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The Healthiest Nuts to Eat for Better Health

Nuts are a delicious and nutritious snack that can provide many health benefits, such as reducing your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Nuts are also rich in protein, fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. However, not all nuts are created equal. Some nuts have more nutrients and health effects than others. In this article, we will rank the healthiest nuts to eat based on their nutrient content, health benefits, and potential drawbacks. We will also provide some tips on how to enjoy nuts in your diet.

Healthiest Nuts to Eat for Better Health

1. Walnuts

Walnuts are the healthiest nuts to eat, according to many studies. Walnuts have the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids among nuts, which are essential for brain and heart health. Walnuts also contain polyphenols, which are plant compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Walnuts may help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation, as well as improve cognitive function, mood, and memory. Walnuts may also protect against certain cancers, such as breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer1.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of walnuts provides:

Calories: 185

Fat: 18.5 grams

Protein: 4.3 grams

Carbs: 3.9 grams

Fiber: 1.9 grams

Omega-3: 2.5 grams

Vitamin E: 0.2 milligrams (1% of the Daily Value, or DV)

Magnesium: 45 milligrams (11% of the DV)

Manganese: 1 milligram (48% of the DV)

You can eat walnuts raw, roasted, or chopped and added to salads, oatmeal, yogurt, or baked goods. You can also make walnut butter, milk, or flour for more versatility.

2. Almonds

Almonds are another excellent choice of nuts for health. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fat, which is the same type of fat found in olive oil and avocados. Monounsaturated fat can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol, as well as reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Almonds are also a good source of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that protects the cells from oxidative stress and supports the immune system. Almonds may also help regulate blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and prevent weight gain2.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of almonds provides:

Calories: 164

Fat: 14.2 grams

Protein: 6 grams

Carbs: 6.1 grams

Fiber: 3.5 grams

Vitamin E: 7.3 milligrams (37% of the DV)

Magnesium: 76.5 milligrams (19% of the DV)

Manganese: 0.6 milligrams (27% of the DV)

You can eat almonds raw, roasted, or soaked to enhance their digestibility and nutrient absorption. You can also make almond butter, milk, or flour for different uses. Almonds are great for snacking, adding to smoothies, cereals, salads, or desserts.

3. Pistachios

Pistachios are the third healthiest nuts to eat, according to research. Pistachios are lower in calories and fat than most nuts, but higher in protein and fiber. Pistachios are also rich in antioxidants, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and anthocyanins, which can protect the eyes, skin, and blood vessels from damage. Pistachios may help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and oxidative stress, as well as improve blood flow, endothelial function, and erectile function

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of pistachios provides:

Calories: 159

Fat: 12.6 grams

Protein: 5.7 grams

Carbs: 7.7 grams

Fiber: 3 grams

Lutein and zeaxanthin: 398 micrograms

Vitamin B6: 0.5 milligrams (24% of the DV)

Magnesium: 34 milligrams (8% of the DV)

Manganese: 0.4 milligrams (18% of the DV)

You can eat pistachios raw, roasted, or salted, depending on your preference. You can also make pistachio butter, milk, or flour for more options. Pistachios are delicious on their own, or mixed with dried fruits, seeds, or chocolate. You can also use them to garnish dishes, such as salads, rice, pasta, or desserts.

4. Cashews

Cashews are the fourth healthiest nuts to eat, according to some studies. Cashews are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can help lower cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as prevent heart disease and diabetes. Cashews are also a good source of copper, which is a mineral that is involved in many enzymatic reactions, such as energy production, iron metabolism, collagen synthesis, and antioxidant defense. Cashews may also help improve blood pressure, blood sugar, and insulin sensitivity.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of cashews provides:

Calories: 157

Fat: 12.4 grams

Protein: 5.2 grams

Carbs: 8.6 grams

Fiber: 0.9 grams

Copper: 0.6 milligrams (31% of the DV)

Magnesium: 83 milligrams (21% of the DV)

Manganese: 0.5 milligrams (23% of the DV)

You can eat cashews raw, roasted, or salted, depending on your taste. You can also make cashew butter, milk, or cheese for more variety. Cashews are creamy and mild, making them ideal for blending into sauces, soups, curries, or desserts. You can also use them to make vegan cheese, cream, or yogurt.

