Nuts have been a staple in human culture and diet for thousands of years. It has grown from a simple food item to an icon in health. Nuts are extremely diverse, showing up in all shapes and sizes around the world. According to the US Forest Service, a nut is “a dry fruit with a single seed, hard outer shell, and dry husk.” However, there are so many more levels to defining a nut, which you can learn from reading this blog. From almonds to pecans and brazil nuts, there is always a lot to learn.
Almonds, a popular nut variety, are a powerhouse of nutrition with high levels of healthy unsaturated fats, fiber, and protein. Almonds stand out as they offer a rich source of calcium, making them a great option for vegans and those who avoid dairy. This makes them beneficial for promoting bone health and overall nutrition. Studies have also shown that almonds can have a positive impact on heart health and blood sugar control. Whether raw, roasted, or used in cooking and baking, almonds offer versatility and nutrition in every bite.
Pistachios, known for their easily-split shells, offer a great deal of fiber and healthy unsaturated fats including monounsaturated fats. These nuts are also a good source of vitamins B6 and E, protein, potassium, and phosphorus. Pistachios make for a convenient snack option on-the-go and have been shown to have a positive impact on heart health and weight management.
Walnuts are renowned for their high levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which are critical for brain and heart health. They also contain fiber, protein, and vitamins B6 and E. The brain-like shape of walnuts has earned them the title “brain food,” making them a great option for boosting cognitive function and supporting brain health. Additionally, walnuts have proven to have a positive impact on heart health, weight management, and overall nutrition. These three traits are seen throughout many types of nuts, but don’t get bored of them, as they are all very important. Enjoy walnuts as a standalone snack, add to salads or baked goods, or use as a topping for yogurt or oatmeal for a delicious and nutritious treat.
Cashews, with high levels of healthy unsaturated fats, protein, and fiber, are a nutritious snack option. They also offer vitamins B6 and K, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Cashews are typically enjoyed roasted or salted, making them a convenient snack option to keep you full and satisfied. Cashews can be used in cooking and baking or even eaten raw.
Pecans, a native nut of North America, boast high levels of healthy unsaturated fats, fiber, and protein. They are also a good source of vitamins E and B1, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Pecans offer a rich, buttery flavor that makes them a popular ingredient in sweet and savory dishes. This makes them a great option for adding flavor and nutrition to meals and snacks. Pecans have a positive impact on the big three; heart health, weight management, and overall nutrition. Incorporate pecans into pies, cakes, salads, or enjoy them on their own for a delicious and nutritious treat.
Macadamia nuts are known for their high levels of healthy monounsaturated fats, the same type found in olive oil. They also offer fiber, protein, and a rich source of vitamins and minerals such as thiamin, iron, and magnesium. Macadamia nuts are a unique nut variety as they have a delicate, creamy texture and a sweet, buttery flavor. These qualities make them a popular ingredient in desserts and baked goods. They can be enjoyed by themselves, but are commonly found in cookies, too! This is a great use of them as they are balanced out to create a dessert which is one of my personal favorites.
Brazil nuts, native to South America, are a rich source of selenium, a mineral critical for good health. They are also high in healthy unsaturated fats, fiber, and protein. Brazil nuts contain vitamins E and B1, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, making them a nutritious addition to your diet. Their unique, rich flavor and firm texture make them a popular ingredient in desserts, baked goods, and snack mixes. However, they can also be very dangerous. Brazil nuts also contain radium, a very radioactive chemical. The entire nut has more than 10x the normal radioactivity in food (everything has some level of radioactivity, usually not harmful). The German Federal Office for Radiation Protection reccomends not to exceed two nuts a day, and one for smaller people. Brazil nuts are great natural supplements to your diet.
Hazelnuts, also known as filberts, are a good source of healthy unsaturated fats, fiber, and protein. They contain vitamins B6 and E, iron, magnesium, and potassium, making them a nutritious option for snacking. Hazelnuts are particularly famous for their use in hazelnut spread. They offer a unique, sweet, and slightly bitter flavor that is popular in desserts, baked goods, and snack mixes. By themselves, they check off all the boxes for a healthy nut.
Peanuts, a legume, are a good source of healthy unsaturated fats, fiber, and protein. They contain vitamins B3, E, and B6, magnesium, and potassium, making them a nutritious option for snacking. Peanuts have a unique, slightly sweet and savory flavor that makes them popular as a snack food and ingredient in dishes such as peanut butter and stir-fries. Peanuts are extremely versatile, but peanut allergies are extremely common. It is the third most common allergy in children and the second most common in adults. If you are not allergic to them, consider yourself lucky, as peanuts are a great source of nutrition.
In a previous Fast Fact, I shared how dry beans give you the most fullness in your stomach per buck. The close second were nuts. Considering all of their extra health benefits, it would be smarter to consume a normal diet and snack on nuts throughout the day, as opposed to munching on dried beans. Hopefully the knowledge shared in this blog can help you find a nut which will help your needs the most!