Margaret Minnicks is a health-conscious person who researches the health benefits of foods and drinks.
Nuts are very healthy, but different nuts have different health benefits. With such a wide variety of nuts available, you have many choices. Therefore, you should keep nuts on hand for times when you want to eat a low-calorie snack that is not loaded with sugar or salt.
Nuts are a convenient snack to keep on hand for all family members. They are also easy to take with you when you go out. You can keep them in your desk drawer at work to snack on during the day.
According to theMayo Clinic, nuts are cholesterol-free and are packed with protein and fiber. That way you feel full for a long time, and you are less likely to fill up on other snacks that are not as healthy. Nuts also contain vitamins, minerals, and unsaturated fats. Those are the good fats that will help lower bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Nuts also contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Don't expect nuts to provide health benefits if they are covered with salt, sugar, or chocolate.
Check out the alphabetical list of nuts below to find some interesting information about nuts as well as which type of nuts you should eat for your particular health needs.
Even though almonds are nuts, they are related to peaches and apricots which are fruits. According to the USDA, almonds contain more fiber than any of the other nuts. Four grams of fiber in a one-ounce serving are enough to lower the risk of some types of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. They also have properties that keep good bacteria in the gut.
If you are trying to lose weight, snack on almonds. The fiber in them makes you feel full and causes you to eat less.
Brazil nuts are delicious and healthy to eat. They are large and meaty with a good source of vitamin E, minerals, and selenium. In fact, Brazil nuts have the highest amount of selenium of any of the nuts. That's good news for the one billion people worldwide who have a selenium deficiency. Just one ounce of Brazil nuts provides antioxidants to the body. That means people are just six Brazil nuts away from getting rid of their deficiency. Then they will have more energy and be in a much better mood.
By the way, you don't have to be Brazilian to love the nuts.
By definition, cashews are seeds and not nuts even though people refer to them and eat them as nuts. The crescent-shaped seeds can be eaten as they are, or they can be put in salads and added to dishes for a crunchy taste.
Some people love them because they are delicious and contain healthy fiber, protein, fats, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Cashews may lower LDL, the bad cholesterol in people with high levels.
You might have noticed that hazelnuts look like acorns. They are known to improve cardiovascular health and help to manage type 2 diabetes because of their high levels of monounsaturated fats and several antioxidants. They can help protect against certain types of cancer, heart disease, and inflammatory diseases.
Like cashews, one ounce of hazelnuts can lower LDL, which may also protect your heart.
Macadamia nuts are so rich in flavor that it is hard to think of them as nuts rather than as a dessert. They are used as an ingredient in cookies and other desserts.
As seen in the chart below, macadamia nuts contain more calories than any of the other nuts. They also contain the highest counts of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat per serving.
Macadamia nuts are the third type of nuts on this list that help lower LDL, the bad cholesterol. They also help lower blood pressure.
Pecans are good to eat just as they are, but about 78 pecans are usually baked in the average pecan pie. Those nuts have antioxidants that may help prevent plaque from forming in the arteries for a healthier heart.
If the rich and buttery nut is eaten every day for just four weeks, they can help diabetics maintain a healthy blood glucose level. Pecans also can help prevent the risk of high blood pressure and some cancers.
Just one ounce of pecans contains more than 19 vitamins and minerals and about 20 grams of monounsaturated fats that are good for the heart.
A true nut comes from trees and not from the ground. Therefore, peanuts are not nuts because they come from the ground. They actually belong to the legume family. They are listed with nuts because people think of them and eat them as nuts. In fact, peanuts have similar nutrient and health benefits just as tree nuts.
Peanuts may improve heart disease and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, especially if the peanuts are plain, unflavored, and unsalted.
Pistachios are one of the most popular nuts to snack on. They are high in potassium with a green color because of chlorophyll. They are low in calories but packed with lots of healthy ingredients, including vitamin B, vitamin K, copper, manganese, and folate. Pistachios can lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Walnuts were considered to be good for intelligence in ancient times. An article published in the journal Nutrients says that eating a daily serving of walnuts can improve intelligence because they are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that help to improve brain health.
Walnuts also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, and type 2 diabetes. The nuts also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which are healthy for the body. Walnuts contain the highest antioxidant content of any of the nuts. Also, they fight inflammation because they have the most omega-3 fatty acids.
Information Provided by USDA
Brazil Nuts (8)
Macadamia Nuts (12)
Pecans (15 halves)
Walnuts (14 halves)
Not only are nuts good to eat as snacks, but they can be added to salads, pasta, soups, cereals, and baked goods.
See how many nuts you can identify in this short quiz.
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