5. Pecans

Pecans are the fifth healthiest nuts to eat, according to some evidence. Pecans are high in polyunsaturated fat, especially omega-6, which can help lower inflammation and improve blood lipid profiles. Pecans are also high in antioxidants, such as ellagic acid, which can protect the cells from DNA damage and prevent cancer. Pecans may also help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and oxidative stress, as well as improve endothelial function and cognitive performance.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of pecans provides:

Calories: 196

Fat: 20.4 grams

Protein: 2.6 grams

Carbs: 3.9 grams

Fiber: 2.7 grams

Ellagic acid: 33.4 milligrams

Vitamin E: 0.4 milligrams (2% of the DV)

Magnesium: 34 milligrams (8% of the DV)

Manganese: 1.3 milligrams (61% of the DV)

You can eat pecans raw, roasted, or candied, depending on your preference. You can also make pecan butter, milk, or flour for more options. Pecans are sweet and buttery, making them perfect for baking, such as pies, cookies, or cakes. You can also use them to make granola, trail mix, or salads.

6. Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are the sixth healthiest nuts to eat, according to some research. Hazelnuts are high in monounsaturated fat, which can help lower cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as prevent heart disease and stroke. Hazelnuts are also a good source of vitamin E, which is a potent antioxidant that protects the cells from oxidative stress and supports the immune system. Hazelnuts may also help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation, as well as improve insulin sensitivity and endothelial function.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of hazelnuts provides:

Calories: 178

Fat: 17 grams

Protein: 4.2 grams

Carbs: 4.7 grams

Fiber: 2.7 grams

Vitamin E: 4.3 milligrams (22% of the DV)

Magnesium: 46 milligrams (12% of the DV)

Manganese: 1.7 milligrams (81% of the DV)

You can eat hazelnuts raw, roasted, or blanched, depending on your taste. You can also make hazelnut butter, milk, or flour for more variety. Hazelnuts are nutty and slightly sweet, making them ideal for pairing with chocolate, such as in spreads, bars, or truffles. You can also use them to make pesto, salads, or desserts.

7. Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts are the seventh healthiest nuts to eat, according to some studies. Macadamia nuts are high in monounsaturated fat, which can help lower cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as prevent heart disease and stroke. Macadamia nuts are also a good source of manganese, which is a mineral that is involved in many enzymatic reactions, such as bone formation, antioxidant defense, and wound healing. Macadamia nuts may also help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and oxidative stress, as well as improve endothelial function and cognitive performance.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of macadamia nuts provides:

Calories: 204

Fat: 21.5 grams

Protein: 2.2 grams

Carbs: 3.9 grams

Fiber: 2.4 grams

Manganese: 1.2 milligrams (58% of the DV)

Magnesium: 37 milligrams (9% of the DV)

Vitamin B1: 0.2 milligrams (13% of the DV)

You can eat macadamia nuts raw, roasted, or salted, depending on your preference. You can also make macadamia nut butter, milk, or oil for more options. Macadamia nuts are creamy and rich, making them ideal for adding to cookies, muffins, or cakes. You can also use them to make salads, dips, or dressings.

8. Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are the eighth healthiest nuts to eat, according to some evidence. Brazil nuts are high in selenium, which is a trace mineral that is essential for thyroid function, immune system, and antioxidant defense. Selenium can also protect against certain cancers, such as prostate, lung, and colorectal cancer. Brazil nuts may also help lower cholesterol, inflammation, and oxidative stress, as well as improve mood and cognitive function.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of brazil nuts provides:

Calories: 187

Fat: 19 grams

Protein: 4.1 grams

Carbs: 3.3 grams

Fiber: 2.1 grams

Selenium: 543 micrograms (986% of the DV)

Magnesium: 107 milligrams (27% of the DV)

Manganese: 0.3 milligrams (16% of the DV)

You can eat brazil nuts raw, roasted, or salted, depending on your taste. You can also make brazil nut butter, milk, or flour for more variety. Brazil nuts are crunchy and earthy, making them suitable for snacking, adding to granola, trail mix, or chocolate. You can also use them to make pesto, soups, or sauces.

