If nuts aren’t a frequent snack, you’re missing out on important disease-fighting nutrients that could help protect your heart, decrease cholesterol, and more.
Nuts are on practically every smart-snacking list for a variety of reasons. To begin with, they’re simple to transport or store in an office drawer or pantry if you’re on the run. According to Mayo Clinic, in addition to protein and other minerals, all nuts contain cholesterol-lowering fibre, making you feel fuller for longer and helping you eat less and lose weight.
“A small quantity can fill your diet with enough fibre, protein, unsaturated fats, and key vitamins and minerals,” states Joy Bauer, RDN, nutrition and health professional for the Today show and writer of many books.
Nuts have been linked to a slew of health advantages. According to Mayo Clinic, most nuts also contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, which may help prevent plaque buildup in the arteries. Along with “good” fats that may reduce your LDL or “bad” cholesterol and triglyceride levels, most nuts also have heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, which may prevent plaque buildup in the arteries.
In a previous study, researchers discovered that persons who reported eating the most nuts had a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease than those who ate the most small nuts.
Other research on 15,467 older women from the Nurses’ Health Study found that higher nut consumption was connected to better overall cognition throughout the study’s six years. Another study, financed in part by the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research and Education Foundation, found that persons who reported eating nuts more regularly lived longer than those who reported eating nuts less frequently.
Just keep in mind that nuts are still a calorie-dense meal, according to the Mayo Clinic. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a serving of nuts is roughly 1 ounce (oz) or a small handful (USDA).
Are all nuts created equal, then? While all nuts are high in fibre and protein, each species has its own set of health benefits. According to Mayo Clinic, that means the more variety in your diet, the better — as long as it’s not covered in chocolate, sugar, or salt (which can negate some health benefits).
Here’s everything you need to know about the health benefits of each type of nut.
Walnuts Contain Antioxidants and Help to Fight Inflammation
According to research published in the journal Nutrients in February 2020, consuming a daily portion of walnuts can improve cognitive function and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, and type 2 diabetes, all of which are risks for dementia. Walnuts offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, according to the article.
In a prior study, walnuts were found to have the highest antioxidant content when compared against nine varieties of raw and roasted nuts and two types of peanut butter.
“Organic Walnut Kernels are also the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation,” Bauer adds.
According to the USDA, one serving (1 oz or roughly 14 walnut halves) has 185 calories, 19 grammes of fat, 4 grammes of protein, 2 grammes of fibre, and 4 grammes of carbs.
Almonds May Help You Lose Weight
According to the USDA, almonds have one of the highest fibre levels of any nut, with over 4 g per 1 ounce serving. According to Mayo Clinic, eating enough fibre lowers your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Fibre also makes you feel full, which may aid in weight loss.
According to research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in January 2015, eating 1.5 oz of Organic Almonds Roasted Salted as a snack helped participants lose more visceral fat than eating the same number of calories in muffins.
According to other research, almonds may contain crucial prebiotic qualities that help maintain a healthy gut flora balance.
According to the USDA, one serving (1 oz or roughly 23 nuts) contains the following nutrients: 164 calories, 14 grammes of fat, 6 grammes of protein, 4 grammes of fibre, and 6 grammes of carbs.
Cashews May Help Lower ‘Bad’ Cholesterol
Cashews are a fantastic source of iron and contain healthful fats, fibre, and protein. According to the National Institutes of Health, they also contain zinc. “Iron aids in the delivery of oxygen to all of your cells and prevents anaemia, while zinc is essential for immunological health and vision,” Bauer explains.
Cashews, when compared to high-carbohydrate snack meals, may even help lower LDL cholesterol in people with mildly high levels, according to randomised, controlled research published in The FASEB Journal in October 2018.
Magnesium is also abundant in cashews. According to a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition in May 2020, having enough magnesium can assist boost cognitive functioning in older persons.
Pistachios Help You, Snack Less
According to Bauer, pistachios have only four calories per and are especially diet-friendly if purchased in the shell. “The snack lasts longer and you eat less overall because the shells slow you down.”
According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in July 2015, they contain a variety of nutrients, including folate, which your body needs to form new cells and maintain heart health, as well as several other B vitamins. Vitamin K, which is found in the nuts, is essential for bone health and has been associated with a reduced risk of various chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
Pistachios Roasted Salted are also high in manganese and are a good source of copper.
According to the USDA, one serving (1 oz or roughly 49 nuts) contains 159 calories, 13 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of carbs.