Nuts are nature's way of showing us that good things come in small packages. These bite-size nutritional powerhouses are packed with heart-healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Nuts are high in fat and calories, so while a handful can hold you over until dinner, a few more handfuls can ruin your appetite altogether. And although nuts are a healthy choice by themselves, they'll quickly become detrimental to any diet when paired with sugary or salty toppings or mixes. Their mix of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber will help you feel full and suppress your appetite.
Best nuts for your heart
While all nuts contain heart-healthy omega-3 fats, walnuts (14 halves contain 185 calories, 18 grams fat, 4 grams protein) have high amounts of alpha linoleic acid (ALA). Walnuts were as effective as olive oil at reducing inflammation and oxidation in the arteries. It is recommended eating around eight walnuts a day to achieve similar benefits.
Best nuts for your brain
Technically legumes but generally referred to as nuts, peanuts are high in folate—a mineral essential for brain development that may protect against cognitive decline. (It also makes peanuts a great choice for vegetarians, who can come up short on folate, and pregnant women, who need folate to protect their unborn babies from birth defects, says Caplan.) Like most other nuts, peanuts are also full of brain-boosting healthy fats and vitamin E. One ounce of peanuts (about 28 unshelled nuts) contains about 170 calories, 7 grams protein, and 14 grams fat.
Best nuts for disease prevention
Relatively low in calories, almonds have more calcium than any other nut, making them
a great food for overall health. Plus, they are rich in fiber and vitamin E, an antioxidant
that helps fight dangerous inflammation and possibly health conditions such as lung
cancer and age-related cognitive decline.
Because they're so versatile, almonds are often a favourite among nut eaters.
Best nuts overall
A mixed bag!
So which is the healthiest nut overall?
Mixed nuts, ideally raw and unsalted, provide the best variety of nutrients and
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