Food Tips: Health benefits of nuts and seeds

Food Network Kitchens - Incorporate a handful of these crunchy snacks into your diet.

Although high in calories, nuts often enable people to maintain or lose weight. A small handful eaten between meals or added to salads, grains or vegetables gives a sense of satiety and results in less total food intake. Nuts have great nutritional benefits, as well.

-- Almonds, pecans and pistachios are rich in protein.

-- Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids.

-- Toss sesame seeds in a meal for extra calcium and vitamin E.

-- Sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds are particularly good sources of phytosterols, also known as plant sterols, which promote heart health.

Since nuts are high in fats, they can easily become rancid. Store them in the freezer to extend their life. Nuts are also delicious, so it's a good idea to practice portion control. Measure out small portions and take care to not eat them mindlessly from a large container.

(For more information, visit www.foodnetwork.com. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.)

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