Nuts are a healthy part of most diets in moderation, thanks to their healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and mineral. But there are quite a few different kinds of nuts…are some better options than others? Here are some of the pros and cons of different types of nuts.
If you’re thinking in terms of calories, almonds, cashews, and pistachios are the nuts with the lowest amount of calories per serving. Almonds have six grams protein and 14 grams fat in 23 nuts, cashews have five grams protein and 13 grams fat in 16 to 18 nuts, and pistachios have six grams protein and 13 grams fat in 49 nuts.
Almonds have the most calcium out of any of the nuts, and they are high in fiber and the antioxidant vitamin E which helps to reduce inflammation in the body.
Always skip nuts that have been roasted in oil because it could be hydrogenated or roasted in omega-6 fatty acids which we don’t need to add more of into our diet. Sometimes when nuts are roasted they lose some of their health benefits thanks to the high temperatures.
Macadamia nuts and pecans on the other hand, have the most calories per serving. They each have 200 calories per serving and ten to 12 macadamia nuts only has two grams of protein and 22 grams of fat. But if you’re good at portion control the calories aren’t a real problem.
All nuts contain some omega-3 fatty acids, but walnuts have high levels of alpha linolenic acid (ALA) which is reportedly great for the heart. One study even found that eating walnuts is as effective as eating olive oil to reduce inflammation and oxidation in the arteries after eating a fatty meal.
Peanuts are technically legumes was people generally consider them a nut, and they’re a great choice for supporting the brain. Peanuts are a good source of healthy fats, vitamin E, and folate which vegetarians and pregnant women need to make sure to get plenty of through their diet. One ounce of peanuts is about 28 of the unshelled nuts, a serving size which has 170 calories, seven grams of protein, and 14 grams of fat.
For men getting enough selenium in the diet can help to prevent prostate cancer, and Brazil nuts are one nut that is a great source of that nutrient. But keep in mind that a single Brazil nut has a day’s worth of selenium, and that too much selenium has been linked to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Pecans contain a plant steroid called beta-sitosterol which might be able to reduce symptoms of an enlarged prostate, so this nut is another one that may be good for men’s health in particular.
If you have a hard time sticking with a single serving of nuts (or don’t even know what that looks like), you might benefit from buying prepackaged snack nuts or portioning your own out into little baggies. They are deceptively jam packed with calories and fat so it’s easy to over do it, but in moderation they are a great midday snack.