7 Healthiest Nuts

Various nutritious options exist if you want to add nuts to your diet. Some of the top healthiest nuts include almonds, cashews, pecans, and pistachios. Nuts are a good source of plant-based protein but also pack heart-healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Research has shown that eating nuts might lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

Consider these healthy nuts if you are looking for a versatile snack that’s good for you. Here’s a look at the benefits of different nuts and tips for adding them to your diet.

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Relatively low in calories, almonds are an excellent food for health due to their protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. One serving of 23 whole almonds contains:

  • Fat: 14.1g
  • Fiber: 3.5g
  • Protein: 5.8g
  • Magnesium: 74.5mg
  • Calcium: 74.29mg

Almonds’ antioxidants can protect against chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. These nuts are versatile and often a favorite among nut eaters. You can buy them raw, toasted, slivered, or coated with various flavors.

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A serving of six Brazil nuts contains about:

  • Fat: 19g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 4.34g
  • Selenium: 544 micrograms

Creamy Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium. This mineral may protect against certain diseases. Selenium also plays a role in DNA production, reproduction, and thyroid gland functioning.

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A one-ounce serving of dry roasted cashews contains:

  • Fat: 13.2g
  • Fiber: 0.9g
  • Protein: 4.34g
  • Potassium: 160mg
  • Phosphorous: 139mg

This serving size of cashews contains about 70% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for copper. This nutrient plays a role in creating energy and maintaining the nervous and immune systems.

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Peanuts—technically legumes but generally referred to as nuts—are high in folate. This mineral is essential for making genetic material like DNA. Peanuts are a great choice for vegetarians, who often come up short on folate. Pregnant people also need folate to protect against birth defects.

Like most other nuts, peanuts are full of brain-boosting fats and vitamin E. One ounce of peanuts contains about:

  • Fat: 14g
  • Fiber: 2.4g
  • Protein: 7g

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Pecans are a source of fiber, copper, thiamine, and zinc. Research has found that eating pecans can improve the ratio of good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol in your body.

One ounce of pecans (19 halves) contains:

  • Fat: 20g
  • Fiber: 2.72g
  • Protein: 2.6g
  • Copper: 0.3mg
  • Thiamine: 0.2mg
  • Zinc: 1.28mg

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Pistachios contain nutrients, protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Research has found that eating pistachios may help brain function and gut and skin health.

A one-ounce serving of pistachios contains:

  • Fat: 12.8g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 5.73g
  • Potassium: 289mg

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All nuts contain monounsaturated fats, but walnuts have especially high amounts. Walnuts are a source of heart-healthy alpha linoleic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in plants. Eating one-half cup of these tasty morsels per day might also lower bad cholesterol levels.

A one-ounce serving of walnuts contains:

  • Fat: 17g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Potassium: 129mg
  • Magnesium: 42.3mg

Nuts are generally nutritious additions to any diet and provide protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. Many nuts come with several other benefits related to chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Have Been Shown To Lower Heart Disease Risk

Research has shown that increased nut intake might lower your risk of high cholesterol and blood pressure. ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid, benefits cardiovascular health. Walnuts, which have ALA, might lower heart disease and stroke risk.

Help Manage Diabetes and Lowers Risk

Nuts might lower diabetes risk and help manage diabetes. Some evidence suggests that nuts also improve:

  • Fasting blood sugar concentration: Blood sugar levels after you wake from sleeping
  • Glycemic control: Your goal blood sugar concentration if you have diabetes
  • Insulin sensitivity: How well your cells can respond when insulin is available

Manage Weight

Researchers have found that nuts can help with weight loss. One review indicated that almonds were linked to reduced body mass index (BMI), while walnuts were associated with reduced body fat.

Might Reduce Cancer Risk

Eating nuts may protect against certain cancers. A review published in 2022 linked nut consumption to a decreased risk of colon, gastric, pancreatic, and lung cancers.

Eating nuts has plenty of benefits, but you’ll want to eat them in moderation. Risks of eating too many nuts include:

  • Boosts sodium intake: Nuts are generally low in sodium, but salted nuts, like mixed nuts with salt added, contain extra sodium per ounce. Consuming high-salt foods can increase your blood pressure.
  • Increases kidney stone risk: Nuts contain oxalate, a chemical that helps form calcium oxalate stones. These stones are the most common type of kidney stones and result from a mix of calcium and oxalate in urine.
  • Might cause excess nutrient intake: Some nuts provide more than enough nutrients in small servings. Check RDAs for certain nutrients to ensure you do not consume too much. An overconsumption of some nutrients may cause side effects like brittle nails and hair, diarrhea, and nausea.

Some people will need to avoid eating nuts altogether. Tree nut allergies are a common food allergy, and people often do not outgrow them. Consuming a lot of nuts will not lead to a food allergy, but they can develop at any time. It’s possible to have a food allergy to something you were not allergic to previously.

Nuts are excellent for your health. Pay attention to how you eat them to get the most health benefits.

Here are some tips for eating nuts:

  • Be aware of additives: Choose dry-roasted or oil-roasted nuts without a lot of additives. Limit your consumption of those with extra salt, sugar, or oils. Look at the ingredients of nut butters. Some options like peanut butter include added sugar and salt, hydrogenated oils, and unhealthy trans fats.
  • Focus on portion control: Remember that a portion is a handful, or about one ounce, which is around 160–180 calories. Buy snack packs that you can easily grab on the go, or divide nuts into small containers ahead of time.
  • Mix them together: Trail mix usually includes various nuts, chocolate, legumes, pretzels, and dried fruits. Pairing tree nuts with dried fruits may reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
  • Pair them with a carb: This adds bulk to a snack or meal. Pairing a protein with a carb will help you feel full for a longer time. For example, try sprinkling nuts on oatmeal.
  • Try unsalted or lightly salted nuts: Look for in-between lightly salted varieties to satisfy a salty craving without going overboard. Check ingredient labels, too. Some brands contain less salt than others.

Nuts are nutritious snacks that contain fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Some of the healthiest nuts include Brazil nuts, pistachios, cashews, and almonds.

There are many options to enjoy this nutritional treat, but be sure to enjoy them in moderation. Nuts have health benefits, like reducing your heart disease risk. Still, there are risks of eating too many nuts, including increasing your sodium intake.

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