A Guide to the Health Benefits of Nuts

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What’s in a Nut? Nuts are known for their delicious taste, but they also have a ton of amazing health benefits.   

Nuts are chock-full of antioxidants that help prevent diseases, including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, and vision loss.  Most nuts support heart health by lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol (LDL) while raising good cholesterol (HDL).  And they’re loaded with healthy fats that support brain health and fight inflammation.  

You'd be crazy not to snack on some nuts a couple times a week, if not every day.  

Find out what healthy benefits your favorite nut is hiding.  

Almonds 

Taste Profile: Almonds are sweet, subtle, and have a warming quality.  They may be the most commonly used nut, especially in baking. 

Health Benefits: Healthy nutrients include vitamin E, copper, and magnesium.  They also have 75mg of calcium per ounce. 

Almonds support heart health, lower blood pressure, help prevent diabetes, support weight management, reduce inflammation, and help lower bad cholesterol.   

How they Compare: Almonds pack 170 calories, 14.9 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbohydrates, and 4 grams of fiber into one ounce.  They boast one of the highest fiber content of any nut.  

Peanuts 

Taste Profile: Peanuts are sweet, astringent, rich, and have a warming quality.  Peanuts are probably America's favorite snacking nut.  You can find just about any flavor in the grocery store, from sweet to spicy.  They are also widely used in Asian and Indian cuisine.  

Health Benefits: Healthy nutrients include vitamin B, vitamin E, and magnesium.

 Peanuts are also rich in resveratrol, an antioxidant that supports heart health, supports cardiovascular health, lowers your risk of strokes, and lowers bad cholesterol.  

How they Compare: Peanuts have 176 calories, 17 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, 5 grams of carbohydrates, and 3 grams of fiber per one ounce. 

Fun Fact:  Peanuts are not actually nuts.  They’re actually part of the legume family. 

Cashews 

Taste Profile: Cashews are sweet, rich, have a warming quality, and an intense flavor.  Like peanuts, they are also used in Asian and Indian cuisine.  Chocolate covered cashews are a very popular snack.  Choose a dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao, and you'll also get a dose of antioxidants.  

Health Benefits: Nutrients include copper, magnesium, vitamin E, iron, and zinc. 

Cashews may improve blood pressure.  They are also high in unsaturated fat. 

How they Compare: Cashews have 155 calories, 13.1 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of carbohydrates, and 1 gram of fiber per one ounce. 

Pecans 

Taste Profile: Pecans are sweet, bitter, light weight, and have an intense flavor.  Due to their light and crunchy texture, they’re added to a lot of baked goods.  

Health Benefits: Nutrients include vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, zinc, and antioxidants. 

Pecans are rich in oleic acid, which is thought to help prevent breast cancer.  They lower bad cholesterol, and support heart health by preventing plaque buildup in the arteries. 

How they Compare: Pecans have 193 calories, 20 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbohydrates, and 3 grams of fiber per one ounce. 

Walnuts 

Taste Profile: Walnuts have a bitter and sweet taste, are light weight, have a warming quality, and a strong flavor.  Walnuts are a favorite in banana bread because they balance the sweetness of the bananas.  

Health Benefits: Nutrients include vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, and alpha-linolenic acid (plant based omega-3 fatty acid).  

Walnuts support hearth health, reduce cancer, reduce diabetes, support weight management, improve blood pressure, may lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol, and support brain health. 

How they Compare: Walnuts have 185 calories, 18.5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of monounsaturated fats (healthy fats), 4 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbohydrates, and 2 grams of fiber per one ounce. 

Of all the nuts, they have the highest omega-3 fatty acid content. 

Pistachios

Taste Profile: Pistachios are sweet, fruity, and have a medium body.  Americans snack on 90% of the world's pistachios.  

Health Benefits: Nutrients include vitamin B6, vitamin E, copper, and manganese. Pistachios support heart health, blood pressure, and weight management.  They increase good Cholesterol, and may reduce spikes in blood sugar after a meal.  

How they Compare: Pistachios have 162 calories, 13 grams of fat, 7 grams of monounsaturated fats, 6 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber per one ounce. 

Macadamia Nuts 

Taste Profile: Macadamia nuts are sweet, light, and crunchy.  Just like cashews, chocolate covered macadamia nuts are also very popular.  

Health Benefits: Nutrients include vitamin E, magnesium, and monounsaturated fats. Macadamia nuts support heart health, reduce the risk for heart disease, and lower bad cholesterol. 

How they Compare: Macadamia nuts have 200 calories, 21.5 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbohydrates, and 2.5 grams of fiber per one ounce. 

They have one of the highest amounts of heart healthy monounsaturated fats of all the nuts. 

Hazelnuts 

Taste Profile: Hazelnuts are sweet, salty, rich, and have an intense flavor.  Hazelnuts pair well with chocolate because they bring out chocolate’s nutty flavor. 

Health Benefits: Nutrients include copper, magnesium, thiamine, and vitamin E. Hazelnuts support heart health, lower bad cholesterol, lower triglycerides, improve blood vessel function, and are an anti-inflammatory. 

How they Compare: Hazelnuts have 176 calories, 9 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and 6 grams of carbohydrates per one ounce. 

Brazil Nuts 

Taste Profile: Brazil nuts are rich, bitter, dense, and have an intense flavor.  Most people prefer to snack on roasted Brazil nuts.  

Health Benefits: Nutrients include copper, phosphorus, manganese, vitamin E, and 100% of the required daily intake of selenium. 

Selenium is an antioxidant that may help prevent cancer.  It also may help keep your immune system healthy, and reduce bad cholesterol and inflammation. 

How they Compare: Brazil nuts have 182 calories, 18 grams of fat (including 4 grams of saturated fat), 4 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbohydrates, and 2 grams of fiber per one ounce. 

Getting the Most Out of Adding Nuts to Your Diet 

Remember that although the calories in nuts are good calories, they are still calories.  It's best to eat them in moderation.  Pick your favorite nut and eat a serving every day, or add variety to your diet by eating a different nut every day. 

Stick with nuts that are dry-roasted instead of covered in sugar or salt. 

Combine nuts with dried fruit or dark chocolate for a sweet and salty snack.  You can even create your own nut mix by combining your favorite nuts.  Look for ways to add flavor to your mix by dry-roasting nuts with your favorite spices at home.   

Take bags of portioned nuts to the office for a quick and convenient snack.  

However you eat nuts, you'll be getting tons of health benefits, as well as a delicious snack.

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