We now have more reason to go nuts for nuts (and seeds!). In a joint study by American and French researchers published in April in the International Journal of Epidemiology, rates of cardiovascular disease among 81,337 subjects during a mean follow-up time of 9.4 years were 60% higher in those who consumed the most protein from meat, while rates of this deadly ailment were 40% lower in those who ate the most protein from nuts and seeds. (Cox regression analysis was used to estimate the hazard ratios, which were adjusted for dietary components and sociodemographic and lifestyle factors.)

So, yes, there might be something about the unique protein in nuts and seeds (e.g., almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds) that makes them kind to our hearts. And don’t forget that this protein is bundled with a powerful mix of healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that work together to keep our heartbeat strong.

That makes these great balls of energy a heart-smart snack to help power any workout or quell an afternoon hunger attack. Curry may seem out of place, but it adds a nice touch of savory flavor as a counterpoint to the sweetness of apricots.

Pro tip: Try stashing a few pieces of ginger in the freezer, as it’s easier to finely grate ginger when it’s frozen. (Use grated ginger in recipes like this one and in salad dressings, dips and hot drinks.) Serves 12.

1½ C unsalted roasted cashews
2 C dried apricots
½ C dried unsweetened coconut
⅓ C unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
2 T honey
1 T fresh lemon or lime juice
2 t grated or finely minced fresh ginger
1½ t yellow curry powder
¼ t salt

Place cashews in a food processor container and process until finely chopped. Add apricots, coconut, sunflower seeds, honey, lemon or lime juice, ginger, curry powder, and salt. Process until mixture clumps together. Using damp hands, form mixture into 1-inch balls. You should get about 24 balls. Keep balls chilled for up to 1 week.