10 of the Best Nuts for Your Health (Slideshow)
Arguably the most delicious nut due to their crunchy, rich, and buttery flavor, macadamias contain more monounsaturated fats — remember, the heart-healthy fat — than any other type of nut. Eating macadamias can help with reducing LDL cholesterol levels, which are known to clog arteries. They are also a good source of fiber, vitamin B, and contain minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Even though they are packed full of nutritional benefits, you will need to be mindful of the high calorie and fat content. A 1-ounce serving of macadamia nuts equals about 200 calories. And before you think of treating Fido to a couple, you should know that macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs.
Hazelnuts have actually played a role in man’s diet since prehistoric times. They are an excellent source of vitamin E and are also a great source of folate, which is great for pregnant women and to help to reduce depression symptoms. Hazelnuts are also a source of fiber, vitamin B, protein, potassium, and calcium. According to the UDSA, eating a 1 1/2-ounce serving of hazelnuts per day helps reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. A 1-ounce serving of hazelnuts amounts to about 176 calories, and as a fun fact, Oregon produces the majority of the U.S. hazelnut crop.
There's no getting away from it — pine nuts are very high in calories and fat. A 1-ounce serving of pine nuts equals 191 calories, however, the type of fat they contain is largely monounsaturated, also known as the good fats. They are also a great source of protein and dietary fiber, and pine nuts have more vitamin K than any other nut, which helps to strengthen bones and arteries. Additionally, they contain in vitamins E, thiamin, and niacin. Pine nuts will keep your heart healthy and your blood pressure down, as they also contain magnesium and potassium, as well as a good amount of antioxidants.
Walnuts contain the highest concentration of antioxidants of any kind of nut, and studies have shown that eating them regularly can help reduce your chance of cardiovascular disease and protect against diabetes and certain cancers. They are also a great source of fiber, and they contain omega-3 fats, alpha-linolenic acid, and plant sterols that are known to help lower cholesterol levels. Walnuts are also a good source of zinc and folate that can help fight stress, increase your serotonin level, and boost brainpower. A 1-ounce serving of walnuts amounts to about 180 calories, and as a fun fact, California grows approximately 75% of the world’s walnut supply.
Almonds are truly a super food, and they’re very tasty. Munching on almonds is good for your heart because they’re high in vitamin E and folic acid. Almonds are also the most nutrient-dense nut and are loaded with fiber, magnesium, protein, potassium, calcium, and zinc. Clinical studies have shown that eating a portion of almonds, as part of an overall healthy diet, will help to reduce cholesterol levels. Additionally, if you snack on almonds throughout the day, you’re less likely to take in calories from unhealthy food sources as they improve satiety. A 1-ounce serving of almonds amounts to 163 calories, and in case you were wondering, it takes 1,000 pounds of almonds to make 1 pint of almond oil.
Pistachios are known as "the skinny nut," as they only contain about 3 calories apiece, are low in fat, and have a high amount of fiber. Pistachio nuts are a great source of vitamin B6, protein, potassium, and thiamin. A study from Pennsylvania State University reported that eating pistachios might help prevent high blood pressure by reducing cholesterol levels in people who have cardiovascular risks. Additionally, data presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers Conference showed that a diet that includes a daily dose of pistachios could help decrease the risk of lung and other cancers. A 1-ounce serving of pistachio nuts amounts to 160 calories, and China leads the world in total pistachio consumption.
As great sources of iron, cashew nuts contain twice as much iron as ground beef, making them a great source for vegetarians and pregnant women. They're also rich in magnesium, which helps maintain healthy bones and is vital for energy. Cashews are also a source of calcium, vitamin B, zinc, folic acid, vitamin E, and trace amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. They also have a lower fat content than most other nuts and can help reduce the incidence of gallstones. A 1-ounce serving of cashew nuts contains 157 calories, and the cashew tree is from the same family as poison ivy.
Pecans are a great source of vitamin E and studies have shown they are can protect against Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and heart disease. Pecans are packed with plant sterols and are also antioxidant-rich, which helps prevent the plaque formation that causes hardening of the arteries and can be effective for lowering cholesterol levels. As pecans are a good source of vitamin B3, they are the perfect choice if you're feeling lethargic, as this vitamin helps us access the energy in our food.. A 1-ounce serving of pecan nuts amounts to 196 calories, and the pecan tree has been the Texas state tree since 1919.
Also known as Monkey Nuts, peanuts are technically a legume, and contain higher levels of protein than most "real" nuts. Studies have shown that regular peanut consumption helps improve cholesterol levels and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. Research from the University of Florida discovered that peanuts are rich in antioxidants, which protect cells from damage linked to heart disease and cancer. They are also good for keeping blood sugar levels even and so could be a source of protection against type-2 diabetes. They are a good source of vitamin E, which helps protect the skin, and they contain adequate amounts of vitamin B, fiber, potassium, and magnesium. Americans spend almost $800 million a year on peanut butter, consuming about 150 calories in every ounce.
The greatest health benefit of the Brazil nut is its high selenium content. It has been claimed that selenium can help protect again prostate and breast cancers, AIDS symptoms, male fertility, skin disorders, anxiety, and asthma. It is also crucial for thyroid health. Don’t eat too many of these, though. Eating Brazil nuts in large quantities may cause selenosis, also known as selenium poisoning. Thankfully, you only need one Brazil nut each day to get the recommended daily amount of selenium, and at 186 calories for 1 ounce, we’re OK with that. Brazil nuts are also a good source of E and B vitamins and essential fatty acids. These super-healthy nuts are plentiful, too, because in just a year, a Brazil nut tree can produce approximately 250 pounds of nuts.