The Best & Worst Nuts To Eat For Nutrition Power

mixed nuts
mixed nuts | Source

Nuts have always been known as a tasty party snack or topping for ice cream sundaes. But now they are getting the recognition they deserve as a regular part of a healthy eating plan.

Not all nuts are equal, though, when it comes to nutrition. The trick is to know which kinds offer the most vitamins and minerals per serving, and find ways to incorporate them into your weekly menu.

Some of The Best Nuts

Every kind of nut has some redeeming nutritional value, but some stand out above the others. Each of these supply protein, fiber and antioxidants. They are available year-round at your local grocery store, and can either fit into your favorite recipes or lead you to new taste adventures!

Chestnuts
Chestnuts | Source

1. Chestnuts - High Fiber

Chestnuts have been compared to brown rice in terms of nutrition - even called "the grain that grows on a tree".

High in dietary fiber, chestnuts contain minerals like iron that keep the immune system strong and copper that help iron do its work. Other beneficial nutrients include vitamin K, which plays a key role in blood clotting and the healthy monounsaturated fats oleic acid and palmitoleic acids.

Though they are most well-known for being roasted in the wintertime, chestnuts can be used in a variety of ways. Some recipes call for them simply shelled and chopped, mashed, or ground up into flour. Gluten free, chestnuts can be a helpful part of a diet for people with celiac disease or wheat allergies.

Chestnuts
1 serving (2 1/2 nuts)
Calories
60
Proteiin
1 gram
Fiber
8 grams
Cholesterol
0 grams
Fat
Saturated: 1 gram
whole almonds
whole almonds | Source

2. Almonds - Protein Power

These popular nuts are high in monounsaturated fats, which have been found to help reduce the chance of heart disease. Almonds have potassium, which helps maintain normal blood pressure and functioning of the heart. They also boast magnesium to keep arteries running clearly for oxygen and nutrients to travel throughout the body, and calcium to monitor the passage of nutrients through the body's cell walls.

Eating almonds with meals can lesson blood-sugar surges after those meals, and over time that lowers the risk of diabetes. Plus, they are protein-packed: a 1/2 cup has more than one egg.

Recipe: Almond Butter - Easy and quick to make, yummy to eat! (Recipe submitted by: Amy M by www.Allrecipes.com)

Almonds
1 serving (23 whole nuts)
Calories
162
Protein
6 grams
Fiber
3 grams
Cholesterol
0 grams
Fat
Saturated: 1 gram
whole pistachios
whole pistachios | Source

3. Pistachios - Antioxidant Qualities

A serving of pistachios provides about 12% of recommended daily fiber, as much as some whole grains.They contain vitamin A, which stimulates the immunity system and helps in bone, tooth and cell growth.

Pistachios offer high antioxidant levels, and among the highest level of protein per serving among nuts. Also present are manganese, vital to thyroid and metabolism function and potassium, necessary for the body's proper growth and maintenance as well as heart activity.

To toast pistachios (or any other nut): Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lay up to two cups of nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Put them into the oven to cook for 5-10 minutes, keeping an eye on them and turning them at least once.

Add them into your couscous or quinoa. Use them in homemade sweet bread recipes. Make a trail mix with dried fruit. Store what's left over in an airtight container.

Pistachios
1 serving (49 whole nuts)
Calories
157
Protein
6 grams
Fiber
3 grams
Cholesterol
0 grams
Fat
Saturated: 2 grams
Walnut pieces
Walnut pieces | Source

4. Walnuts - Heart-Healthy

Walnuts are very heart-healthy. They are rich in omega-3 acids - eating them regularly can lead to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Walnuts contain Niacin, or vitamin B3, which assists in digestive functioning and converting food to energy. They also offer Vitamin E, used by many to heal injured or dry skin.

Walnut oil is more readily available now in grocery stores. Like olive oil, walnut oil is best used uncooked. You can use it in salad dressings or marinades. Brushing some on chicken or fish just before serving adds a nutty flavor while keeping the meat moist. You can even use it as a topping for pasta with vegetables.

Walnuts
1 serving (14 halves)
Calories
185
Protein
4 grams
Fiber
2 grams
Cholesterol
0 grams
Fat
Saturated: 2 grams

Some of the Worst Nuts

Enjoy these nuts, but in smaller amounts or less often.

macadamia nuts
macadamia nuts | Source

1. Macadamia Nuts

Thought they are a good source of B1 and B6, macadamias are high in fat - and a large amount of saturated fat, much less healthy for the heart. They are relatively low in protein with a higher calorie content than other nuts.

