Adding more nuts to your diet is a great way to get a dose of healthy fats and protein and feel more satiated for a longer period.
They are a great grab-and-go snack and can help you get a wide range of nutrients, but with the wide assortment of nuts on the market, how do you know which types of nuts are the healthiest?
While there is no such thing as a “bad” nut or a “good” nut, there are definitely some types that contain more vitamins and nutrients than others.
Ultimately, if you want to incorporate nuts in your diet, enjoy any type that you like and fit them into a balanced diet, but we will provide more information regarding which ones will give you the most bang for your nutritional buck.
The Science Behind Nuts
Oftentimes, almonds are the most discussed nuts, but the truth is that all nuts and seeds contain fiber, fats, protein, essential vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants.
According to several clinical trials, tree nuts can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
They can also help to decrease hypertension, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, obesity, stress, and inflammation.
Other studies have found that consuming one serving of nuts each day can help prevent heart attacks, strokes, and lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
If you need anymore reasons to add nuts into your diet, scientists have found that people who ate at least one serving of nuts per day had a lower weight, body mass index, and total waist circumference that people who do not eat nuts.
Luckily, there are all different types of nuts out there that can cater to different taste buds and different flavors.
Nutritional Breakdown of Nuts
While all nuts have various nutrients that are good for you, there are different breakdowns as far as how calorie-dense they are and which specific vitamins and minerals they contain.
Please note that each type of nut is displayed for how many calories are in one ounce (roughly one handful).
We did not break it out by what percentage of vitamins and minerals are contained within each serving, but we outlined which types of vitamins and minerals you can expect within that specific type of nut.
Here Is The Breakdown
Almonds are a great source of magnesium, vitamin E, riboflavin, copper, phosphorus and fiber.
Studies have shown that eating a diet rich in almonds can help reduce LDL cholesterol, which is considered bad cholesterol and can lead to heart problems.
Almond consumption has also been shown to help lower blood sugar by 30% in people with diabetes.
They can also help increase the growth of good bacteria in your gut, which can help improve digestion.
Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and thiamin.
They are also rich in selenium, which is a mineral that acts as an antioxidant.
Cashew Nuts are a great source of copper manganese, magnesium, vitamin K, zinc, and iron.
A study found that people whose diet contains 20% calories from cashews helped to improve their overall blood pressure and reduce the risk for metabolic syndrome.
Hazelnuts are a great source of copper, vitamin E, thiamin, magnesium, and fiber.
Hazelnuts have been shown to have positive effects on heart disease risk factors.
Macadamia nuts are a great source of manganese, thiamin, copper, and fiber.
Studies have shown that macadamia nuts can help to lower cholesterol and contribute to heart health.
Peanuts are a great source of manganese, niacin, folate, copper, magnesium, vitamin E, phosphorus, thiamin, and fiber.
A study conducted in 120,000 people found that diets containing peanuts contributed to lower death rates.
Pecans are a great source of manganese, copper, thiamin, and fiber.
Studies have shown that pecans can help to lower overall bad cholesterol and serve as an excellent source of antioxidants.
Great source of vitamin B, copper, manganese, phosphorus, thiamin, and fiber.
Pistachios can help lower cholesterol levels in people who eat two to three ounces of them per day by helping to increase HDL cholesterol levels.
They can also help to reduce blood sugar spikes following a meal, which can help keep your blood sugar at a more consistent level.
Walnuts are a great source of manganese, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus.
They are also one of the most popular nuts and contain a great profile of omega-3 fatty acids and alpha linolenic acid (ALA).
They can also help to decrease inflammation, which can help reduce your risk of many chronic diseases.
Part of a Balanced Diet
As with any type of food, it is important to practice moderation when consuming nuts, as they are very calorie-dense.
While they do contain a large amount of nutrients, it can be easy to eat more than a serving at a time because they are so small.
If you are unsure of what a serving size of nuts looks like, we recommend measuring a serving using a food scale or measuring cup to start to get accustomed to what a serving looks like.
If you do not have a food scale or other measuring tool on hand, you can also pour the nuts into the palm of your hand.
Of course, it is okay to indulge and eat more than one serving, but it can be helpful to know how much you are consuming, especially if you are on a lower calorie diet or trying to lose weight.
Many Ways to Eat Nuts
If you are not a fan of snacking on nuts by themselves, you can also toss different types of nuts into various recipes.
If you like to have a variety of nuts in your diet, you can also purchase nuts in bulk from your local grocery store and mix them all together in one container.
Another option is that you can purchase a pre-sorted can or container of mixed nuts to snack on, but it is important to note that these pre-mixed containers can be quite pricey for the convenience of pre-packaging them.
Different recipes and foods you can toss nuts into for a balanced meal:
If you do not have the time to use them in a recipe, you can also toss them into your cereal or oatmeal to give it a subtle crunch or blend them into a smoothie with other ingredients.
If you are bored with the plain flavor of nuts, you could also try roasting them for a few minutes in the oven or sprinkling them with some seasonings, cocoa powder, or sugar.
You could also try making your own almond or cashew milk by soaking them in water overnight and blending them in a blender.
Cashews and almonds can also be made into creamy pasta sauces for different recipes, along with some additional seasonings.
When it comes to incorporating more nuts into your diet, there is no limit to the types of recipes you can add them to and add some extra crunch.
The Bottom Line: Go Nuts!
If you are looking for a great way to increase the healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, and protein in your diet, we highly recommend adding nuts.
They are rich in antioxidants, can help you reduce inflammation, and can even help decrease your risk of getting certain chronic diseases.
Try tossing some into your next meal or snacking on them by the handful to help increase your vitamin and mineral intake and see how it makes you feel.
Experiment with different types of nuts to see how your body responds and which one is your favorite.