How to Eat Nuts for Better Health

Nuts are a healthy and satisfying snack that can provide many benefits for your health. However, there are some tips to keep in mind when eating nuts:

Choose raw, unsalted, and unflavored nuts to avoid added salt, sugar, and oil that can increase the calorie and sodium content of nuts.

Eat nuts in moderation, as they are high in calories and fat. A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of nuts is about a handful, which is enough to provide the nutrients and health effects of nuts. Eating too many nuts can lead to weight gain and digestive issues.

Store nuts in a cool, dry, and dark place to prevent them from going rancid. Nuts contain unsaturated fats that can oxidize and spoil when exposed to heat, light, and air. You can also refrigerate or freeze nuts to extend their shelf life.

Soak or sprout nuts before eating them to enhance their digestibility and nutrient absorption. Nuts contain phytic acid, which is an antinutrient that can bind to minerals and reduce their availability. Soaking or sprouting nuts can reduce the phytic acid content and activate the enzymes that make nuts easier to digest and absorb.

Mix nuts with other foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, or dairy, to create a balanced and varied diet. Nuts can complement other foods by providing protein, healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants. Nuts can also enhance the flavor, texture, and satiety of your meals and snacks.

Conclusion

Nuts are a nutritious and delicious snack that can improve your health in many ways. Nuts are rich in protein, fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Nuts can also lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. However, not all nuts are equally healthy. Some nuts have more nutrients and health effects than others. The healthiest nuts to eat are walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, pecans, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, and brazil nuts. You can eat nuts raw, roasted, or soaked, and mix them with other foods to create a balanced and varied diet. Nuts are a great way to add more flavor, crunch, and nutrition to your life.

FAQs

Q: Can I eat nuts if I have a nut allergy?

A: No, you should avoid nuts if you have a nut allergy, as they can cause severe and potentially life-threatening reactions, such as anaphylaxis. You should also avoid foods that may contain traces of nuts, such as chocolates, cereals, granola bars, or baked goods. You should always read the labels of the foods you buy and ask the staff of the restaurants you visit about the ingredients and preparation methods of the foods you order.

Q: Can I eat nuts if I have high blood pressure?

A: Yes, you can eat nuts if you have high blood pressure, as they can help lower your blood pressure by providing healthy fats, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants. However, you should choose unsalted nuts to avoid excess sodium intake, which can raise your blood pressure. You should also limit your portion size to a handful of nuts per day, as eating too many nuts can increase your calorie intake and lead to weight gain, which can also raise your blood pressure.

Q: Can I eat nuts if I have diabetes?

A: Yes, you can eat nuts if you have diabetes, as they can help regulate your blood sugar levels by providing protein, fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants. Nuts can also improve your insulin sensitivity and prevent diabetes complications, such as heart disease and nerve damage. However, you should choose unsalted and unflavored nuts to avoid added sugar and oil, which can spike your blood sugar levels. You should also monitor your portion size and carbohydrate intake, as eating too many nuts can increase your calorie and carb intake and affect your blood sugar levels.

Q: Can I eat nuts if I have high cholesterol?

A: Yes, you can eat nuts if you have high cholesterol, as they can help lower your cholesterol levels by providing healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants. Nuts can also reduce the oxidation and inflammation of your LDL (bad) cholesterol, which can prevent plaque formation and clogging of your arteries. However, you should choose unsalted and unflavored nuts to avoid added salt and oil, which can increase your cholesterol levels. You should also limit your portion size to a handful of nuts per day, as eating too many nuts can increase your calorie and fat intake and raise your cholesterol levels.

Q: Can I eat nuts if I want to lose weight?

A: Yes, you can eat nuts if you want to lose weight, as they can help you feel full and satisfied for longer by providing protein, fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants. Nuts can also boost your metabolism and burn more calories by increasing your thermogenesis, which is the process of generating heat in your body. However, you should choose unsalted and unflavored nuts to avoid added salt, sugar, and oil, which can increase your calorie intake and lead to weight gain. You should also control your portion size to a handful of nuts per day, as eating too many nuts can increase your calorie and fat intake and lead to weight gain.

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