We all have heard that nuts are a valuable part of a healthy diet, but what’s so great about them? Let’s take a look at the nutritional & health benefits of some popular nuts (and one that’s not really a nut but that everyone thinks is).

Highest in calcium of all nuts. Almonds are also high in fiber, vitamin E and magnesium. Almonds help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, and can help protect against diabetes.

Rich in iron, high in magnesium (more than almonds), and the unsaturated fat is predominantly oleic acid (the same as in olive oil). Cashews help prevent cancer, promote a healthy heart and strong bones, and also are good for your skin and hair (they are rich in copper).

High in omega 3 fats, antioxidants, and phytosterols. Walnuts are good for your heart, can help protect against cancer, and are good for your brain aiding in reducing depression and the risk of age related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.

Hazelnuts (Filberts)-
Rich in unsaturated fats (mostly oleic acid), high in magnesium, calcium and vitamins B and E. Hazelnuts are good for your heart, help reduce the risk of cancer, and aid in muscle, skin, bone, joint and digestive health.

Although not really a nut (technically they’re a legume) peanuts offer the highest amount of folates compared to other nuts; folates are essential for brain development. Peanuts are also high in Vitamin E. Peanuts promote a healthy pregnancy because of the high folates which help reduce the risk of birth defects. Peanuts also boost memory, help fight depression, and reduces the risk of heart disease.

Although high in calories and fat, they are still good for you – especially men. Pecans contain beta-sitosterol which aids in the relief of an enlarged prostate.

𝗜’𝘃𝗲 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗻𝘂𝘁𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗺𝗲 𝗳𝗮𝘁... 𝗜𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗲?

The short answer is probably not if consumed in moderation. Nuts do contain fat, and the amount of fat varies between nut types. For example, a single serving (30g) of raw cashews or pistachios contains around 15g of fat (0.5 ounces), whereas the same amount of raw macadamias contains around 22g of fat (0.7 ounces).

There are different kinds of fats in our diet and some are better for us than others. Nuts contain mainly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Despite the relatively high fat content of nuts, there are some reasons why they won’t make you fat (when eaten in moderation, of course).

1) We don't absorb all of the fat in nuts: The fat in nuts is stored in the nut's cell walls, which don't easily break down during digestion. As a result, when we eat nuts, we don't absorb all of the fat. Instead, some of the fat is passed in our feces. The amount of calories we absorb from eating nuts might be between 5% and 30% less than what we had previously thought.

2) Nuts increase the amount of calories we burn: Not only do we not absorb all the calories in nuts, but eating nuts may also increase the amount of energy and fat we burn. It's thought this may partially be explained by the protein and unsaturated fats in nuts, although we don't yet know exactly how this occurs. Increases in the number of calories burnt can help us maintain or lose weight.

3) Nuts help us feel full for longer: As well as fat, nuts are rich in protein and fiber. Nuts help keep us feeling full after we eat them, meaning we're likely to eat less at later meals. Recent studies have also suggested providing people with nuts helps improve the overall quality of the types of foods they eat. This may be because nuts replace "junk foods" as snacks.

4) People who eat nuts have healthier lifestyles in general: We can't rule out the idea that eating nuts is just a sign of a healthier lifestyle. However, randomized controlled trials, which can control for lifestyle factors like eating habits, still find no negative effect on body weight when people eat nuts. This means the favorable effects of nuts are not just the result of nut eaters having healthier lifestyles – the nuts themselves play a role.

Overall, the evidence suggests nuts are a healthy snack that can provide us with many of the nutrients our bodies need. We can confidently recommended 30 grams of nuts a day in a healthy diet, without worrying about the effect they will have on our waistlines. Not sure what 30 grams looks like? See the photo below. For almonds, it’s about 23!

The bottom line is all nuts are good for you. A handful daily can lead to good health and longer life. Next time you’re looking for a snack between meals, go nuts!

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