Health Benefits
Determining if a specific food is healthy depends on interpretation. One thing that experts (including the USDA) are clear on is increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains for good health. The Harvard School of Public Health concludes that you should acquire more of your daily protein needs from sourcesfruitNuts other than red meat, including nuts and seeds — which are often found in trail mix.

We know that trail mixes can be healthy but what are exactly the nutritional benefits? First we must say that not all mixes are created equal. Some mixes contain great amounts of sugar and fat. If you purchase them at the store you must read the nutrition labels on the package. Trail mix can be full of protein and vitamins and full of calories from fat, too.  The glycemic index is one way to determine if a food can metabolize — or be turned into energy — quickly. Some examples of these carbs are pineapples, bananas, and raisins, all of which are often used in a dehydrated form in trail mix. Nuts and seeds are the protein foundation for trail mix. Most commonly, you’ll find peanuts, almonds or cashews, as well as sunflower or pumpkin seeds in your mix.  Avoid trail mixes that are loaded with candy or sugar added dry fruits.  These choices offer empty calories that don’t really offer any nutritional benefits.  Some mixes use other foods — like crystallized ginger or shredded coconut — to satisfy the sweet tooth and add healthier nutrients than candy.

Trail mix can be very nutritional and healthy.  It all depends on what is in it.  Listed below are just a few of the many health benefits that can make up this perfect snack.

Sunflower Seeds

  • Cardiovascular Benefits
  • Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
  • Cancer Prevention
  • Bone Health

Almonds

  • Regulation of Cholesterol
  • Good for your heart
  • Immune System Strength
  • Regulation of blood pressure
  • Good for pregnancy
  • Weight Loss
  • Boosts energy

Raisins

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • A natural antacid
  • Constipation
  • Mood Alleviator

We must also take into consideration the portion size. In some cases a small handful of trail mix can be about 500-700 calories!  This brings us to an important concept. Make the trail mix yourself!!!  In Part 3 of Trail Mix – The Ultimate Travel Snack we will discuss how to purchase, portion, and package your own trail mix.  We will also give you links to some great recipes.

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