Aw, Nuts! The Healthiest Nuts to Munch On - Be Healthy Today

Aw, Nuts! The Healthiest Nuts to Munch On

Without a doubt, nuts are one of the most popular and most snacked-on foods in the world. Everyone knows what they are and what they look like. Nuts are nature’s way of saying that great things do come indeed in small packages.

Nuts have a ton of health benefits. These healthy powerhouses are packed with good fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. To ensure you get the most out of these tiny morsels, make sure to consume them as is. Pairing them with sugary or salty mixes takes away from their nutritional value.

So without further ado, here are the top 10 nuts that are great to munch on.

Walnuts

I have to admit, walnuts are my favorite nuts to snack on. These are known to be super healthy for the heart. These nuts have the highest amount of heart-healthy alpha linoleic acid (ALA). This is a type of omega-3 fatty acid and helps with heart arrhythmias. It also reduces inflammation and oxidation in the arteries. Studies show that eating walnuts reduces total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. However, it also increases “good” HDL cholesterol levels.

Aside from being great for the heart, walnuts also help with losing weight, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

The recommended daily intake of walnuts is eight pieces a day.

Almonds

No, Almond M&Ms or chocolate-covered almonds don’t count. Almonds have the highest calcium content as compared to other nuts.

It is also very beneficial to the heart. It improves cholesterol levels and reduces total cholesterol, oxidized LDL cholesterol, and “bad” LDL cholesterol.

In addition, almonds help in weight loss and lowers blood pressure in people who are overweight or obese.

They also help diabetics by lowering their blood sugar levels and reducing inflammation.

Peanuts

Okay, technically, they’re not really nuts. They’re part of the legume family. But, come on, many people consider them to be a part of the nut family. Besides, they share the same nutrient profiles and health benefits to other nuts.

Peanuts improves risk factors for heart disease and stroke. They also contain phytosterols. These are compounds that naturally lower cholesterol. They also contain resveratrol, which is another heart-healthy compound.

In addition, peanuts are high in folate. This is vital in brain development and also protects against cognitive decline. This makes a great snack for pregnant women who need folate to protect their unborn babies from birth defects.

Pistachios

These nuts are a great source of lutein, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. Adding them to your diet reduces the risk of lung cancer. They also improve the nervous system, strengthens muscles, fortifies the immune system, and lifts your mood.

Eating them as they’re in their shells are perfect to achieve that beach body. According to a study, “eating them in the shell automatically slows down your pace so the snack lasts longer, and you eat less overall.” They are also an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids. These tend to target belly fat.

And finally, pistachios help with oxidative status. This refers to blood levels of oxidized chemicals that contribute to heart disease.

Cashews

Adding cashews to your diet improves symptoms of metabolic syndrome. They also improve blood pressure in people with metabolic syndrome. They also increase blood sugar in people with the same syndrome.

In addition, these nuts are rich in iron and zinc. The iron content delivers oxygen to every single cell in the body. This prevents anemia. Zinc aids in boosting the immune system and provides healthy vision.

The magnesium content in cashews improves memory and also protects against age-related memory loss.

Pecans

Pecans defend your arteries by preventing plaque formation in them. In addition, these lower LDL cholesterol levels. They also improve antioxidant profiles in the blood. It’s no wonder they are ranked part of the top 20 food for antioxidant capacity.

These nuts also boosts your brain health. The vitamin E content in them delays the progression of degenerative neurological diseases, like amyotropic lateral sclerosis. This is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

And finally, pecans are a rich source of oleic acid. This type of fatty acid suppresses a gene that triggers breast cancer.

Macadamia Nuts

These contain a high amount of healthy monounsaturated fats. That means they’re great in boosting heart health. They lower triglyceride levels, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol. In addition, they also lower other risk factors for heart disease. These include inflammation and oxidative stress.

Hazelnuts

Like all of the nuts discussed in this list, hazelnuts are great for the heart too. It improves blood vessel function. It reduces markers of inflammation. Also, it improves cholesterol levels and increases the amount of vitamin E in the blood. The vitamin E content prevents cataracts and macular degeneration. It also maintains healthy skin and reduces the risk of dementia. And finally, it manages type 2 diabetes as well.

Brazil Nuts

These are the not so common ones. These nuts have a very high amount of selenium. This is a powerful antioxidant that improves blood selenium levels in people with kidney disease. They also reduce inflammation.

Selenium also prevents certain cancers. These include bone cancer, breast cancer, and also prostate cancer.

These nuts also reduce cholesterol levels. They also reduce oxidative stress. Last, they improve the blood vessel function in obese teenagers.

Nuts and Their Nutritional Value

This is based on one-ounce servings of each nut.

1. Walnuts

Calories: 182

Total Fat: 18 grams

Protein: 4 grams

Carbs: 4 grams

Fiber: 2 grams

Vitamin E: 1% of the RDI

Magnesium: 11% of the RDI

 

2. Almonds

Calories: 161

Total Fat: 14 grams

Protein: 6 grams

Carbs: 6 grams

Fiber: 3.5 grams

Vitamin E: 37% of the RDI

Magnesium: 19% of the RDI

 

3. Peanuts

Calories: 176

Total Fat: 17 grams

Protein: 4 grams

Carbs: 5 grams

Fiber: 3 grams

Vitamin E: 21% of the RDI

Magnesium: 11% of the RDI

 

4. Pistachios

Calories: 156

Total Fat: 12.5 grams

Protein: 6 grams

Carbs: 8 grams

Fiber: 3 grams

Vitamin E: 3% of the RDI

Magnesium: 8% of the RDI

 

5. Cashews

Calories: 155

Total Fat: 12 grams

Protein: 5 grams

Carbs: 9 grams

Fiber: 1 gram

Vitamin E: 1% of the RDI

Magnesium: 20% of the RDI

 

6. Pecans

Calories: 193

Total Fat: 20 grams

Protein: 3 grams

Carbs: 4 grams

Fiber 2.5 grams

Vitamin E: 2% of the RDI

Magnesium: 8% of the RDI

 

7. Macadamia Nuts

Calories: 200

Total Fat: 21 grams

Protein: 2 grams

Carbs: 4 grams

Fiber: 2.5 grams

Vitamin E: 1% of the RDI

Magnesium: 9% of the RDI

 

8. Hazelnuts

Calories: 176

Total Fat: 9 grams

Protein: 6 grams

Carbs: 6 grams

Fiber: 3.5 grams

Vitamin E: 37% of the RDI

Magnesium: 20% of the RDI

 

9. Brazil Nuts

Calories: 182

Total Fat: 18 grams

Protein: 4 grams

Carbs: 3 grams

Fiber: 2 grams

Vitamin E: 8% of the RDI

Magnesium: 26% of the RDI

Kate B. Forsyth is a writer for Be Healthy Today, who specializes in health and nutrition. Her passion is to help people get an overall transformation of health that lasts a lifetime. In her blog posts, she goes beyond research by providing health-concerned citizens doable and simple tricks to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

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