5 Nuts Good For Health

Top 5 Nuts for Better Health

Nuts, like pistachios and walnuts, offer many health benefits. They are also low carb and rich in essential nutrients like heart-healthy fats, plant-based protein and antioxidants.

U.S. News & World Report

Top Nuts for Better Health

If you’re looking to eat a more plant-forward diet, reduce risk for chronic disease, help you maintain a healthy weight and add delicious flavor and texture to your meals and snacks, you may want to add more nuts into your diet.

 

Nuts spilling from jar in woman's hand

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Reams of research over several decades point to the amazing health benefits of incorporating nuts into your meals and snacks every day. Considered nutritional all-stars, nuts provide nutrient-rich plant-based protein, unsaturated fats, essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, antioxidants and oodles of other bioactive compounds.

The Mediterranean diet, long considered one of the healthiest ways to eat, recommends enjoying nuts daily. Studies show that those who eat more nuts have reduced risk for obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers and other age-related conditions linked to systemic inflammation. One population-based study reported in Current Developments in Nutrition reported that individuals who ate nuts had smaller waists, reduced risk for obesity and improved cardiovascular markers.

Here are five of the healthiest tree nuts and their health and nutritional benefits and some of the best ways to incorporate them into your meals and snacks.

 

 

Healthiest Nuts to Eat

 

Macadamias

Serving: 1 oz, ~10 to 12 nuts

  • 200 calories.
  • 22 grams fat (3.5 grams saturated).
  • 4 grams carbohydrate.
  • 2 grams fiber.
  • 2 gram protein.

Plan on seeing more macadamia nuts in supermarkets and incorporated into recipes, as the supply has increased. Rich, creamy and delicious, chefs and culinarians predict macadamia nuts will be an in-demand ingredient in 2024.
Nutritionally, macadamias are often enjoyed by those who follow a low-carbohydrate or plant-based lifestyle. Macadamias are rich in beneficial monounsaturated fats and are an excellent source of flavonoids and other phytonutrients that can help to support heart health and tamp down inflammation. They are also a good source of essential nutrients, including iron, niacin, magnesium, fiber, manganese, selenium and potassium.

One study published in the Journal of Nutrition reported that study participants who ate 1.5 ounces of macadamia nuts daily experienced lower total and harmful LDL-cholesterol levels, compared to a control diet that didn’t include macadamias in their diet.

How to enjoy macadamias:

The buttery texture of macadamias makes them a great option to make macadamia butter. Chopped and toasted, macadamias make a delicious crust for fish and poultry. Use them in quick breads and other baked goods, and they’re a great addition to many paleo and low-carb recipes.

 

 

Pistachios

Serving: 1 oz, ~49 nuts

  • 160 calories.
  • 13 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated).
  • 8 grams carbohydrate.
  • 3 grams fiber.
  • 6 grams protein.

The good source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats counts of these tiny green nuts are beneficial to help keep you satisfied for longer. The unique hue of pistachios also signals that they provide antioxidants. In addition, pistachios are a good or excellent source of several essential nutrients including fiber, copper, thiamin, vitamin B6 and phosphorus.

How to enjoy:

The rich and buttery flavor of pistachios makes them perfect to enjoy on their own as a snack. They’re also a great topper for salads and cooked veggies, desserts, pasta and a crust on fish, poultry or to encrust fish and poultry. Make delicious pistachio pesto and use it as a salad dressing, pizza or pasta sauce, soup garnish or dip for bread or veggies.

 

 

 

Walnuts

Serving: 1 oz, ~14 halves

  • 190 calories.
  • 18 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated).
  • 4 grams carbohydrate.
  • 2 grams fiber.
  • 4 grams protein.

Walnuts are the oldest known tree nut, dating back to 7,000 B.C. Walnuts are the only tree nut to provide an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid, alpha linolenic acid, with 2.5 grams per serving.

Walnuts are good or excellent sources of several important nutrients, including manganese, copper and magnesium. One study recently published in the journal Nutrients reported that using chopped walnuts in lieu of meat in one’s diet may improve the overall diet quality and increased intake of omega-3 ALA, fiber, magnesium and copper. Another study reported in Nutrients reported that walnuts may help protect against heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, dementia, oxidative stress and inflammation.

How to enjoy:

Versatile, nutritious, and delicious, walnuts are an excellent plant-based protein option that works well with a variety of sweet or savory flavors. Try replacing ground beef with chopped or pulsed walnuts in recipes like meatballs, meatloaf or tacos. Toasted walnuts are a delicious addition to salads, pasta and oatmeal. Try toasting with savory seasonings like mushrooms for a meatier flavor.

