Among the many nuts out there, there are a handful of healthy nuts. And sorry but peanuts are not one of them.
That’s because the nuts with actual health benefits are ones that grow on trees, while peanuts are from an underground plant, making them closer to being vegetables than nuts, contrary to its name.
Worry not, there are loads of other choices when it comes to picking your favorite healthy nut and seed. Here are some of them.1
1. Mama-Mia Macadamia
Macadamia nuts are known to be the alpha male/female among all nuts, because they are packed with the lowest protein, carbs and highest fat.
A serving of these nuts contain about 60% monounsaturated fat oleic acid, also found in olives and is said to have various health benefits, such as anti-oxidants.
In all its raw glory, it is rich in magnesium, vitamin B1, thiamin and manganese, which fight inflammation.
Awesome additions to your smoothies or milkshakes.
2. Peck At Those Pecans
Pecans have about 20 essential vitamins and minerals, which studies suggest helps reduce LDL cholesterol levels and boost artery wellness.
It comes only second to its relative, macadamia in terms of fat, protein, manganese and magnesium properties.
Its fatty acids promote heart health, antioxidants fight annoying bacteria and also strengthens the immune-system.
A tablespoon of minced pecans adds that crunch to a salad
3. Wallop Of Walnuts
The crunchy brain-shaped nuts inside a hard-shell, has a shiny bitter tasting skin which apparently contain close to 90% of the needed anti-oxidants for our body. As the superhero of antioxidants, walnuts are pros at fighting inflammation and free-radicals that like to damage the body’s cells.
Its polyphenol content inhibits chemicals that can cause damage to the liver and the amino acid, l-arginine, in it, helps reduce the risk for heart disease and heals various heart-risk ailments.
Two handfuls or 1/4th cup of almonds, helps prevent breast and prostate cancer, and even general tumor growth. Also promoting brain health, it boosts memory and neuron sustenance .
Some in a classic Greek salad with some feta cheese, gives the body all the needed biotin, copper, manganese, plant-based omega-3 fats, and molybdenum.
4. Always Almonds
Just like walnuts, almonds nutrients are all in its rough brown skin with antioxidants such as, phenols and phenolic acid, flavonoids, which are usually found in your veggies and fruits.
Promoting heart wellness among others, they also balance blood cholesterol, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.
A cup of almonds per day is equivalent to the total needed polyphenol found in a bowl of broccoli or a cup of green tea.
Like a daily snack at work, munching on these are great for you, but do be careful because eating too many almonds may be bad for you too, as they are high in protein with one gram of it per almond.
5. Nuts O’ Brazil
Brazil nuts have antioxidants, fiber, essential vitamins, minerals and fats.
They are especially known for possessing organic selenium, an anti-oxidant potent in preventing cancer.
Coming after pecans and macadamia, they are also high in plant-sourced fat, with low protein and are a great snack with a little bit of salt and pepper.
6. Patsy Pistachios
Pistachios’ rich vitamin E, lutein and beta-carotene content improves the blood’s level of antioxidants, lowers oxidization and cholesterol levels with those who have excess amounts of it. It also helps control blood pressure and stress responses in the brain among adults.
Potent weight managers, it contributes to healthy weight and some people have said to have lost 0.7 inches from their waists, provided monounsaturated fatty acids, which are healthy and cut down belly fat.
People have also admitted feeling reduced inflammation, seen lower blood cholesterol levels and better blood sugar levels as well.
Besides the bleached ones, which contain harmful chemicals, organic pistachios are good for you but need to be eaten in moderation due to its high protein content. Eating a serving of pistachios, a day shows a rise in antioxidants in the blood as well.
7. Seeds O’ Pumpkin
With a laundry list of essential nutrients, such as protein, copper, magnesium, zinc and manganese, pumpkin seeds the super-foods packed in a tiny shell.
Containing plant-based phytosterols, this anti-oxidant and fighter of free-radicals gives the body energy.
Known to boost men’s health, its high zinc value is vital for prostate health. In fact, a lot of pumpkin seed extracts and oils are sold for treating those with prostate problems such as, prostatic hyperplasia i.e. prostate inflammation.
Pumpkin seeds come as a yummy snack, so a handful of these a day could fight oxidants in the body better, boost and control insulin response to sugars in the blood, and even help prevent diabetes
8. Seeds Of A Sunflower
Sunflower seeds are known to have an especially high number of phytosterols, which promote immune system and heart wellness and even lower the risk of cancer.
Sunflower seeds are a salty evening snack even in Turkish culture. And a handful of these a day are said to have high copper, manganese, vitamin E, vitamin B, selenium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
9. Reasons To Go Nuts
The 6th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition said that nuts help reduces the risk of obesity.
A cup of some of these mixed nuts can help you manage your weight in the long-run, and no, nuts are not ‘fattening’, as popular opinion claims.
In an experiment conducted with 31 candidates, who added nuts to their diets without fattening food, they lost close to 1.5 pounds and half an inch from their waists.
Nuts are said to tame those hunger pangs and cravings, which lead to overeating but also gives the body loads of energy and healthy calories.
10. Ways To Nut And Not To Nut
Nuts are great as long as you keep the quantity in moderation and quality as organic, raw or natural. So, please put those seasoned or salty or sugar-coated ones away, the processing chemicals from bleach destroy the nutrients of the nuts, and stain or color them with harmful dyes to give them a fresh look to buyers, such as California pistachios, which are soaked in chemical baths and contain pesticides that are not safe for consumption and even go against some food regulations.
Even those roasted and smoked nuts are delicious, but kill the essential fatty-acids of the nuts, which then gives you empty calories.
What you can do is soak these flavored nuts in water for close to 12 hours and then consume them. This will get rid of chemicals such as phytic acid, which processed nuts have on their skins, and actually kill the existing good nutrients of the body, once eaten.
This would also help remove the processed flavors, which makes them crave-worthy but take a toll on your digestive system and metabolism.
Instead, you can add your own flavors to it at home. With a pack of raw nuts, add some honey and salt, lightly bake them with low heat (below 170 degrees F or 75 degrees Celsius) for about 15 minutes.
Finding raw or organic nuts in the US can be impossible, but do avoid any nuts with the key words, oil, roasting, dry roasting, blanching, bleaching, pasteurized, steam processing etc.
Nuts are little power banks of essential nutrients, so do eat them in moderation as when eaten in excess, its starch and carbs may not be healthy any longer, causing weight gain, rise in blood sugars, kidney issues, lowering bone density, and even provoke cancer cells.
Keep it to less than 70 grams a day and read the nutritional value of eat nut or seed before indulging in them.
Store your seeds and nuts in a fridge or freezer to keep them fresh and last longer, as they tend to go bad pretty easily.