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Health Nuts

These tasty nutritional all-stars offer a bounty of vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and good-for-you fats. Here are a backpacker's four best bets.
may 09 health nuts mandel 445x260(Photo by Mitch Mandel)

Almonds
Full of the antioxidant vitamin E, these nuts help prevent illness by boosting your immune system and earn top marks for fiber, which keeps you, uh, regular on long hikes.
Beyond gorp Spread a packet of Justin’s Maple Almond Butter ($1.20, justinsnutbutter.com) on crackers or energy bars; mix roasted, slivered almonds into instant chocolate pudding.

Cashews
This rich choice wins top honors for magnesium, which helps protect against headaches, soreness, and fatigue on the trail.
Beyond gorp Add to stews, rice pilafs, and whole grains (such as quinoa); pan-fry 3 cups cashews with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder for a spicy treat.

Macadamias These buttery nuts are 75 percent fat by weight, 80 percent of which is monounsaturated. Translation: They’re energy-packed and heart-healthy, which is key on demanding thru-hikes or cold-weather treks. Half of a cup per day delivers optimum benefits.
Beyond gorp Use as topping for camp-oven brownies; crush and sprinkle on fish or beef dinners.

Walnuts This nut is one of the few plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which help guard against heart disease and act as anti-inflammatory agents on aching muscles.
Beyond gorp Mix into oatmeal; toast in a skillet for 3 to 5 minutes and add to pastas and soups.

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