The Complete Guide to the Health Benefits of Nuts
Written: January, 2, 2019 (Updated on June 9, 2019)
Which nuts are healthiest for you? Even though nuts are small in size, they offer big rewards when it comes to nutritional value. Research shows that nuts support healthy body weight, enhance cardiovascular health, and may even help you live longer.(1)(2)(3)
The catch, though, is that not all nuts are created equal. Various factors influence which nut is optimal for your health and well-being, such as your diet, lifestyle, and goals.
This practical guide will help you determine which nut is healthiest for you so that you can enhance your fitness, boost your energy levels, and reduce your risk of disease.
Ready to get cracking?
- 6 Proven Ways Nuts Improve Your Figure, Health, and Well-Being
- Detailed Guide to Each Nut
- Macadamia nuts
- Brazil Nuts
- Pili Nuts
- Which Nuts are Healthiest for You?
- I'm on Keto
- I'm on Paleo
- I'm a Vegan
- For my Kids
- For Hiking/Camping Trips
- On the Go
- For Heart Disease Patients
- For Diabetics
- How to Get the Most Out of Your Nuts
- The Bottom Line on Nuts
6 Proven Ways Nuts Improve Your Figure, Health, and Well-Being
Before we talk about how nuts differ from one another, let’s explore their nutritional benefits across the board. Protein, healthy fats, fiber, magnesium, vitamin E…those are just some of the beneficial nutrients with which nuts are packed.
That’s why it’s no surprise that nuts are linked to many health benefits, including:
Healthy Body Weight
Even though nuts are calorie-dense, they don’t tend to cause weight gain. Here’s what a 2013 meta-analysis published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded:
“Compared with control diets, diets enriched with nuts did not increase body weight, body mass index, or waist circumference in controlled clinical trials.”(1)
Reduced Appetite and Increased Satiety
A 2014 review study concluded that "nuts are not associated with predicted weight gain. . . . largely due to their high satiety value, leading to strong compensatory dietary responses.”(6)
In other words, because nuts are filling, you’re less likely to overeat other foods, causing you to ingest fewer calories.
Case in point: one study found that when participants snacked on peanuts, they automatically ate fewer calories later in the day.(7)
Increased Life Expectancy
The more often people eat nuts, the lower their risk of early death. That’s what researchers found by evaluating data on 118,962 participants involved in two large, independent cohort studies.(3)
The researchers from the same study also found that daily nut-eaters were 20% less likely to die an early death compared to nut-avoiders during the 30-year study period.
Nuts contain potent anti-inflammatory properties, which is one reason why they may boost life expectancy.
Researchers found that a 12-month Mediterranean diet incorporating 30 grams of nuts each day lowered C-reactive protein levels by 95% and interleukin 6 by 90%.(8)
C-reactive protein and interleukin are inflammation markers, and lowering them results in a reduced risk of organ damage and chronic disease.
Enhanced Gut Bacteria
Nuts are excellent sources of fiber. For instance, almonds contain 3.5 grams of fiber per ounce (28 grams). And the pistachio provides 3 grams of fiber for the same portion.
That’s good news for nut eaters since fiber supports gut bacteria, reduces appetite, and improves cholesterol levels.
Improved Heart Health
Research found that eating 30 grams of a daily nut mixture containing peanuts, walnuts, and pine nuts for six weeks significantly improved cholesterol levels in females with metabolic syndrome.(2)
And if you’re not a fan of these nuts, pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, and macadamias have also been proven to reduce cholesterol levels.
Now, let’s look closer at eleven popular nuts to help you select the ones that will benefit you the most.
While many of us associate macadamias with Hawaii, this nut actually originates in Australia, where it was first discovered in 1848. Today, macadamias are heralded as one of the most nutritious nuts and are mainly used as snacks and in oils.Nutritional value per ounce (28 grams), which is about 10-12 whole kernels:(9)
|Magnesium:||9% of RDI|
|Thiamin:||22% of RDI|
|Manganese:||58% of RDI|
What are the health benefits of macadamia nuts? The macadamia is one of the – if not the – best nut for reducing cholesterol and supporting heart health.(10)(11)(12)(13) Why is that?
