Going Nuts — Total Wellness

general risks of consuming nuts

calories

Because nuts are mostly fat, they have a lot of calories. That’s why, like other foods, nuts should be eaten in moderation. A good rule of thumb is that one ounce, which is a good portion size, is typically equal to a small palm-full of nuts. [8]

additives

Be careful when choosing what nuts to eat. While most nuts are good for you, salted nuts or chocolate covered nuts can have risks that outweigh the benefits! [8]

oils

Nut oils can be a good option for cooking because they add unique flavors to dishes like salads or sautés. Remember, though, that such oils don’t have the same fiber content that whole, raw nuts do. [8]

allergies

Remember to always be careful when consuming nuts. Contact a doctor first if you think you may be allergic.

different types of nuts and their health benefits

Almonds

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that almonds not only reduce cholesterol but also help prevent oxidative stress and inflammation from developing. [9] .

In terms of nutrients, almonds are rich in magnesium and vitamin E.

Walnuts

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, walnuts are one of the best foods you can eat to prevent cancer. This is because they are high in polyphenols, which are phytochemicals (phyto = plant) that have numerous antioxidant benefits that have been linked to reduced risk of cancer. [10]

Walnuts are considered the best nut for brain health. According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, walnuts may have beneficial effects on memory and learning because they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which possibly improve memory . [11]

Multiple studies suggest that walnuts are one of the best nuts to consume to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Walnuts can potentially lower heart disease risk in two major ways:

  1. Walnuts can reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (aka bad cholesterol) by 9 to 16%.
  2. Walnuts can lower blood pressure. [12,13]

Peanuts

A 2008 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that peanuts, when combined with other dietary measures, may help individuals lose weight. Among popular nuts, they are the lowest in calories and one of the lowest in fat. [3,14]

Peanuts are also considered a very powerful food because they are rich in folate, which is a type of B-vitamin important for cellular function, particularly for the production of DNA. Peanuts also have the highest source of protein among nuts—100 grams of peanuts offer 25.8 grams of protein. Peanut butter is also considered a valid substitute for peanuts and has many of the same health benefits, but beware of any added sugar. [3,15]

Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts may be one of the best choices for men. Of all foods, they are one of the richest in selenium. A 2013 study in Nutrients suggested that while a correlation between selenium intake and reduced risk of prostate cancer in men wasn’t directly visible, selenium could still be of value to certain subpopulations. [16,17]

Pistachios

Pistachios are rich in protein, dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin K. They help individuals control and lose weight and also reduce the risk of developing heart disease. [18]

Cashews

Cashews are commonly used to treat stomach and intestinal problems. Additionally, a paste can be made from cashews to treat warts or corns, which are hardened areas of skin. [19]

Cashews are also low in fat compared to other nuts. [3]

Macadamia Nuts

A 2007 study published in the Journal of Lipids found that daily consumption of macadamia nuts may lower the risk of developing coronary heart disease. [20]

Another 2008 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that macadamia nuts lower cholesterol and cardiovascular disease risk factors. [21]

However, be cautious when you munch on macadamias because, among all nuts, they are the highest in calories and fat. [3]

in a nutshell

If eaten in correct proportions, nuts can form an important part of a healthy diet. Because of the many ways nuts can be used, it’s easy to incorporate your favorite nut into your meals and snacks in a unique way. Try adding nuts or nut oils to your salads, having nut butter with a piece of fruit, or replacing chips with your favorite nuts to increase your intake of nutrients. There are lots of nuts to choose from and each type of nut has varied health benefits. It’s best to weigh the pros and cons of different kinds of nuts and eat those that suit your health needs best!