The Least Expensive Nuts and Seeds for Heart Health

Did you know that incorporating nuts into your daily diet can significantly lower your LDL cholesterol by 5-7%, triglycerides by 5-10%, and reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events by 28%? However, with the rising cost of food, can you really afford to include nuts in your diet? Let’s explore the least expensive nuts and seeds that are budget-friendly without compromising your heart health.

Exploring Local Price Comparison

To determine the most affordable options, we compare in-store prices from a Costco in Calgary, Canada, and online prices from Real Canadian Superstore. Please note that prices may vary in different regions, but the relative order of affordability should remain similar. Here’s a chart showcasing the prices at both stores, with Costco generally offering the lowest prices.

chart of nut and seed prices at Superstore and Costco

Considering Other Factors

While price is an important consideration, there are other factors to keep in mind when purchasing food. Taste, health impacts, allergies, convenience, ethics, and sustainability all play a role. However, for the sake of simplicity, let’s focus primarily on price. Nonetheless, it’s essential to remember the following key points about nuts, seeds, and their impact on health:

  • Nuts and seeds are a welcome addition to a heart-healthy diet. Don’t let their fat and calorie content deter you. They are nutrient-dense powerhouses that can help curb your appetite.
  • There isn’t one “healthiest” nut or seed. They all contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats, antioxidants, and various other nutrients. Some stand out for specific reasons, such as walnuts and chia seeds for their omega-3 content. In terms of health, enjoy a variety of your favorites.

Tips for Cost-Effective Nut and Seed Consumption

Now, let’s get back to dollars and cents. Here are some key findings to help you enjoy nuts and seeds without breaking the bank:

  1. Buy in Bulk: Purchase the largest package size that makes sense for you. As the package size increases, the unit price usually decreases substantially.
  2. Store Wisely: Store nuts and seeds in the freezer or refrigerator. This practice ensures their freshness for a few months at room temperature. However, refrigerating them extends their shelf life to about a year, while freezing can keep them fresh for two or more years.
  3. Affordable Options: In our survey, Costco emerged as the least expensive retailer on average. Superstore prices were 25% higher than Costco’s for nuts and seeds. Some items like pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, and shelled pistachios were over 70% more expensive at Superstore. If you enjoy these, it may be worth a trip to Costco.
  4. Organic Considerations: If cost is a concern, you don’t necessarily need to buy organic. The evidence supporting the nutritional benefits of organic plant foods over conventionally grown plants is not consistent.
  5. Unit Cost Matters: Pay attention to the unit cost. On average, Superstore prices were $2.54 per 100g, while Costco’s were $2.03 per 100g. Keep in mind that there can be significant variability between sales, bulk bins, and different brands.
  6. Value in Peanuts and Sunflower Seeds: Don’t underestimate the value of peanuts and sunflower seeds. Peanuts offer similar heart and longevity benefits as more expensive nuts, while sunflower seeds are rich in antioxidants like vitamin E and selenium. They are both excellent choices for heart health on a budget.
  7. Consider Pumpkin Seeds: If you have a Costco membership, consider adding pumpkin seeds to your shopping list. In Calgary, they are among the least expensive options ($1.06 per 100g) and also offer a good source of protein. They taste great on oatmeal, salads, or as a snack.

Will You Change Your Eating Habits?

Since conducting this analysis, our eating habits have shifted. My husband now snacks on peanuts more frequently, enjoying them as much as cashews. We have also started using more sunflower and pumpkin seeds in baked oats, granola, and trail mixes. Additionally, I was pleasantly surprised to find that chia seeds were relatively affordable. I always thought they were considered a luxury item. Now, knowing they are a good source of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber, I incorporate them into my meals more than ever before.

While cost is not the only factor to consider, it does play a significant role for most of us when making healthy food choices. How about you? Will this information change your eating habits? Do you have any other strategies for stretching your food budget when it comes to nuts and seeds? Join the conversation in the Sweet Spot Facebook group and share your insights.

P.S. If the cost of food is a priority for you, I have conducted a similar survey for fruits and vegetables. Check it out here.

Note: This post is not sponsored by any brand. I value authenticity and independence in all my content.

Related Articles

Back to top button