Let’s Go Nuts: Which Nuts Have The Most Nutrients?

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Let’s Go Nuts: Which Ones Are More Nutritious?

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Good things do come in small packages. Nuts, small, bite-size power plants,  are packed with protein, heart-healthy fats, minerals, and vitamins.

If you ever find yourself hungry and at a loss for a healthy snack… a handful of  nuts is virtually always a good choice. They’re easy to travel with and they keep well at home in your fridge. However, which ones are more nutritious?

General Health Benefits Of Nuts

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Research has found that people who eat nuts have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, gallstones and some cancers. Nuts have also been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and inflammation.

All nuts are packed with nutrients. They are rich in protein; healthful unsaturated fatty acids; fiber; minerals like potassium; B vitamins, including folate; vitamin E; and many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. They do vary somewhat in nutrient content.

Health Benefits Of Specific Nuts

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Peanuts are especially high in protein. Different nuts have different proportions of polyunsaturated to monounsaturated fatty acids. Pine nuts and walnuts are higher in polyunsaturated fatty acids, while cashews, pistachios, almonds and hazelnuts have a higher proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids.

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Walnuts deliver the most omega-3 fatty acids and contain the antioxidant ellagic acid, which supports the immune system. One ounce of almonds provides half your daily vitamin E—more than any other nut. It also supplies 8 percent of your daily calcium needs. Hazelnuts are rich in iron and antioxidants that strengthen blood vessels.

nuts-pistachios

Pistachios are high in cholesterol-lowering plant sterols and have more potassium than most nuts. A single Brazil nut provides your daily dose of selenium, an antioxidant that may play a role in preventing breast cancer.

Nuts: The Bottom Line

There really is no downside to any nut. Eat a variety of the nuts you like. Adding healthy amounts of nuts to your diet can help you to maintain your ideal weight over time, contrary to the popular opinion that nuts are “fattening.” You can’t really go wrong when choosing nuts to eat, as long as you pay attention to quality. By this I mean look for nuts that are organic and raw, not irradiated, pasteurized, or coated in sugar.

In spite of the fact that all nuts have some nutritious value, you can have too much of a good thing. While a handful of nuts between meals can be a healthy snack, 2 or 3 handfuls will spoil your appetite, and result in weight gain.

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