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The Game Day Snack Choice for the New England Patriots: Pistachios?

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  January 16, 2014 08:24 PM

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Bryan Snyder, Broncos (left), Ted Harper, Patriots (right)
Could pistachios be the secret weapon game plan for winning the AFC Championship game on Sunday?  Maybe. Ted Harper, Team Sports Dietitian for the New England Patriots and Bryan Snyder, Team Nutrition Manager for the Denver Broncos may be including them on the training table because of their health and longevity benefits. 

Both sports dietitians have recently signed on as ambassadors to the American Pistachio Growers’ nutrition education program to tout the heart-healthy benefits of pistachios.  A recent, large study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that individuals who ate about a handful of nuts daily had a 20 percent lower death rate over the 3-year study period.

While they are rivals on the playing field, both Harper and Snyder agree that pistachios are an ideal snack, whether you are a professional athlete or an armchair spectator, according to a press release written by the American Pistachio Growers.  (Note to Coach Belichick: I hope you are also snacking on nuts at half-time.  We would like to keep you around for another decade… least.)  

Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, and pistachios, are not only good sources of protein but also fiber, vitamin E, and potassium, which are three nutrients many Americans are falling short of in their diets.  Nuts also contain phytochemicals that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help your body fight against heart disease and certain cancers.   A handful of nuts can be a healthy daily snack to round off a well-balanced diet.
However, be careful that you don’t mindlessly chow down unlimited amounts of nuts, especially when watching Sunday’s AFC Championship game.  A cup of mixed nuts weighs in at about 900 calories.  That’s a hefty amount of calories to consume sitting sedentarily on the sidelines cheering the Patriots to another victory.   Keep to a healthy handful.

Be well, Joan

If you have topic you would like me to cover on my blog, please email me at:

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Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.
This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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