Chances are you’ve heard about the health benefits of certain nuts. For example, almonds boost bone health, improve brain functions, and lower cholesterol. Meanwhile, pecans are rich in antioxidants. It’s not just adults who should be munching on these salty snacks—a new study found that eating nuts while in your teens can lead to important health benefits. Consuming a small amount of nuts every day can decrease cardiovascular risks in adolescents.
Adolescents who ate at least 12.9 grams (g) per day of nuts — the equivalent of eating a small handful three times per week — had less than half the odds of non-eaters for developing metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of early heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Currently, 1 in 9 teens in the U.S. has metabolic syndrome. To analyze the health benefits of nuts, researchers conducted a sample study on more than 2,200 teens ages 12-19, over the course of a seven year period from 2003-2010.
While there are huge benefits of consuming more nuts, most teens aren’t snacking on them. According to the survey, more than 75 percent of teens reported eating no nuts at all.
If you want to help your teens incorporate more nuts into their diet, try these tips!
- Add cashews or walnuts on top of yogurt
- Make trail mix filled with plenty of almonds
- Grab a handful of pistachios as a snack between meals
When all else fails, try checking out Pinterest! The site is filled with tons of snack-spiration, especially if you’re looking for ways to incorporate certain foods into your diet—or trying to get teens to add them to theirs.
For more about healthier snacking, check out the “Are You Being Snacked To Death?” story from the October issue of Choices. Choices is a teen health, well-being, and life skills magazine published by Scholastic.