When reading about a healthy diet, nuts and legumes are always mentioned. But both food groups have such a variety, and some, like peanuts, are often mistaken for being one or another. Peanuts, for example, are not a nut, but a legume!
In any event, both are packed with nutrients. Nuts, in particular, are nutritional powerhouses. And although there are no unhealthy nuts—unless they’re coated in thick layers of salt or sugar—some may have a little bit of an edge when it comes to certain nutrients. Here a few common nuts that could take the prize for “healthiest nut.”
- Walnuts: When it comes to health benefits, walnuts are big time. One ounce, which is about 15 walnut halves, offers about twice the antioxidant levels of any other nut as well as omega-3s. These nutrients can promote heart health, lower cholesterol, and reduced inflammation.
- Almonds: Another heavy hitter, a diet that includes almonds, is associated with a few health benefits. Studies have shown eating a couple of ounces—about 48 almonds—is associated with improved blood levels of all fats, including triglycerides. There is also work showing that their high-fiber content may improve gut bacteria populations.
- Pistachios: Pistachios are fun to eat and are a rich source of lutein, an antioxidant that contributes to eye health, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. There is also evidence they can contribute to heart health by lowering inflammation. A one-ounce serving is about 45–50 pistachios.
- Pecans: There is some evidence that pecans may help fight back against diabetes. They are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that can reduce blood pressure, boost “good” HDL cholesterol, and lower LDL.
- Hazelnuts: These are excellent sources of vitamin E, copper, and manganese. These nuts are also being studied for their potential benefits on brain health, which may occur due to healthy fats and antioxidants within. An ounce of hazelnuts is roughly 15–20 nuts.
No matter which nuts you reach for, they are a good choice. Roasted nuts are the best, and even salted nuts are okay in moderation. If you have heart trouble or high blood pressure, go with unsalted nuts. Also, avoid chocolate-covered or candy-coated nuts: all the sugar can counteract the health benefits!
- Foods that lower triglycerides naturally
- Healthy gut diet: Foods to eat and avoid
- Top foods to boost your eyesight and vision
- 10 health benefits of drinking orange juice
- Benefits of fruit peels