Nuts should be a part of most everyone’s diet since they are a natural source of monounsaturated fats and contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals. Each nut is nutritious in its own unique way but some are better than others.
10. Chestnuts – Roasted Over an Open Fire…
Chestnuts are not snacked on raw but they can be roasted or cooked into soups and other recipes. They are less popular and that could be attributed to the fact that studies have shown that a large percentage of people are allergic to this variety. Chestnuts are full of Vitamin C, potassium, copper and magnesium. Their high levels of fatty acids have been linked to cardiovascular health and the brain development of infants. They are lower in calories than most nuts however they are also lower in ‘good’ monounsaturated fats that are found in walnuts.
9. Macadamia Nuts – The “Dessert” Nut
This nut is generally found in a cookie or desert product and that may be because they have the highest calories per ounce in the nut family.
However macadamia nuts also have the highest levels of monounsaturated fats which are incredibly heart healthy. These nuts have been shown to lower ‘bad’ cholesterol and lower blood pressure levels.
Lastly, macadamias are one of the few foods to contain palmitoleic acid which has been shown to speed up the body’s fat metabolism. So although they are high in fat, the fats in these nuts are mostly heart healthy monounsaturated fats and prove good for the system.
8. Brazil Nuts – Your Daily Selenium Dose Delivered
Just one of these delightful nuts contain a hundred percent of one’s daily selenium. Selenium has been linked to inhibiting prostate cancer cell growth and also that it may help to prevent prostate, breast and bone cancers.
This preventative quality is phenomenal however too much selenium in a diet can be dangerous, so it is imperative that one only consumes a serving or less of Brazil nuts.
7. Hazelnuts – The Vitamin C “Monster” of the Nut World
Generally these sweet and earthy nuts are found blended into coffee beverages but they are more than just an additive. Hazelnuts are very high in Vitamin E, calcium and monounsaturated fats, and they can help improve blood pressure and even manage diabetes.
They contain the highest Vitamin C content in the nut family and the lowest saturated fat content of all nuts. They also contain fiber and folate, folate is not found in many other nuts and can prove beneficial to vegetarians.
6. Pecans – Lowering Your “Bad” Cholesterol Level
This is another variety that is generally found in desserts, such as the classic pecan pie, but it provides great health benefits. Pecans prevent plaque in arteries and are the most antioxidant rich nut.
They help lower LDL, or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels and promote heart health. Their saturation in Vitamin E can reduce brain degeneration and protect brain health. These notable health benefits prove that pecans should escape the dessert menu and be deemed a daily snack.
5. Peanuts – Most Popular Nut in America
The peanut is one of the most common nuts in the American diet for snacking on whole, in the shell and in peanut butter spreads.
This could be attributed to their high levels of folate, a mineral essential in brain development and preventing cognitive decline.
Folate can be a great nutritional additive to vegetarians and pregnant women. Peanuts also provide a great amount of daily Vitamin D and healthy fats.
4. Cashews – Creamy & Silky Goodness
Cashews are a low calorie option that are high in iron, iron delivers oxygen to cells which can prevent anemia. They are also great for promoting healthy vision and the immune system due to its high levels of zinc.
Cashews are vital to a daily diet because one ounce is equivalent to twenty five percent of the daily recommended Magnesium. Magnesium is beneficial to helping strengthen the memory and protect the mind from age related memory loss.
Cashews are delicious and almost have a silky texture but their best qualities are purely nutritional.
3. Almonds – Highest Level of Calcium in the Nut Family
Low calories and the highest levels of calcium in the nut family make this nut not only highly popular, but very healthy. Almonds harbor high levels of fiber and Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that can help prevent inflammation, age related cognitive decline and even lung cancer.
Almonds can be consumed in multiple forms including raw, cooked into desserts and recipes and even ground into a milk.
2. Walnuts – Heart Healthy ALA
This nut variety can be deemed the most heart healthy due to its high levels of alpha linoleic acid (ALA). Some studies have shown that ALA is beneficial in situations of heart arrhythmia and those who consumed eight per day reduced their inflammation.
It is even shown that eating these nuts can distribute oxidation in arteries after a fatty meal. Walnuts are quite high in omega 3 fatty acids and are delicious to boot, a great snack or even salad topper for the heart conscious.
1. Pistachios – The “Celebrity” Nut
Pistachios have been on the commercial circuit for quite some time now, their health benefits have been strewn across the television with B-list celebrities endorsing them.
It turns out that pistachios are one of the healthiest nuts for your eyes since they contain lutein and zeaxanthin, the only two carotenoid antioxidants that accumulate in the retinas.
They also contain selenium which is an anti inflammatory linked to breast, bone and prostate cancer prevention. Pistachios are also rich in Vitamin A, betacarotene, potassium, Vitamin C and fiber. They are usually eaten right out of the shell and used in many popular sweet, dessert-style recipes like ice cream.