Many nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, can have numerous positive effects on health, according to the Mayo Clinic. When eaten as a part of a nutritious diet, they're known for helping to reduce people's risk of heart disease and preventing cognitive decline. Try mixing them in with a few popular desserts for a healthy twist on your favorite snacks.
The Mayo Clinic noted that while all nuts have health benefits, some have more nutrients and fats that improve heart and brain health than others. Nuts like almonds, pistachios, walnuts and macadamias have been associated with reducing seniors' chances of developing brain-related health problems like dementia and heart disease, according to SFGate.
Protein, unsaturated fats, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E are just a few of the substances that can be found in most nuts. Combine these nutrients with your favorite dessert for a treat that's sweet and delicious with a healthy kick. Here are a couple of recipes to try:
Italian Almond Cookies
This tasty treat is known for being soft and chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. With a total cooking time of just over 30 minutes, these cookies are a quick and easy fall dessert.
- 2 lbs. almond paste
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 8 egg whites
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 cups sliced almonds
After preheating the oven to 350 F, mix together the flour, almond paste, white sugar, egg whites and confections' sugar in a large bowl until blended. Pour the sliced almonds into a separate bowl and scoop out small portions of the dough - teaspoon-sized scoops. Roll the balls of dough in the almonds until completely covered. The dough will be sticky, so covering the balls should be easy. Place them on two greased cookie sheets. Bake for 15-20 minutes until they're golden brown and allow to cool before serving.
Pear crumble is a refreshing after-dinner snack. If you aren't a fan of pears, the dessert can be made with apples as well. The overall time to make the dessert is around one and a half hours, so make sure you've set aside plenty of time to create the dish.
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup whole-wheat or all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 5 Tbsp. canola oil
- 3 1/2 lbs. ripe but firm Anjou pears, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. minced crystallized ginger
Heat the oven to 350 F and start preparing the topping. Mix walnuts, oats, flour and brown sugar in a bowl before drizzling with oil and stirring. Next, prepare the filling by combining flour, lemon juice, maple syrup, pears and ginger in a large bowl. Mix well and pour into a baking dish. Sprinkle the pears and other toppings on top of your first mixture and bake for 45-50 minutes until the pears are golden. Let it cool for 10 minutes before eating.
Pistachio fudge is a great treat to bring along when visiting your grandchildren or during a fall celebration like Halloween in your assisted living community. The preparation can be done quickly, but be warned that the fudge can take over two hours to cool.
- 3/4 cup evaporated milk
- 2 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 cups marshmallow creme
- 1 cup chopped pistachio nuts
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Over medium heat, boil sugar, milk and butter in a saucepan for around 4 minutes. Then remove from the heat and stir in the marshmallow creme, pistachios and vanilla extract. Pour into a greased saucepan and let cool before cutting into squares and serving.
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