First in the series of healthy eating.

1) Almonds and Other Nuts

Eat them with skins intact.

Superpowers: Building muscle, fighting food cravings

Secret weapons: Protein, monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, folate (in peanuts), fiber, magnesium, phosphorus

Fight against: Obesity, heart disease, muscle loss, cancer

Sidekicks: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, avocados

Impostors: Salted or smoked nuts. High sodium spikes blood pressure.

Why you should eat this?

These days, you hear about good fats and bad fats the way you hear about good cops and bad cops. One’s on your side, and one’s going to beat you silly. Oreos fall into the latter category, but nuts are clearly out to help you. They contain the monounsaturated fats that clear your arteries and help you feel full. All nuts are high in protein and monounsaturated fat. But almonds are like Jack Nicholson in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest: They’re the king of the nuts. Eat as much as two handfuls a day. If you eat 2 ounces of almonds (about 24 of them), it can suppress your appetite–especially if you wash them down with 8 ounces of water. For a quick popcorn alternative, spray a handful of almonds with nonstick cooking spray and bake them at 400 degrees F for 5 to 10 minutes. Take them out of the oven and sprinkle them with either a brown sugar and cinnamon mix or cayenne pepper and thyme.

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