Share on Pinterest Peanuts are often more affordable than other types of nuts. Almonds have become increasingly popular in recent years and are now available in many places. Nuts such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts, peanuts and hazelnuts are a great source of nutrients, such as protein, fat, fiber, vitamins and minerals. We've rounded up the 10 healthiest nuts to graze, with approved nutritional information on how you can enjoy them in your diet.
Walnuts are nutrient-dense edible seed grains enclosed in a hard shell; and include almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and pistachios, as well as cashews, pine nuts, pecans, macadamias, and Brazil nuts. Although chestnuts (Castanea sativa) are tree nuts, they differ from other common varieties because they are more starchy and lower in fat. Often considered a “nut”, peanuts are technically legumes, just like peas and beans. Sweet-tasting almonds have a number of health benefits.
Eating almonds with the skin can provide even greater benefits; supports gut health by promoting the growth of beneficial strains of bacteria, including lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. The skin is also full of protective compounds called flavonoids, which have antioxidant benefits. Recipe suggestionsSpiced almond butter Moroccan lamb with apricots, almonds and mintCheesecake cake with strawberries and almonds Originating from an Amazon tree, Brazil nuts are one of the richest food sources of the mineral selenium. Selenium is a mineral that acts as a protective antioxidant, supports immunity and helps heal wounds.
You only need one to three Brazil nuts a day to get all the selenium you need, because we only need this mineral in very small quantities. Brazil nuts, which also contain vitamin E and the polyphenols of ellagic and gallic acid, improve our defense mechanisms and help regulate blood lipids. Recipe suggestionsBurritosChicken with pomegranate and Brazil nuts Studies suggest that including cashews in the diet may help improve blood lipid levels and lower blood pressure, contributing to heart health. A popular and versatile ingredient, chestnuts are low in fat and calories, and are a good source of protective antioxidants.
By far the least fat and calorie nut, chestnuts are rich in starchy carbohydrates and fiber, and in their raw form they are a good source of vitamin C. They have less protein than other nuts, but when ground they can be used as gluten-free flour for cakes and pastries. Hazelnuts are rich in a number of nutrients, including vitamin E. Sweet and creamy, pecans are popular in desserts and sweet pastries.
Recipe suggestionsPumpkin% 26% spinach fusilli with pecansRoasted beet, plum %26 pecan saladFino %26 poached peaches with walnut crunchy ginger These small nuts are a key ingredient in pesto and are a nutritious addition to salads, pastas or sauces. Botanically, pine nuts are actually a seed rather than a nut and are derived from different species of pineapples. Animal studies suggest that pine nuts help lower fasting blood glucose levels, and their rich polyphenol content may help prevent some of the health complications associated with diabetes. However, more clinical trials are needed to understand the effects of foods rich in polyphenols and how much we need to include in our diets to achieve these results.
Recipe suggestionsSpinach with pine nuts %26 garlicSuper green soup with yogurt %26 pine nutsRoasted eggplant salad with raisins %26 pine nuts Eating walnuts seems not only to benefit us but also our gut bacteria, this was seen in an eight-week study that followed 194 healthy adults who consumed 43 g of walnuts every day. The findings showed an increase in the number of beneficial gut bacteria and especially those that produce short-chain fatty acid butyrate, which among other benefits has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Sure, technically they are legumes and not nuts, but nutritionally, they belong to this list. A recent study in the journal Nutrients found that the combination of fiber, fat and protein in peanuts helped control blood sugar in diabetics.
And peanuts have a higher content of both protein (seven grams per ounce) and plant sterols, the natural compounds that can prevent cholesterol from being absorbed into the blood. When it comes to nuts, almonds get all the love. That's right; you probably have small packets of almond butter (thank you, Justin's) in the bottom of your bag, almond milk in the fridge, and chocolate-covered almonds in your pantry. But are nuts really healthier? Basically, you can't go wrong, so feel free to mix up your crazy game.
Here are 10 super healthy picks to load, from almonds and more. Some research has even linked the consumption of almonds to a lower risk of developing colon cancer. Just keep in mind that a one-ounce serving of almonds equals approximately 24 nuts, so keep an eye on your portions. The creamy texture of cashews also makes them an excellent substitute for dairy products, says Jones.