 

 

 

Almonds

Serving: 1 oz, ~23 nuts.

  • 160 calories.
  • 14 grams fat (1 gram saturated).
  • 6 grams carbohydrate.
  • 4 grams fiber.
  • 6 grams protein.

Almonds are a good source of plant-based protein and high source of fiber, and just one serving provides half of the vitamin E you need in a day. Other nutrients almonds provide include magnesium, manganese, riboflavin, phosphorus and copper. Decades worth of studies show how almonds can improve heart health, exercise performance, skin healthgut health, diabetes and more.

Recent research demonstrates that almonds may help with exercise recovery. One study published in Frontiers in Nutrition reported that participants who included about 2 ounces of almonds daily to their diet reduced post-exercise fatigue and experienced increased leg and lower back strength and reduced muscle damage, compared to those who didn’t include almonds in their diet.

Not only are almonds a great addition to your workout routine, but they also have many benefits when it comes to skin health. Another recent study published in the journal Nutrients found that daily consumption of almonds reduced wrinkle severity and skin pigmentation (uneven skin tone) among postmenopausal women study participants.

How to enjoy:

Almonds are a great snacking nut on their own or roasted with sweet or savory seasonings. Use them to create healthful energy bars and balls, delicious pesto or pie crust. Toasted, sliced almonds are perfect to add to your salads or combine with cooked veggies for an added crunch.

Cashews

Serving: 1 oz, ~18 nuts.

  • 160 calories.
  • 19 grams fat (1 gram saturated).
  • 6 grams carbohydrate.
  • 4 grams fiber.
  • 4 grams protein.

Nutritionally, cashews are a good or excellent source of iron, phosphorus, copper, manganese, and zinc. Cashews provide more filling fiber than most tree nuts. The one-two punch of fiber and protein makes them a satisfying option for noshing between meals. One study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that among study participants who incorporated cashews into a typical American diet experienced decreased total and LDL-cholesterol. Another study reported in The British Journal of Nutrition reported that the addition of cashews to a calorie-controlled diet resulted in a greater reduction in total body fat, increases in lean body mass and improved blood vessel function compared to the same calorie-controlled diet without cashews.

How to enjoy:

Cashews are a great addition to Asian-inspired main dishes, like cashew chicken lettuce wraps, cashew shrimp or Asian chicken salad, but their buttery, nutty flavor and texture work well in a variety of recipes. Try them in no-bake protein balls, blend and use as a base for salad dressing and sprinkle them in hearty, wild rice soup.

 

Eating Nuts Is Good

Older woman eating nuts
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Corrected on Jan. 23, 2024: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the fatty acid in walnuts.

Tags: diet and nutritionexercise and fitnessfood and drink

Nuts are great for older people.

Though they’re small in size, nuts of all types pack a nutritional wallop – and they provide a number of health benefits for aging people. Research suggests eating nuts can lower your risk of cancer and protect your heart health.

For example, a meta-analysis published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention in 2020 concluded that eating more nuts was associated with reduced risk of developing cancer, especially cancers from the digestive system.”

Another meta-analysis that looked at 19 studies related to nut intake and cardiovascular disease, published in 2019 in the journal Nutrition Reviews, concluded there is “a beneficial role of nut consumption in reducing the incidence of, and mortality from, different (cardiovascular disease) outcomes.”

Here are six ways nuts help protect your health as you age:

1. Healthier heart

When it comes to heart health, you’ve probably heard that you should limit the amount of saturated fat you consume, says Courtney Barth, a registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic. Older people in particular need to safeguard their heart health.

That’s because people age 65 and older, according to the National Institute on Aging, are much more likely to suffer serious cardiovascular-related health problems, including:

There are two main types of fats: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and are found in animal foods and tropical oils, such as meat, whole dairy foods like cream, butter and cheese, coconut oil and palm oil. Unsaturated fats are found in olive oil, seed oils, nuts, fish and avocados. Research suggests that consuming saturated fats can elevate your levels of “bad” cholesterol, which can increase your risks of heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends consuming a diet limiting your consumption of foods with saturated fat to 5% to 6% of your daily calories. For example, if you need about 2,000 calories a day, no more than 120 of them should come from saturated fat – or about 13 grams of saturated fat per day.

You should generally limit or avoid saturated fats, which can be found in such foods as:

Consuming foods with unsaturated fats, on the other hand, can help lower your “bad” cholesterol. Nuts contain unsaturated fats, which research suggests help:

This article is based on reporting that features expert sources.

Nuts are great for older people.

Though they’re small in size, nuts of all types pack a nutritional wallop – and they provide a number of health benefits for aging people. Research suggests eating nuts can lower your risk of cancer and protect your heart health.

