My boys have been back to school for almost 4 weeks now. It’s taken me 4 weeks to feel like I am not going crazy from our new routine. Just when I started to feel like I was going nuts, things have finally calmed down a bit. Managing 3 boys with different school schedules, homework (yes, homework in K5!), soccer, tennis, birthday parties, swim lessons, and gymnastics in conjunction with my working out, volunteer activities, studying, business, and social life has almost pushed me over the edge. Thankfully, I am at a point in my life where I am learning to prioritize, organize, plan well, and say no. Finally getting into a good groove.
Feeling a little nuts the past few weeks made me think of doing some research on nuts. LOL. And with my tiny bit crazy life right now, I realized how great nuts are to incorporate into my family’s daily life. In fact, I now drive around with a package of mixed nuts in the front seat of my lovely minivan. One more thing to add to the food on my floor – really if I get a pet, it’s going to be a mouse….who can live in my car.
Anyways, onto a quick summary of my nut research. Going to start with walnuts since they are great for people who are stressed out! A 2010 study conducted by Pennsylvania State University found that consuming walnuts (about 18 halves/day over the course of six weeks) reduced both resting blood pressure and blood pressure response to stress (walnut oil also had a similar benefit in this study). Another 2010 study, published in The Journal of the American College of Nutrition, found that consuming almonds can improve insulin sensitivity, helping to prevent prediabetes and diabetes, and lowering cardiovascular risk factors. (That will definitely be a nut in my mix since I face some insulin challenges.) Almonds have also been shown to help lower cholesterol, maintain weight loss and reduce oxidative damage from smoking.
Next, is a southern favorite, the pecan. Pecans may be able to boost your heart health and reduce your risk of cancer simply by eating them for snacks according to a study published in the January 2011 issue of the Journal of Nutrition. Researchers at Loma Linda University found that people who ate about three ounces of pecans daily had double the amount of gamma-tocopherol (vitamin E) and a third less LDL cholesterol in the hours after pecan consumption. Another nut may also reduce your risk of cancer by boosting your blood levels of lutein, beta-caratene, and gamma-tocopherol…that would be pistachios. Studies have shown that people who eat 1.5-3.0 ounces of pistachios per day have higher amounts of the antioxidants (lutein, beta caratene, and gamma-tocopherol). Pistachios are also rich in Vitamin B6, manganese, and copper.
Lastly, I did a little reading on pine nuts. These seeds of pine trees provide as much phosphorous as soybeans. They are also loaded with thiamin, riboflavin and niacin (a variety of B Vitamins). Unfortunately, pine nuts are a little pricey and there is some potential for confusion. There are edible pine nuts (Pinus koraiensis) and non-edible pine nuts (Pinus armandii) – so make sure your grocer secures his/her pine nuts from a reputable source. The non-edible nuts may result in “pine mouth,” a condition that causes everything to taste bitter and metallic.
I’m sure many of you can relate to my life for the past 4 weeks. So, take a deep breath, focus on finding your groove, and grab an occasional handful of nuts to keep from going nuts.