Have you ever wondered if nuts are really that good for you?
Have you ever asked yourself which types of nuts have the most proven health benefits?
You are not alone in asking these questions. What we would like to do in this blog is to discuss the many reasons why nuts are a good choice and specifically which the healthiest nuts to choose are. We aim to help you to learn which are the best nuts for health by describing some of the types of nuts and the associated benefits of each.
Most people know that nuts are a good source of protein, especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan who is concerned about not getting enough protein in your diet. It is also true that nuts are also still a good option for protein even for non-vegetarians, and are an easy snack that you can have at any time. Certainly nuts are a much better choice for a snack than the usual unhealthy junk food like potato chips.
What are some of the benefits that nuts have for your health?
Nuts are also much more than just a good source of protein. In fact, nuts also contain many healthy types of fatty acids. You probably think, like many people, that fat is bad for you, but actually, some fats in the form of certain fatty acids are very good for you!
Furthermore, studies have shown that people who eat a lot of nuts have lower mortality from such common chronic conditions as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease 1. Knowing how beneficial nuts are then, we will continue our discussion of which types are the healthiest based on what scientists have found so as to help you to choose nuts that have the most benefit for you.
Which nuts are the healthiest?
There are many different types of nuts you can choose from as you probably know. However, it can be hard to know which to select when there is so much confusing and sometimes conflicting information about nuts to be found on the internet and from misconceptions of the general public.
The best way to know the healthiest nuts to eat is to find out based on scientific evidence. This is what we intend to do in this article, in which we will describe the various healthy types of nuts and their benefits based on published scientific studies.
Continue reading below to learn more about some of the healthiest nuts available today that you can buy and add to your diet or even use as a healthy snack when you are too busy to sit down for a meal.
Earlier we mentioned how certain fatty acids are actually healthy for you. Walnuts, in particular, contain large amounts of alpha-linolenic acid2, which is a form of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids actually help protect the heart and have been shown to lower the harmful kind of cholesterol in the blood3, and are thus a good choice as a healthy snack option.
The walnuts help protect you by helping to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. You may be wondering what is the healthiest nut of all? Many would say walnuts because of the protection that it gives to the heart and circulatory system, which is important considering that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of people in the world today.
Walnuts are certainly not the only heart-healthy nut that is out there. We now know that almonds also have many advantages in helping heart function, and in decreasing levels of the harmful LDL cholesterol4.
A further benefit of almonds is that they actually do help people who have type 2 diabetes by helping with blood sugar control5. These nuts are also a potentially excellent source of prebiotic fiber which is important for helping feed good bacteria in the gut6.
Fiber is also found in pistachio nuts as are several helpful nutrients such as magnesium, vitamin K and potassium, as well as beneficial fatty acids7. There is also evidence suggesting that these nuts help with controlling blood sugar levels after meals7. Pistachios, similar to the other healthy nuts we have already mentioned, clearly have more than one benefit and would be an excellent snack food for people on the go.
Macadamia nuts are a favorite snack for many people, and it turns out this is yet another one of the healthiest nuts to eat. They can help you lower the levels of harmful lipids in the blood because they have good healthy fatty acids8, similar to the other nuts we have already discussed and so reduce the risk of heart disease.
Nuts such as these are a good alternative to junk food which is typically loaded with saturated fat, which is likely to have the opposite effect and actually increase levels of bad cholesterol. Junk food also does not have the number of nutrients that nuts have and are often loaded with sugar as well.
Besides helping with heart disease, some of our selection of healthiest nuts also helps with inflammation in the body. In fact, Brazil nuts have been shown to reduce inflammatory chemicals in the blood9. Inflammation is widely believed to be linked to many chronic health conditions that people suffer from.
These nuts also have a lot of selenium which is helpful in protecting the body from the harmful effects of oxidation reactions9. Such antioxidants are helpful and provide benefits to the cells of the body. It is after all, damage to cells which causes illness such as cancer.
Studies done with patients who had high cholesterol showed that hazelnuts were helpful in correcting the lipid profile in the blood10, and thus this is a nut that is very healthy. Hazelnuts also have a lot of useful nutrients such as vitamin E, fiber, oleic acid, and phytosterols11.
This is one more type of nut that you can happily add to your list of healthy nuts to snack on, and it also has added antioxidant compounds present11. You really can’t go wrong adding hazelnuts as a tasty addition to your diet.
This is one nut that you may think is bad for you because they do have quite a high fat content, but as it turns out, they actually have many helpful compounds and actually are good for you. Peanuts even help decrease blood glucose levels after meals, similarly to the way that almonds work12.
This means that peanuts can actually potentially help stop you from getting type 2 diabetes or even help manage the problem if you already have it. Of course you should always check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet.
If you have ever eaten pecan pie, you know how truly delicious pecans are! Another excellent source of helpful nutrients including protein, pecans have been demonstrated to help decrease the blood plasma concentrations of harmful cholesterol13 and they contain polyphenols which are also beneficial for health.
You don’t need to wait until you can find pecan pie in the shop; you can eat pecans as a delicious and healthy snack as a good source of energy when you need a boost.
We have discussed some of the healthiest nuts available on the market today. These nuts offer multiple benefits and are particularly helpful because often they help the cardiovascular system. Since heart disease and coronary artery problems are a cause for concern, you would be wise to consider including nuts as a healthy part of your everyday diet. Furthermore, we know that many of these nuts also help with inflammation and have antioxidant abilities that protect cells.
To sum up – the best nuts for health include:
- Macadamia nuts
- Brazil nuts
You can add nuts to a variety of meals or even take along as a snack to eat when you are too busy to slow down or stop for a meal. It is, after all, a much better option for your health to choose nuts rather than the usual fast foods that you can pick up.