It’s because they contain significant amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids, palmitoleic acids, and oleic acid. The latter is the primary cardioprotective and cholesterol-reducing substance in olive oil.(14)
Macadamias also lower inflammation.(13) One study explored what would happen if 17 men with high cholesterol consumed between 40 and 90 grams (17 to 39 whole kernels) of macadamia nuts per day.
The result? It significantly reduced several blood markers related to inflammation and oxidative stress, which promotes heart health.(15)
Besides, macadamias are also an excellent source of the antioxidant manganese. That mineral aids the relaxation of blood vessels, a process called vasodilation, and supports thyroid and bone health.(16)
Who should eat Macadamia nuts?
Rejoice, low-carb and keto dieters! Even for a nut, macadamias score high in fat and low in carbs. Thus if you follow a low-carb eating style, feel free enhance your diet with this nut.
Also, macadamias are fantastic at preventing and managing heart and inflammatory diseases, which means that this nut can be a staple for everyone who wants to support his or her general health and well-being.
Did you know?
Macadamias are toxic to dogs. Consumption can cause weakness, depression, and vomiting. Thus keep this nut away from your tail-wagger.(17)
Many cultures have esteemed the almond throughout history. The Bible describes them as "among the best of fruits," and ancient Romans saw them as talismans for fertility and happiness. Today, many nutritionists label almonds as "the king of nuts" due to their high nutritional value.
Nutritional value per ounce (28 grams), which is about 23 whole kernels: (18)
|Magnesium:||19% of the RDI|
|Manganese:||32% of the RDI|
|Vitamin E:||37% of the RDI|
Almonds are antioxidant powerhouses. They’re chock full of vitamin E, which aids immune function, prevents cells from oxidative stress, and lowers your risk of Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, and cancer.(19)
What’s particularly noteworthy about almonds is their positive impact on heart health. This nut enhances cholesterol levels, prevents oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and supports weight loss—three things that lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.(20)(21)(22)
Almonds also score high in protein and fiber, which is why they’re great at slashing excess weight and belly fat, particularly when you use them as a replacement for high-carb snacks.(23)
Who should eat Almonds?
Because almonds are nutritional all-stars, they fit all kinds of diets. They’re especially well-suited, however, for vegans because almonds score high in protein, a nutrient of which many plant-based dieters don’t get enough.
Keto dieters, on the other hand, should limit their almond intake since this nut has six grams of carbs per ounce.
Did you know?
Chocolate manufacturers buy and use around 40% of all almonds worldwide.
Humans have been eating hazelnuts for over 5,000 years, and ancient Chinese manuscripts list this nut as one of the five sacred foods. Today, hazelnuts are common in chocolate spreads and mostly produced in Europe and Asia (particularly in Turkey, which manufacturers around 70% of the world's hazelnuts).Nutritional value per ounce (28 grams), which is about 21 whole kernels:(24)
|Magnesium:||11% of the RDI|
|Vitamin E:||21% of the RDI|
|Manganese:||87% of the RDI|
Health Benefits of Hazelnuts
Hazelnuts and almonds share relatively similar nutritional profiles. Both brim with vitamin E, support cardiovascular health, and reduce the risk of various illnesses. Hazelnuts also reduce inflammation, triglycerides, total cholesterol, and "bad" LDL cholesterol levels – just like almonds do.(25)
What's unique about hazelnuts, however, is their high proanthocyanidins content. These are potent antioxidants that promote healthy aging and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Hazelnuts also contain many brain-boosting nutrients, such as vitamin E, thiamine, manganese, folate, and healthy fats. That’s why adding hazelnuts to your diet may reduce anxiety and boost memory.(26)
Who should eat Hazelnuts?
Due to the brain-supporting nutrients of hazelnuts, they’re an excellent snack for students, entrepreneurs, and other high-achievers who strive for peak mental performance.
Did you know?