For example, a meta-analysis published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention in 2020 concluded that eating more nuts was associated with reduced risk of developing cancer, especially cancers from the digestive system.”

Another meta-analysis that looked at 19 studies related to nut intake and cardiovascular disease, published in 2019 in the journal Nutrition Reviews, concluded there is “a beneficial role of nut consumption in reducing the incidence of, and mortality from, different (cardiovascular disease) outcomes.”

Here are six ways nuts help protect your health as you age:

NEXT:1. Healthier heart
Senior woman holding walnuts

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 CREDIT

1. Healthier heart

When it comes to heart health, you’ve probably heard that you should limit the amount of saturated fat you consume, says Courtney Barth, a registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic. Older people in particular need to safeguard their heart health.

That’s because people age 65 and older, according to the National Institute on Aging, are much more likely to suffer serious cardiovascular-related health problems, including:

There are two main types of fats: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and are found in animal foods and tropical oils, such as meat, whole dairy foods like cream, butter and cheese, coconut oil and palm oil. Unsaturated fats are found in olive oil, seed oils, nuts, fish and avocados. Research suggests that consuming saturated fats can elevate your levels of “bad” cholesterol, which can increase your risks of heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends consuming a diet limiting your consumption of foods with saturated fat to 5% to 6% of your daily calories. For example, if you need about 2,000 calories a day, no more than 120 of them should come from saturated fat – or about 13 grams of saturated fat per day.

You should generally limit or avoid saturated fats, which can be found in such foods as:

Consuming foods with unsaturated fats, on the other hand, can help lower your “bad” cholesterol. Nuts contain unsaturated fats, which research suggests help:

NEXT:2. Sharper mind?
Senior man doing crossword puzzle

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 CREDIT

2. Sharper mind?

Consuming nuts – particularly walnuts – can help keep your mind sharp, Barth says. Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, a kind of unsaturated fat. Research suggests this type of fat is associated with reducing inflammation in different parts of the body, including the brain.

A meta-analysis published in the journal Public Health Nutrition in 2020 found “an association between walnut consumption and cognitive function in older adults.” The research suggests that individuals who consume 1 ounce (about ¼ cup) of walnuts on a daily basis had greater cognitive baseline scores compared with people who didn’t. Because these were observational studies, it’s not clear whether eating walnuts caused the participants to have a sharper mind. The research, however, did not show that eating walnuts protected participants against age-related cognitive decline.

Older woman eating nuts

1/10

 CREDIT

Nuts are great for older people.

Though they’re small in size, nuts of all types pack a nutritional wallop – and they provide a number of health benefits for aging people. Research suggests eating nuts can lower your risk of cancer and protect your heart health.

For example, a meta-analysis published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention in 2020 concluded that eating more nuts was associated with reduced risk of developing cancer, especially cancers from the digestive system.”

Another meta-analysis that looked at 19 studies related to nut intake and cardiovascular disease, published in 2019 in the journal Nutrition Reviews, concluded there is “a beneficial role of nut consumption in reducing the incidence of, and mortality from, different (cardiovascular disease) outcomes.”

Here are six ways nuts help protect your health as you age:

NEXT:1. Healthier heart
Senior woman holding walnuts

2/10

 CREDIT

1. Healthier heart

When it comes to heart health, you’ve probably heard that you should limit the amount of saturated fat you consume, says Courtney Barth, a registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic. Older people in particular need to safeguard their heart health.

That’s because people age 65 and older, according to the National Institute on Aging, are much more likely to suffer serious cardiovascular-related health problems, including:

There are two main types of fats: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and are found in animal foods and tropical oils, such as meat, whole dairy foods like cream, butter and cheese, coconut oil and palm oil. Unsaturated fats are found in olive oil, seed oils, nuts, fish and avocados. Research suggests that consuming saturated fats can elevate your levels of “bad” cholesterol, which can increase your risks of heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends consuming a diet limiting your consumption of foods with saturated fat to 5% to 6% of your daily calories. For example, if you need about 2,000 calories a day, no more than 120 of them should come from saturated fat – or about 13 grams of saturated fat per day.

You should generally limit or avoid saturated fats, which can be found in such foods as:

Consuming foods with unsaturated fats, on the other hand, can help lower your “bad” cholesterol. Nuts contain unsaturated fats, which research suggests help:

 

NEXT:3. Safeguard eye health
Senior smiling

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 CREDIT

3. Safeguard eye health

Research suggests that inadequate vitamin and mineral intake can increase the risk of retinal degradation, which leads to age-related macular degeneration, or AMD. This is the number one cause of vision loss in adults over 50, according to the American Optometric Association. Nuts are rich in a number of nutrients that are good for eye health, says Kaylee Jacks, a registered dietitian with Texas Health Sports Medicine in Dallas.

