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Snack smarter with nuts

Keep hunger at bay and give your body the essential nutrients it needs by swapping your mid-afternoon vending machine snack for a handful of mixed nuts

As healthy, handy and delicious snacks go, you’d be hard pressed to find many things better than nuts. So long as they’re not ready salted, honey roasted or chocolate covered, a handful of nuts can keep hunger pangs at bay and provide an on-the-go dose of protein, fats and essential vitamins and minerals.

And not only are regular nut-eaters more likely to be leaner than those who aren’t, they’re also 30% less likely to die from heart disease and 11% less likely to die from cancer, according to a study of more than 120,000 Americans, published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

So stick a Tupperware box of mixed nuts in your work drawer, or carry a bag around with you to snack smarter to not only get leaner, but also become healthier. Here’s five of our favourite nuts and what makes them so good.

Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts are one of the very best dietary sources of selenium, a powerful antioxidant and an essential micronutrient involved in metabolism regulation. They are also packed with vitamin E, for better skin, magnesium, for better sleep, and zinc, which promotes testosterone production.

Hazelnuts
Hazelnuts, so long as they’re not covered in chocolate, are a great source of skin-saving vitamin E, and the essential minerals phosphorus, manganese and magnesium, with more than 30% of your recommended daily intake of each in 100g, as well as a decent dose of vitamin K for stronger bones.

Almonds
Almonds contain high amounts of the B vitamins, specifically niacin and riboflavin, which play a major role in efficiently releasing energy from the food you eat. They are also high in calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium, all essential minerals for optimal health.

Walnuts
Walnuts are high in fibre for better digestive health, full of B vitamins for better energy production, and a great source of manganese, an essential mineral that’s an antioxidant and involved in metabolism. And not only do they look like mini brains, they are also good for yours, thanks to high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

Pecans
Pecans are packed with the trace mineral phosphorus, which plays an essential role in providing cells with energy, as well as strengthening tooth enamel. They are also rich in iron, which improves blood cell health, as well as zinc and magnesium.

Want to lose fat without giving up your favourite foods? Here’s 5 ways to meal prep like a pro!