In Ancient Rome, it was customary to offer a hazelnut plant to brides in the belief that it brought happiness. In the French tradition, this plant symbolized fertility.(27)
Humans have been eating pistachios for a relatively long time. Archaeological evidence shows that pistachios were eaten in Turkey as early as 7,000 B.C. Today, pistachios are mainly used as a snack – either raw, dried, or roasted.
|Thiamin:||16% of the RDI|
|Copper:||18% of the RDI|
|Vitamin B6:||24% of the RDI|
Health Benefits of Pistachios
What are the health benefits of pistachio nuts? Pistachios are jam-packed with nutrients. Two of these are the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect your eyes from aging.
Pistachios can also lower heart disease risk by improving cholesterol and blood pressure. (29)(30)(31)(32) And they’re excellent also at helping you obtain and maintain a healthy number on the scale, too.
There are two main reasons why pistachios promote healthy body weight. First, they’re low in calories but high in protein and fiber. Second, the nut typically come enclosed in a shell. The latter means you’ve got to unshell them before consumption, which slows eating speed, making you less likely to demolish an entire bag of nuts in one sitting.
One study, for instance, found that people who eat shelled pistachios consume, on average, 41% fewer calories than those who eat unshelled pistachios.(33)
Who should eat Pistachios?
Pistachios are excellent for people who want to lose weight. And they’re fantastic at supporting immune function and reducing anemia due to their high copper content.If you’re on a keto diet, however, limit your pistachio intake because this nut contains 7.8 grams of carbs per ounce.
Did you know?
Technically, pistachios aren’t nuts but belong to the family of stone fruits. They’re the seeds of a stone fruit.(34)(35) If you have tree nut allergies, however, you still need to avoid pistachios.(36)
Brazil nuts are produced in the crown of one of the tallest trees of the Amazonian rainforest – a tree species that can grow over 50 meters high and live up to 400 years.
This nut grows inside a coconut-like shell, which contains around 12 to 20 Brazil nuts. Today, Brazil nuts are often found in nut mixes, usually together with almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts.Nutritional value per ounce (28 grams), which is about 6 kernels:(37)
|Magnesium:||26% of the RDI|
|Selenium:||767% of the RDI|
Health Benefits of Brazil Nuts
What are the health benefits of brazil nuts? What sets Brazil nuts apart is their astonishing selenium content. You need just one Brazil nut to reach the recommended daily intake of the mineral. Selenium provides many health benefits, such as reduced inflammation and improved cholesterol levels.
Unless you have a selenium deficiency, however, don't eat more than several Brazil nuts a week. Overconsumption of this nut may lead to selenium toxicity, especially if you already consume selenium-rich foods.(41)
After all, one large Brazil nut has 140 micrograms of selenium. That’s more than one-third of the safe upper limit of 400 micrograms a day.
Who should eat Brazil nuts?
While Brazil nuts are excellent additions to all diets, keto dieters will particularly find them beneficial, since they’re often selenium deficient.(42) One average Brazil nut contains just 1.2 grams of carbs, so keto’ers can feel free to add one of these nuts a day to their diet.
If you suffer hypothyroidism, it’s also wise to upgrade your nutrition plan with Brazil nuts.
Did you know?
Most Brazil nuts don't come from Brazil but rather from Bolivia.
The peanut, also known as goober, groundnut, or monkey nut, is actually not a nut but a legume. But since peanuts share many characteristics with nuts and because many of us share a love for peanuts, let’s cover them anyway.Nutritional value per ounce (28 grams), which is about 35 peanuts:(43)
|Vitamin E:||12% of the RDI|
|Magnesium:||12% of the RDI|
|Calcium:||13% of the RDI|
|Iron:||16% of the RDI for men, 7% for women|
Health Benefits of Peanuts
Peanuts are not only delicious. According to Dr. Steve Talcott from the University of Florida, there’s more to them than taste. “When it comes to antioxidant content,” he said, “peanuts are right up there with strawberries.”(44)
“We expected a fairly high antioxidant content in peanuts,” Dr. Talcott also noted, “but we were a bit shocked to find that they’re as rich in antioxidants as many kinds of fruit.”