These nutrients include:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids. Some research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Nuts high in omega-3 fatty acids include hazelnuts, walnuts and peanuts (which are technically considered a legume).
  • Vitamin C. Studies suggest that vitamin C helps blunt the progression of age-related macular degeneration, a condition that can lead to blindness. Nuts high in vitamin C include hazelnuts and pistachios.
  • Vitamin E. This vitamin shields cells in the eyes from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that break down healthy tissue, according to the AOA. Nuts especially high in vitamin E include almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts.
  • Zinc. This trace mineral plays “a vital role in bringing vitamin A from the liver to the retina in order to produce melanin, a protective pigment in the eyes,” according to the AOA. Poor night vision and cloudy cataracts are eye problems that have been associated with zinc deficiency. Nuts high in zinc include Brazil nuts, cashews and pine nuts.

Researchers have found that people at a high risk for developing advanced AMD – such as individuals with intermediate AMD and people with advanced AMD in one eye only – curtailed their risk of developing the advanced version of the disease when they were treated with a combination of antioxidants and zinc with copper (known as the AREDS formula), according to a study published by the National Eye Institute. “The AREDS formula also reduced the risk of central vision loss by 19% in the same group,” according to

ources.

NEXT:4. Prevents or mitigates age-related weight gain
Grandmother walking outside with granddaughter

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4. Prevents or mitigates age-related weight gain

When it comes to weight management for older adults, eating nutrient dense foods and exercising are key, along with adhering to healthy habits, like getting enough good sleep and managing or reducing stress, Barth says. To lose weight gradually – between 0.5 pounds to 2 pounds a week – you have to burn more calories than you consume while getting the micronutrients your body needs.

“The goal is to eat your macronutrients (carbs, protein and fat) along with fiber within healthy portion sizes. The best way to control portions and reduce cravings is by eating enough fiber, protein and also fat.”

Eating nuts can help you reach weight loss goals. A serving size of nuts is 1 ounce, or ¼ cup. “Nuts can be a great bridge between meals, ideally paired with a carbohydrate such as a serving of fruit, to set yourself up for success for portion control at your next meal,” Barth says.

“If we go long periods of time without eating, that can increase chances of over-eating later in the day,” she adds. “Consider portioning out nuts and packing them in your car or (at work) to munch on between meals.”

.

NEXT:5. Helps Maintain Blood Sugar Control
A very healthy and delicious lunch being served (shots from different angles)

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5. Helps Maintain Blood Sugar Control

The best way to manage diabetes is by controlling your blood sugar. While most people think this means cutting out carbs completely, it actually means pairing the carbohydrate in your diabetes diet plan with foods high in fiber, protein and healthy fats.

Eating carbohydrates with fiber, protein and fats helps slow down the digestion of carbs, leading to more controlled blood sugar because the absorption of glucose is delayed, says Anna Taylor, a registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition.

Eating in a way that helps control your blood sugar means your body will have a slower rise and fall of blood sugars – so the upticks are more like hills rather than mountains. This gives your body more time to deal with the glucose in the bloodstream. Nuts contain all three – proteins, fiber and healthy fats – so pairing a handful of nuts with a piece of fruit, for example, can be a great way to manage blood sugar levels rather than just consuming a piece of fruit.

For instance, instead of just having white toast for breakfast, try whole grain toast with peanut butter. Even though the total carbs in the meal will be about the same, your blood sugars will be much more controlled, with a less severe spike following the meal.

Another advantage to this approach is that you may find that if you include protein, fiber and/or healthy fats in your snack, you may not eat as many carbs.

Research published in the American Journal of Nutrition in 2021 suggests that peanut butter consumption may be inversely associated with Type 2 diabetes risk. The study found no association between total nut consumption and Type 2 diabetes risk.

NEXT:6. Eases aching joints
Senior woman feeling unwell, suffering from pain in leg while sitting on sofa in the living room at home

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6. Eases aching joints

There’s an association between being overweight or obese and increased joint pain, Barth says. Carrying too much weight puts additional stress on your joints. “Joint pain is never fun, and it can be hard to get adequate physical activity if you are in pain.”

Nuts that are high in omega-3 fats – such as walnuts – can help reduce inflammation in your joints and throughout your body, especially when consumed in the context of a diet rich in other anti-inflammatory foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, herbs and spices.

NEXT:

6 health benefits of eating nuts:

  • Healthier heart.
  • Sharper mind.
  • Better eye health.
  • Prevents or mitigates age-related weight gain.
  • Helps maintain blood sugar control.
  • Eases aching joints.

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