Nuts are some of the healthiest snacks you can eat. They’re loaded with healthy fats and protein that help keep you feeling fulfilled. Nuts do what a healthy snack should do: they hold you over till the next meal. But not all nuts are created equal, and some are better than others.
In this post we’ll discuss some of the healthiest varieties of nuts you can use as a snack on a daily basis.
Quick List of the Healthiest Nuts
While there are many more varieties of nuts, these are the 7 healthiest ones that provide a variety of benefits. Read on to learn about each of these varieties of nuts in detail.
Almonds are, without a doubt, one of the healthiest nuts you can eat. These little guys are protein powerhouses – just a 1 oz. serving of almonds contains about 1/8 of a days’ worth of protein.
Almonds also contain melatonin which makes them one of the best foods to promote good sleep.
In addition to these benefits, almonds are high in antioxidants and may help to fight & prevent heart disease. They also have more fiber than any other nut which helps in weight control.
Like almonds, walnuts are also rich in antioxidants – in fact, they contain more antioxidants than most other nuts. This high antioxidant content makes them great fighters of inflammation and among the healthiest of nuts.
Walnuts are also known to fight cancer, diabetes, and lower blood pressure. Many of these benefits are due to their high fiber content along with the antioxidants mentioned above.
Like most nuts, pistachios are loaded with healthy fats and proteins. What sets them apart from other nuts is their high B vitamin content. B vitamins help maintain a healthy metabolism which can aid in maintaining an ideal weight.
Additionally, pistachios have a lower overall fat content that most nuts which makes them an ideal addition to a weight loss diet plan.
Finally, pistachios have been studied and shown to improve cholesterol levels.
Cashews are a popular nut in Indian cuisine, even though they didn’t originate there. Just a small amount of cashews per week can help lower the risk of heart disease.
Cashews are also highly recommended to eat as part of a weight loss plan. They also provide high levels of magnesium which is important for bone health.
Pecans have over 19 different vitamins and minerals which help land them on the list of the healthiest nuts. Like other nuts, they help to maintain a healthy weight and provide a myriad of other health benefits.
Studies have shown that pecans help to lower LDL cholesterol levels, which is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
One of the most important health benefits provided by pecans is that they appear to help protect the nervous system. One study showed that pecans added to the diet could delay age-related motor neuron degeneration. This is one of the main symptoms of diseases such as ALS.
6. Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts are one of the more rich-tasting varieties of nuts. They’re a popular ingredient in cookies, especially during the holiday season. But just because they taste good doesn’t mean they can’t be included among the healthiest nuts.
While macadamias tend to be higher in fat and lower in protein than most other nuts, they still appear to provide cholesterol benefits according to studies. This is likely due to the fact that the fats contained within them are largely of the monounsaturated type.
As a result, macadamia tend to be ones of the best nuts to support cardiovascular health.
7. Brazil Nuts
While not as popular as other types of nuts on this list, the brazil nut has significant health benefits.
Brazil nuts follow along with most other nuts we’ve discussed – they have a healthy fat profile, protein, and fiber. One thing that sets them apart is their high selenium content.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that supports thyroid health, the immune system, and reduces the symptoms of asthma.
Eating the Healthiest Nuts as a Part of a Balanced Diet
For many years, nuts were considered to be somewhat of a ‘danger food’ because their high-calorie and fat content make them the type of food many would blame for obesity.
But as our knowledge of what constitutes a healthy diet has evolved, it’s come to pass that nuts can be an important part of a healthy diet.
Overall, nuts facilitate weight loss and heart health. With the right combinations, they also fight cancer and brain diseases.
Sources & Additional Reading:
1. Medical News Today: The Health Benefits of Almonds
2. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Almonds and Cardiovascular Health: A Review
3. US National Library of Medicine: National Institutes of Health: Tannins and Antioxidant Activities of the Walnut (Juglans regia) Pellicle
4. Healthline: 13 Proven Health Benefits of Walnuts
5. SFGATE: Nutritional Value of Pistachios
6. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Pistachios for Health | What Do We Know About This Multifaceted Nut?
7. Harvard Medical School: Eating nuts promotes cardiovascular health
8. The Migraine Trust: Supplements and Herbs
9. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Pecans lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in people with normal lipid levels
10. University of Massachusetts: Pecans Provide Neurological Protection
11. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: A macadamia nut-rich diet reduces total and LDL-cholesterol in mildly hypercholesterolemic men and women
12. Healthline: 7 Science-Based Health Benefits of Selenium