This high antioxidant content alongside the healthy fats found in peanuts are two reasons why peanuts tend to reduce heart disease risk factors such as triglyceride levels.(45)
But before you reach for a bag of peanuts, hold on... It’s best to limit your peanut intake to just a handful once or twice a week. Peanuts contain around 5,000 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s. The problem with that is that overeating omega-6 fatty acids can trigger inflammation and diseases.
Who should eat Peanuts?
Besides being a convenient snack, peanuts score high protein content, making them excellent for vegans and those who want to build muscle.
That said, peanuts are dense in carbs, which is why they keto dieters should watch their intake. Besides, peanuts also don’t fit a strict paleo diet because they’re a legume. And those with liver disease should avoid peanuts due to the risk of aflatoxin contamination.(46)
Did you know?
In America, peanuts account for two-thirds of all nut consumption and contribute more than four billion dollars to the economy each year.
Pecans comes from the Hickory tree, which is the only major nut tree that naturally grows in North America. Our ancestors considered this nut precious, not only due to its delicious taste, but also its high calorie and fat content.
Today, most pecans are eaten fresh, sprinkled in salads, or transformed in sweet desserts like pecan pie.Nutritional value per ounce (28 grams), which is about 12 halves:(47)
|Magnesium:||12% of the RDI|
|Manganese:||64% of the RDI|
|Copper:||17% of the RDI|
Health Benefits of Pecans
The heart-healthy pecan has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol, even in people who already have normal cholesterol.(48)
And research found that eating a diet enhanced with pecans for four weeks significantly increases blood antioxidant profiles.(49) The latter reduces cardiovascular disease risk by helping the body neutralize free radicals.
Who should eat Pecans?
Due to their high-fat, low-carb content, pecans are an excellent choice for low-carb and keto dieters. They also contain a lot of manganese, which benefits those who want to support fertility, bone health, and blood sugar management.(50)
Did you know?
Native Americans used the word “pecan” to describe any nut that requires a stone to be cracked.
Cashews are a nut indigenous to the Americas. Today, however, they’re primarily produced in Brazil, India, Vietnam, and Africa.
Aside from being a convenient snack, cashews are delicious in butter form, go well in salads, and are often used in Southeast Asian and Indian dishes.
Due to their creamy texture, cashews also function as a replacement for dairy ingredients in many vegan recipes.Nutritional value per ounce (28 grams), which is about 18 cashews:(51)
|Magnesium:||12% of the RDI|
|Zinc:||11% of the RDI|
|Vitamin K:||12% of the RDI|
|Magnesium:||20% of the RDI|
|Copper:||31% of the RDI|
Health Benefits of Cashews
What are the health benefits of cashew nuts? Cashews are chock-full of antioxidants that battle free radicals and chronic disease. They’re particularly rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that protect your eyes from age-related blindness.
Besides, nearly 80% of the fats in cashews come as heart-healthy poly- and monounsaturated fatty acids.(52)
There are, however, two things to consider about cashews. First off, they’re high in carbs. Twenty-eight grams of cashews contain 9.2 grams of carbs, which makes cashews subpar for low-carb and keto dieters.
Secondly, cashews contain the least amount of fiber of all the nuts, so they won’t help you much with reaching the recommended daily fiber intake of 25 to 38 grams. (Ninety percent of Americans only get between 10 and 18 grams of fiber per day, which is why it’s best to focus on eating fiber-rich nuts.)(53)
Who should eat Cashews?
Cashews are a convenient snack, and due to their creamy and rich texture, they’re also an ideal dairy replacement for vegan dieters. But because of their high carb and low fiber content, low-carb and keto dieters should minimize their cashew consumption avoid this nut altogether.
Did you know?
Your car may be partly made out of cashews because manufacturers use the resin of this nut to make paint and brake liners.
Originating in Persia, walnuts are one of the oldest tree foods. The ancient Romans worshipped this nut and labeled them "the royal nut of Jove." (Jove, also known as Jupiter, was the supreme God in ancient Roman mythology.)
