Sweet treats can be made with healthy ingredients and without added processed sugars. Dried fruit is a great natural sweetener and works well in many dessert recipes. Medjool dates (very soft and moist), organic dates, walnuts, and rolled oats are all on sale at Mother Earth’s this month!
½ cup dates (the moister, the better)—rough chopped
¼ cup dried plums (prunes)—rough chopped
¼ cup shredded coconut
¼ cup walnuts
¼ cup almonds
¼ cup rolled oats
Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
Add all ingredients to a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Grind until all ingredients are well combined and begin to hold together. Roll into small balls or transfer onto wax or parchment paper and cut into squares. Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!
Benefits of Almonds
Natural, unsalted almonds are a tasty and nutritious snack with plenty of health benefits. Loaded with minerals, they are also among the healthiest of tree nuts. Just a handful of nutrient-rich almonds a day helps promote heart health and prevents weight gain, and it may even help fight diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
Eating about 23 almonds a day is an easy way to incorporate many crucial nutrients into your diet. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Additionally, almonds are a significant source of protein and fiber, while being naturally low in sugar. One 23-almond serving packs 13 grams of healthy unsaturated fats, 1 gram of saturated fat and no cholesterol or salt. Of all tree nuts, almonds rank highest in protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin and niacin content by weight. There are 160 calories in 23 almonds. While many of these calories come from fat, it is primarily the healthy unsaturated fats and not the unhealthy saturated kind. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fats as are found in olive oil, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease.
Health Benefits of Walnuts
- Lower Blood Pressure
Thanks to the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids they contain, walnuts are very beneficial to all aspects of the cardiovascular system. Research has found that just a few walnuts per day may help to reduce blood pressure.
- Lower Cholesterol
Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to effectively lower cholesterol levels. People with high cholesterol can significantly lower their levels by eating walnuts and other foods that are high in fiber and essential fatty acids.
- Cancer Prevention
Research has found walnuts to be promising in the fight against cancer. Studies on human subjects found that a few walnuts per day significantly reduced the risk of prostate cancer, while animal studies have found similar results on the risk of breast cancer.
- Brain Health
The omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts are great for the brain. Eating walnuts as well as other foods high in omega-3s such as seafood and flaxseed can maintain and improve memory and overall cognitive function.
- Good Digestion
Because walnuts are rich in fiber, they are a great way to keep your digestive system healthy. Getting enough fiber on a daily basis is essential to keeping your bowels functioning correctly. Most sources of protein, such as meat and dairy, are lacking in fiber. So, you can get both the protein benefits and fiber benefits at the same time by eating walnuts.
- Healthy Hair
The selenium, zinc, biotin and essential fatty acids in walnuts help to promote healthy, shiny, strong hair.
- Gallstone Prevention
Recent studies have shown that eating nuts on a daily basis can help to prevent gallstones. Add walnuts to your cereal or snack on a few between meals to prevent gallbladder disease.
- Better Sleep
Walnuts contain bio-available melatonin, which has been found to improve sleeping patterns. Adding a few walnuts into your daily meal plan may help you to rest better at night.
One of the essential fatty acids in walnuts is called alpha linolenic acid, and this compound has been associated with stronger, healthier bones. When you are getting omega-3 fatty acids on a regular basis, inflammation will decrease, and lower levels of inflammation are related to stronger bones.
Even though walnuts are high in calories and contain fat, they can actually help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. The fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals can boost your health and help you to avoid eating too many other foods that are high in calories but low in nutrition.