Try using ground salted cashew nuts as a substitute for Parmesan. Add nuts to banana bread or oatmeal, or eat an unground snack. Walnuts are the only nut with an excellent source of plant omega-3 fatty acids, says Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RDN, author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean and owner of Bazilian's Health in San Diego. While some other nuts contain small amounts of omega-3, Bazilian points out that none of them come close to nut levels.
Another important aspect of walnuts is their polyphenol content. According to research that evaluated nuts and peanuts, walnuts have the highest amount of polyphenols, which are beneficial plant compounds that can play a role in a variety of diseases and health outcomes, says Bazilian. Research results show that compared to control diets, diets enriched with nuts resulted in significantly greater decreases in total and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Bazilian also shares that walnuts contain prebiotics, a non-digestible fiber that feeds probiotics and has been shown to have a positive impact on gut bacteria.
She notes that walnuts contain melatonin as well, an important plant compound that plays a role in helping maintain healthy circadian rhythms and supporting quality sleep. And fascinating research from UCLA suggests that walnuts may play a role in male fertility. This nut that grows on trees in the Amazon rainforest may not be as well known as others on the list, but it is a real source of nutrition. With a smooth texture and delicate flavor, this larger nut is an excellent source of various antioxidants and vitamins.
Brazil nuts stand out for their selenium content, a nutrient with many antioxidant functions and properties, including protecting the body against oxidative damage and infections. Moon also notes that pistachios produce more nuts per serving (about 49 pistachios, compared to 23 almonds or 18 cashews). Shelled pistachios are a kitchen staple and are easy to add to any meal or snack, but shelled pistachios can encourage you to slow down and eat more carefully. Leftover shells can be a visual cue for portions, potentially helping to slow intake, shares Moon.
This creamy, buttery nut is grown in the volcanic soil of the Philippine Peninsula. They are among the highest sources of magnesium in nuts, a mineral important for regulating muscle and nerve function, energy production, blood pressure control and bone health; a 30 g serving provides 89 mg of magnesium or 20% of the daily value, making it an excellent source of nutrients. Nutrition Facts (1 ounce, approximately 28 g) Although not technically a nut (peanuts belong to the legume family), this snack staple has a nutrient profile similar to other nuts and offers great health benefits. Peanuts are an excellent source of niacin, an important B vitamin that helps convert food into energy, as well as manganese, which is important for processing cholesterol.
But some of the most important benefits of peanuts are environmental; because they grow in the ground, peanuts use substantially less water than nuts to grow. In addition, they naturally replenish and enrich the soil with nitrogen. Options like Hampton Farms salt-free shelled peanuts approved by GH nutritionists allow you to open each shell, which is a fun stress reliever that can also allow you to slow down and eat more mindfully. Being especially rich in vitamin E means that including these small nuts in your diet can help maintain healthy skin and protect against aging.
Pistachios are a good source of numerous nutrients, including vitamin B6, which the body needs for nutrient metabolism and immune function (1). Find out how walnuts, almonds and other nuts can help lower cholesterol when eaten as part of a balanced diet. As a result, nuts can improve heart health and reduce the risk of dying prematurely from heart disease and other causes. More and more research continues to show the nutritional benefits of incorporating nuts into your diet, from protecting against chronic diseases to promoting longevity.
Keep in mind that you could end up negating the heart-healthy benefits of walnuts if they are covered in chocolate, sugar, or salt. They are one of the nuts with the highest concentration of antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote eye health. The latter may explain the results of a recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in which researchers recruited more than 100 men between 1 and 35 years old and made them eat a nut snack containing almonds for 14 weeks. Almonds contain more fiber than any other nut (about three grams per ounce) and are also the highest in vitamin E.
When eaten as part of a nutrient-rich diet, nuts can reduce the risk of heart disease and support immune health, among other benefits. The Journal of Nutrition published research showing reduced body weight, abdominal fat and blood pressure in obese people after eating 15 percent of their calories from almonds for 12 weeks. There's also notable research showing that eating a handful of nuts a day could help you live a longer, healthier life. They have been around since biblical times and have been touted as one of the healthiest nuts (and foods in general) for almost the same time.