Q: “I suffer from constipation and I find the best way to manage this is to eat a reasonable portion of fresh unsalted nuts each evening. Despite regular daily exercise, I have put on a bit of weight. Are you able to advise which types of nuts have the least fat content? I’m thinking these nuts may be one of the reasons for the weight gain.”
A: HFG nutritionist Claire Turnbull responds:
Unsalted nuts are packed with healthy fats, protein and a range of different vitamins and minerals. They are, however, high in energy (kJ). The number of kJ/100g nuts does vary from nut to nut, mainly because of the variation in the fat content of different nuts. One-quarter cup of macadamias has 1040kJ and one-quarter cup of cashews, 890kJ.
If you are watching your weight, limit your nuts in the evening to a small handful: 25-30g. Remember that different types of nuts have different nutritional benefits so enjoying a mix of nuts would be fine, keeping portion size in mind.
You could make your own mix of nuts to enjoy and also add some sunflower and pumpkin seeds, too — they are similar in kJ content to almonds and also have a similar amount of fibre.
Even though nuts may help you keep regular, there are lots of other ways to help keep your bowels moving. Try adding one tablespoon of oat bran, wheat bran or psyllium husks to your cereal or to a smoothie in the morning to boost fibre. Be sure you are having more than three handfuls of vegetables each day and keep up your fluid intake, too! A kiwifruit a day has also been shown to be helpful to keep things moving.