Healthwise, nuts are fabulous. But, there's a lot of different ones out there. So, what's the best one you should eat?
Are you looking for the fat, the crunch, the feeling of savoriness?
Let's take a deeper dive into the world of nuts.
Is There A Best Nut?
The best nut depends on what you're looking for. Some nuts work better for brain health, such as walnuts. Others benefit the heart a little bit better. Some are great for filling you up and others for adding flavor. If you like your nuts, go ahead and mix them up. They're a healthy snack that delivers a lot of nutrition for you.
But we're going to show you now what is best in each nut.
This kidney-shaped bean is rich in nutrients, particularly copper and unsaturated fats. Plus, being very low in sugar and high in protein helps supply diabetics with a good snack source.
Be sure to get roasted cashews. Not only are cashews one of the few foods that increase in nutrition with cooking, but cashews also contain a toxic compound, urushiol, that's also found in poison ivy that's destroyed during cooking.
The brain nut, walnuts contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and a large amount of antioxidants. At nearly 65% fat, walnuts are an incredibly energy-dense food, perfect for people who need a lower-carb diet.
Because of the high concentrations of fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic acid, they're recommended as a snack for people with heart disease because alpha-linolenic acid helps reduce inflammation caused by heart disease.
Vitamin and mineral-wise, almonds are probably top of the pack. They're not particularly high in protein or fat, but the vitamins and minerals, plus the antioxidants, make up for it.
One mineral in particular, magnesium, is relatively high in almonds. This is important, especially since many women are deficient in magnesium, and a lack of magnesium could increase your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
The fun nut, most people enjoy breaking the shell as they eat them. Pistachios are very high in lutein and zeaxanthin, which are very important to eye health. It's also high in protein, a bit higher than most of the other nuts.
It's also one of the few nuts studied to help your gut, with eating pistachios helping to increase the number of butyrate-producing bacteria that helped produce short-chain fatty acids that help digestive disorders and heart disease.
These large nuts are a good well-rounded nut. They contain moderate levels of vitamins and minerals, various mono and polyunsaturated fats, and a healthy dose of antioxidants.
Interestingly, several of the compounds found within hazelnuts have research that shows it might be protective against cancer. So, although all nuts contain the property, hazelnut seems to stand out from the crowd.
This popular nut is loaded with monounsaturated fats and manganese. Both of these are wonderful for helping lower LDL cholesterol and helping heart health. Plus, they have a lot of antioxidants and healthy fats.
More specifically, macadamia nuts may help reduce type 2 diabetes by reducing A1C levels. Plus, they can help reduce the inflammation associated with different disorders, such as IBS, Crohn's, and ulcerative colitis.
Energy-dense Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, which can help with thyroid issues, inflammation, and immune system support. Brazil nuts are so rich in selenium, they are nearly 1,000% the RDI, making it one of the few nuts you have to moderate.
Brazil nuts are great for adding to a mix, with getting 5 to 7 nuts supplying you with a tremendous amount of selenium.
Pine nuts are creamy and very energy-dense. They contain a monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid that may help heart health and reduce cholesterol. They also contain phenylalanine acid, that may help reduce your appetite by helping release hunger-suppressing enzymes.
They are no slouch on regular nutrition, being packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, meaning tossing some into your salad or pesto is an excellent nutritious addition.
Rich and buttery, pecans are for more than baking. They contain healthy fats and vitamins and minerals, but may be one of the weaker nuts, overall. Still, there's a lot of research to show that pecans as a snack may help reduce inflammation, stabilize blood sugar, and improve your heart health.
But, a piece of pecan pie is not a serving of nuts.
And finally, the nut that isn't a nut. Peanuts are technically a legume, similar to the soybean. They're pretty poor in nutrition, being rich in omega-6 fatty acids rather than the healthier omega-3 fatty acids. If you're looking for the health benefits of nuts, you want to avoid the peanut.