnuts (14 halves): 190 calories, 18g fat, 4g protein

Pumpkin seeds (140 hulled) calories 153, 13g fat, 7g protein

When purchasing nuts, look for raw options. Roasted nuts are often processed in hydrogenated oils (a harmful fat source), which destroys the nutritional benefit nuts have in their raw form.  Additionally, roasted nuts are frequently coated in sugar or other unhealthy ingredients.  If you prefer roasted nuts and seeds, roast them yourself so that you can control the roasting temperature to keep the nuts as nutrient-dense as possible. Raw pumpkin seeds, for instance, can be roasted on a low-heat setting in the oven (no more than 170 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 to 20 minutes), and sprinkled with Himalayan or other natural salts.

Nuts are a simple addition to your daily diet. Add pumpkin seeds to healthy sautéed vegetables. Sprinkle nuts on top of a mixed green salad for enhanced crunch. Add chopped nuts to hot oatmeal to increase the protein and fiber content. Eat nuts with your fruit and yogurt, or add to your granola. You can also create a simple pre- or post-workout snack by mixing nuts with dates and dried fruit for a healthy homemade 3-ingredient energy bar.  Or, throw together this simple trail mix for an easy snack on the go:

Superfood Trail Mix

Recipe courtesy of thehealthyfamilyandhome.com

  • 1 cup organic almonds
  • 1 cup organic cashews
  • 1/2 cup organic goji berries
  • 1/2 cup organic dried mulberries
  • 1/2 cup organic dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup organic sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup organic cacao nibs
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut flakes

Combine all ingredients in a medium size bowl and toss well. Store in an air-tight container until ready to eat.

Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.