Ideas:

  • Incorporate a few whole nuts into a bag of mixed nuts.
  • Macadamia nuts go well with chocolate - chop a couple of nuts to top ice cream or gelato.

Macadamia Nuts
1 serving (10-12 whole nuts)
Calories
203
Protein
2 grams
Fiber
2 grams
Cholesterol
0 grams
Fat
Saturated: 3 grams

2. Any Processed Nuts

Whether in cans or canisters, these nuts lose some of their nutritional value just by being shelled. Added sugar, salt and other seasonings during processing increases sodium levels and adds calories. The nuts can also become rancid after sitting in hydrogenated oils for a long time.

Note: Store any container in a cool place (even your refrigerator) to help them keep longer.

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Comments 14 comments

prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 4 years ago from Canada

Heather, I love this! I am a real nut lover but have tended to stay away from them because of the calories. Once I start nibbling on the nuts, it's hard to stop because they are so tasty!

I am definitely bookmarking this hub to remind myself of which nuts are best to eat, and all of the nutritional benefits of each one. Thanks for writing. Voted up and more.


Heather63 profile image

Heather63 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA Author

Thanks, Sherilee! I learned a lot doing the research - I'm looking forward to trying walnut oil, and the batch of almond butter I whipped up tastes really good. It really is a matter of balance, and like potato chips, I have trouble just eating a couple too!


mecheshier profile image

mecheshier 4 years ago

Fabulous Hub. There is some great information here, you definitely did a lot of research. Thanks for sharing. Voted up for useful.


Heather63 profile image

Heather63 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA Author

Thanks so much for checking this hub out and becoming a follower!! I do try to be thorough, and enjoy learning so much as I go!


Maddie Ruud profile image

Maddie Ruud 4 years ago from Oakland, CA

I love how you've broken up the information in this Hub. The tables are a great way to quickly convey the nutrition stats!


Heather63 profile image

Heather63 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA Author

Thanks Maddie! I'm enjoying using the table capsule - you can fit a lot of info in a quick way.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland

Fascinating hub and great for someone like me who is a nut fanatic - I could eat them with anything! I haven't always eaten them but found out fairly recently the value of some types of nut. However, I had no idea just how good they were for you until I read this hub! It will give me even greater pleasure to enjoy my nut eating sessions knowing I'm eating healthily.

Great hub + voted up!


Heather63 profile image

Heather63 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA Author

Hi Helen! It really is nice to find out that stuff you like to eat is also good for you - I wish that were true about everything I want to eat! But yes, do enjoy, and maybe you'll even discover new ones to love.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon

Very interesting info, Heather - I'm doing the right things then. I have a penchant for almonds and walnuts so I guess I'm okay. I do love shelled peanuts though - but only use them in homemade peanut butter cookies....hmmm. Not thinking that's probably too terribly healthy to be thinking about - but great hub - well laid out and very well done for information.


Heather63 profile image

Heather63 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA Author

Thanks for the wonderful comments! You can feel good about even cookies when they're made from scratch - less sugar, less salt, and fresh ingredients. Go for it and enjoy it!!


Helena Ricketts profile image

Helena Ricketts 4 years ago from Indiana

Great hub and love the tables that have the info in them. Figures my favorite is the macadamia but it's ok because I don't eat them very often. We have walnut trees and I actually do harvest the nuts. It's not easy, but it's worth it!


Heather63 4 years ago

Thanks so much, Helena. How great to have nut trees right in your back yard! How many trees do you have - that could end up being a huge job for sure. But having them that fresh must be a treat. I'm thinking a batch of pesto with them and some fresh basil...mmmm!


FullOfLoveSites profile image

FullOfLoveSites 4 years ago from United States

Wow, I didn't know that macadamia nuts are unhealthy for the heart. That's a new discovery to me. I like macadamia, but since learning about its "bad side", I will try to eat less of that. Great hub. :)


aboutaustralia profile image

aboutaustralia 3 years ago from Newcastle, New South Wales

A really well written hub and very useful (voted up) thank you. I thought some of your readers and yourself might also be interested in this article about buying wholesale nuts online http://wholesale-australia.com/wholesale-nuts/

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