Today is National Nut Day (who knew?) so I thought I’d bring to light some of my favorite things about this often overlooked snack.  We’ve all heard that nuts are one of the best plant sources of protein and that they are rich in fiber,  phytonutrients and antioxidants.  Nuts are also high in plant sterols and fat – but mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 – the good fats), which have all been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. A2Z of Health, Beauty and Fitness provides a great starter list of the specific health benefits of each nut but the list is endless and eating a broad range of nuts is best.

I’m so nuts about nuts that someone gave me the most fabulous book called Party Nuts! that contains 50 recipes for spicy, sweet, savory, and simply sensational nuts that will be the hit of any gathering – great for the upcoming holidays! Now the recipes aren’t as easy as dumping a jar of peanuts into a bowl – but they aren’t  much more difficult either. Curried garlic peanuts, vanilla walnuts, three-pepper almonds, sugared bourbon pecans…you get the idea. Real Simple also covers three easy party nut recipes in their November issue such as Buttered Nuts wtih Rosemary & Orange.

Obviously it goes without saying that nuts should not be eaten by anyone with an allergy to them.  And for snacking, it’s best to stick with the raw, unsalted variety.