Today, walnuts remain beloved, both for their flavor and nutritional value. They're an excellent snack and a healthy addition to salads.Nutritional value per ounce (28 grams), which is about 14 halves:(54)
|Magnesium:||11% of the RDI|
|Copper:||22% of the RDI|
|Manganese:||48% of the RDI|
Health Benefits of Walnuts
If you want to support your heart, then enrich your diet with walnuts. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently allowed food manufacturers to place the following claim on their labels:
“Eating 1.5 ounces per day of walnuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
There are three main reasons why walnuts benefit heart health. First, they’re an excellent source of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Second, they reduce inflammation, total cholesterol, and the "bad" LDL cholesterol. And third, they improve blood vessel functioning.(55)(56)
Walnuts may also lower depression, reduce age-related cognitive decline, and enhance brain functioning, (57)(58) For instance, research on mice with Alzheimer's disease found that consuming walnuts for ten months significantly improved memory and learning skills.(59)
Two reasons why walnuts benefit brain health is that they’re rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
Who should eat Walnuts?
The heart-healthy and brain-boosting nutrients found in walnuts make them an excellent staple in any diet. Vegans, vegetarians, and plant-based dieters in particular, however, benefit from walnuts as they don’t consume fish for omega-3’s.
Walnuts are also weight-loss-friendly. But if you’re trying to slim down, buy the shelled variety. The act of removing the shell reduces eating speed, which makes you less likely to wolf down many calories due to unconscious eating.
Did you know?
Prabhakar Reddy P, a martial arts master from India, holds the world record of crushing the most walnuts by hand in one minute—a whopping total of 212 walnuts. (Thankfully, you don’t need to exert a fraction of that energy to reap the benefits of this nut.)
Canarium ovatum, better known as the pili nut, is relatively unknown in most parts of the world. This nut is native to the oceanic regions of Southeast Asia, where locals often serve them as a sugar-coated, deep-fried dessert.
Pili nuts have a unique taste. Eaten raw, they come across as a mix between cashews and macadamias, but with a richer flavor.
Nutritional value per ounce (28 grams), which is about 15 kernels:(60)
|Zinc:||8.8% of the RDI|
|Magnesium:||21% of the RDI|
Health Benefits of Pili Nuts
Unfortunately, there’s little direct research on how pili nuts affect our health. But what we do know is that pili nuts have a unique nutritional profile. They contain almost no carbs while scoring very high in fat. That's why pili nuts are excellent for keto dieters.
Besides, pili nuts contain a lot of magnesium, an electrolyte and mineral that supports the immune system, digestion, sleep, and bone health. Just one ounce of pili nuts provides you with 21% of the recommended daily magnesium intake.
Who should eat Pili Nuts?
Due to their low-carb, high-fat, and high magnesium content, pili nuts are excellent for low-carb and keto dieters. Also, since magnesium aids sleep, consuming a handful of pili nuts a few hours before hitting the sack may help you get some high-quality shut-eye.
The fiber content of the pili nut, however, is minimal, which is why this shouldn’t be the only nut you consume.
Did you know?
Traditionally, pili nuts were used to deworm livestock and treat scabies.
A coconut is a large, oval seed that comes from the palm tree. It’s a significant energy source for many tribes. The islanders of Kitava, for example, get almost twenty percent of their daily calorie intake from coconut oil, and the Tokelau islanders roughly forty-five percent. (Interestingly, strokes and heart disease are rare in both tribes.)(61)(62)
From a botanical viewpoint, you can classify the coconut as a fruit, a nut, and a seed. But since coconuts have taken the nutrition world by storm, we’ll label them as a nut for now. More specifically, we’ll look at how coconut oil affects health.Nutritional value per ounce (28 grams), which is about 6.3 teaspoons:(63)
Health Benefits of Coconuts
Coconut oil is jam-packed with lauric acid, and around 90% of its fatty acids are saturated. (No, the saturated fats in coconut oil don’t cause heart disease – it may actually prevent it.)(64)(65)(66)(67) Coconut oil also has a high smoke point, which makes it – alongside avocado oil – one of the best oils for cooking and baking.
Coconut oil can also help you lose weight, especially if you use it as a replacement for other cooking oils.(68)(69) The mechanisms by which coconut oil aids fat loss, however, remain unclear. Some studies show that coconut oil suppresses appetite and enhances metabolism, but not all research agrees on these findings.(70)
In addition, coconut oil also benefits your health and wellbeing in other ways. For instance, the monolaurin and lauric acid found in coconut oil kill harmful bacteria, which supports immunity, making you less likely to get sick.(71)(72) And coconut oil raises the "good" HDL cholesterol levels, which may make you less prone to cardiovascular disease.
Who should eat Coconuts?
We could all benefit from swapping margarine and unhealthy vegetable oils with coconut oil. Keto dieters in particular, however, can get a lot from coconut oil because the MCTs found in the oil aid ketosis.
Also, coconut oil is heart-healthy, and since this product is less fattening than other oils, cooking with coconut oil may help you obtain and maintain healthy body weight.
Did you know?
Falling coconuts kill around 150 people each year worldwide. That’s twenty times more than the number of people who die from a shark attack.
So, Which Nuts Are the Best for You?
By now, you know the unique benefits of eleven popular nuts. To help you decide which nut is best for your lifestyle, diet, and goals, we outlined the best nut choices for common situations below. And we’ve rated every nut on a grade scale ranging from A (best) to D (worst).
Healthiest Nuts for Keto Dieters
Due to their low carb content, Brazil nuts, coconut oil, pili nuts, and macadamias, are the best options for keto dieters. Brazil nuts in particular are excellent choices because they’re jam-packed with selenium, a mineral in which many keto dieters are deficient.(41)
It’s also okay to enrich your diet with almonds from time to time, but do so in moderation because this nut contains 6.1 grams of carbs per pound. Three-and-a-half grams of these, however, come from fiber, which means that you'll get 2.6 net carbs per ounce.
- A: Brazil nuts, coconuts, macadamias, pili nuts
- B: Almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans
- C: Peanuts, pistachios, walnuts
- D: Cashews
Healthiest Nuts for Paleo Dieters
Except for peanuts, all nuts outlined above fit the paleo diet. So, feel free to eat a wide range of nuts. That way, you’ll consume a broad spectrum of beneficial nutrients. When it comes to the most nutritious options, however, go for macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts, and Brazil nuts. And make it a point to cook with coconut oil.
- A: Almonds, Brazil nuts, coconuts, macadamias, walnuts
- B: Hazelnuts, pecans, pili nuts, pistachios
- C: Cashews
- D: Peanuts
Healthiest Nuts for Vegans
If you eat a plant-based diet, walnuts are essential due to their high omega-3 content. You also can't go wrong with almonds, pistachios, and peanuts because they score high in protein, a nutrient of which it is harder to get enough if you don’t consume animal products.
You should, however, eat peanuts only in limited amounts because they’re high in omega-6 and aflatoxins.
- A: Almonds, peanuts, pistachios, macadamias, walnuts
- B: Brazil nuts, coconuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pili nuts
- C: Cashews
Healthiest Nuts for Kids
It can be hard to convince kids to consume the minimum recommended nut intake of four, 1.5-ounce servings per week. The solution? Try giving them walnuts and pistachios. That may get the job done because these nuts are delicious and fun to unshell.
It’s also wise to introduce peanuts to kids early on. That’s because kids have a much lower chance of developing a peanut allergy when they regularly eat peanuts and peanut butter from infancy to age five.(74) This makes peanut butter an excellent household staple for those who are pregnant or have a newborn.
- A: Almonds, cashews, coconuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, peanuts, pecans, pili nuts, pistachios, walnuts
- B: Brazil nuts
Healthiest Nuts for Hikers and Campers
To preserve your energy when trekking through nature, it’s important to pack light – so avoid shelled nuts like walnuts and pistachios.
You’re better off with energy-dense and protein-packed nuts because those support energy levels and keep hunger at bay. Top picks for hikers and campers are almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews, and pecans.
- A: Almonds, macadamias, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans
- B: Cashews, pili nuts,
- C: Brazil nuts
- D: Coconuts, pistachios, walnuts
Best Nuts for On-the-Go Adults
If you’re looking for a quick but nutritious bite to eat, go for almonds and macadamias. Besides being heart-healthy, both are convenient during a lunch break or as a quick snack because they don't need to be cracked.
- A: Almonds, Brazil nuts, macadamias, pecans
- B: Pili nuts, pistachios, walnuts
- C: Cashews, hazelnuts
- D: Coconuts, peanuts
Best Nuts for General Dieters
While nuts are fantastic for health and wellbeing, they have one downside: they're easy to overeat. It doesn't take much to devour handfuls of nuts…and then some.
The solution? Eat shelled nuts such as pistachios and walnuts. Since you have to unshell them before consumption, you’ll eat them at a slower pace.
This reduces the risk of overeating because it promotes satiety and makes you aware of how much you’ve already eaten. For these reasons and because pistachios and walnuts are rich in fiber and protein, they’re excellent for those who aspire to slim down.
Pre-portioning nuts also helps prevent you from overeating them. In other words, decide in advance how many nuts you'll eat by weighing them and then put the rest of the bag away.
To benefit the number on your scale even further, use coconut oil for cooking, because it is more weight-loss-friendly compared to other oils.
- A: Almonds, coconuts, pistachios, walnuts,
- B: Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, peanuts
- C: Cashews, pili nuts, pecans
Best Nuts for Heart Disease Patients
All nuts are heart-healthy, especially if you use them as a replacement for unhealthy foods. The best ones, however, are macadamias, almonds, and walnuts.
Macadamias contain the heart-healthy palmitic and oleic acids, and more than 80% of the nuts’ fatty acids are monounsaturated.
Almonds are antioxidant powerhouses and they benefit cholesterol, prevent LDL cholesterol oxidation, and support weight loss.
Walnuts are top-notch sources of healthy fats including omega 3s, and they improve various heart-health-related factors, such as cholesterol and blood vessel functioning.
- A: Almonds, macadamias, walnuts,
- B: Brazil nuts, coconuts, pecans, pistachios, pili nuts, hazelnuts
- C: Cashews, peanuts,
Best Nuts for Diabetics
According to the UK Diabetic Community, specific nuts that contain diabetes-benefiting nutrients are almonds, walnuts, cashews, cashews, peanuts, and pistachios.(79)
They also mention that almost every nut offers something good for diabetics, so the main focus should be on consuming nuts regularly, regardless of the variation.
- A: Almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, macadamias, walnuts
- B: Brazil nuts, coconuts, hazelnuts, pili nuts, cashews
How to Get the Most Out of Your Nuts
Keep your nuts cool and dry
After you buy nuts, don’t let them stew in a hot car or stock them in the larder. Instead, store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator or freezer.
Why? Because moisture and elevated temperature reduce the shelf life of nuts and can cause its fats to become rancid.(80)
Most nuts, for instance, maintain quality for less than a few months when kept at room temperature. But when stored in the refrigerator, they retain quality for a year or more. And in the freezer, they stay fresh for up to two years.(81)
Eat your nuts raw, not roasted
Nuts are often roasted to improve aroma, taste, and texture.(82) But if you want to experience the full health benefits of nuts, you should eat them raw.
Soak your nuts
To reduce the antinutrient content in nuts and thereby absorb more nutrients with each snacking, soak them in salted water for around 12 hours and then let them dry 24 hours.
Frequently Asked Nut Questions:
- Which nuts are the healthiest to eat? Almonds generally get the top recommendation.
- What are the healthiest nuts for to lose weight? All nuts can help you balance weight-loss, but moderation is the key.
- What are healthiest nuts for pregnancy? Walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, and almonds are typically recommended for expecting mothers.
- What are the healthiest nuts for bodybuilding? Almonds and walnuts regularly top the list of recommendations.
The Bottom Line on Nuts
If you're not eating at least four, 1.5-ounce servings of nuts each week as is recommended by The American Heart Association, The Mayo Clinic, and other public health authorities, then make it a habit.
Doing so will boost your health and wellbeing in many ways. It’ll support healthy body weight, reduce inflammation, protect against various diseases, and maybe even enhance life expectancy.
We hope you've identified which nuts are healthiest for you!
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