All Nuts Are Not Created Equal
Although all nuts are healthy for our bodies, they are not created equal when it comes to their specific benefits. There isn't much difference when you count their calories per ounce, per instance, but their fat content can vary significantly.
Almonds, Cashews, and Pistachios: Good for the Diet
There are three nuts out there that top the rest. Almonds, cashews, and pistachios rise above the rest of the nuts, making them healthy snack options for people watching their caloric and fat intake.
The best way to enjoy these nutritious snacks is to eat them dry-roasted or raw. Packaged nuts or those prepared in oil have added ingredients that may not be so healthy. Almonds, cashews, and pistachios are usually readily available in grocery stores.
Nuts have a healthy mix of omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, and fiber, three nutrients the body needs to stay at its prime. They can be eaten alone as a snack, but can also be thrown into salads, soups, and stir-fries.
Nutrition: Almonds, Cashews, and Pistachios
16 - 18 nuts
Walnuts: Good for the Heart
Walnuts are not only filled with omega-3 fatty acids, it also contains healthy alpha linoleic acid (ALA). Uniquely found in high quantities in walnuts, ALA helps with heart arrhythmia.
Scientists have found walnuts to help in reducing inflammation and oxidation in the arteries in the same way as olive oil. These digestives are particularly helpful after consuming a greasy, oil-laden meal.
Eating eight walnuts a day can help with certain cardiac conditions. Fourteen walnut halves are considered a serving, bringing in 4 grams of protein, 18 grams of fat, and 185 calories, making them relatively healthy compared to some other nuts.
Brazil Nuts and Pecans: Good for Men
Prostate health is important, but particularly for men, who are more prone to diseases related to the vital organ. Brazil nuts and pecans both contain nutrients that help men fight prostate conditions.
Loaded with selenium, Brazil nuts protect against prostate cancer and other diseases. In fact, just one nut can contain more than a day's requirement of selenium to stay healthy. One ounce of Brazil nuts (roughly six) contains 4 grams of protein and 19 grams of fat, bringing in roughly 190 calories.
Loaded with beta-sitosterol, a plant steroid, pecans can help relieve benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), otherwise known as an enlarged prostate. Eighteen to 20 pecan halves contain 3 grams of protein, 21 grams of fat, logging in at 200 calories.
Although these nuts are not the lowest in fat content, they do provide men with added preventative possibilities of having prostate cancer.
Macadamias: Good for Nothing
Ounce for ounce, the nut with the highest caloric content is the macadamia. One serving of 10 to 12 nuts brings in two grams of protein and a whopping 21 grams of fat.
Pecans are not much better. One serving of these pie favorites of 18 to 20 nuts brings in three grams of protein and 20 grams of fat.
Needless to say, macadamias and pecans are high in fat and should be enjoyed in moderation. Pecans, however, as seen from another section of this hub, are good for men and their health.
Just because macadamias and pecans are high in fat does not mean people should avoid them at all costs. Ultimately, they still make good snacks relative to other goodies containing much higher fat content.
What is your favorite nut?
One Common Denominator
Although all nuts are not created equal, there is one common denominator that brings them all together. All nuts are heart healthy.
Nut lovers have been able to lower the levels of their low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad) cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol can clog the arteries and lead to heart disease.
Nuts are also good for the heart because they contain high levels of L-arginine. This substance helps strengthen artery walls and prevent blood clots from obstructing flow.
The Vitamin E found in most nuts helps halt the development of plaque in the arteries. This keeps blood flowing and prevents heart disease from occurring.
Nuts are arguably one of the heart-healthiest foods you can possibly eat, even if they are not all created equal.
Health Benefits of Nuts
A Spicy Mixed-Nuts Recipe
This simple recipe is great to serve if you are planning on entertaining friends for a casual afternoon or just to bring along to work as a mid-afternoon snack. It doesn't take much to throw some raw or roasted nuts into a light spiced sauce.
This recipe can be made days before it is needed. Nuts can be stored in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.
Your Opinion Counts!
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 envelope dried onion soup
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
- 8 ounces dried, mixed nuts, roasted
- In a mid-sized bowl, blend dry soup mix with sugar and cumin. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt butter.
- Stir in dry soup mix combination.
- Add nuts. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes until browned. Evenly coat the nuts.
- Spread out and cool on a baking sheet.
- By definition, nuts are fruits.
- Cashew shells are poisonous.
- Peanuts are misunderstood legumes that grow in the ground.
- Nuts grow on trees.
Nuts are Great in Salads
Nuts make healthy salad toppings. Replacing croutons with nuts for that extra crunch in an otherwise mundane salad can help you maintain a healthier lifestyle. Nuts that go well in salads include:
- sliced almonds
Often times, people enjoy nuts in their salads as substitutes for dressing and not just croutons. There is less fat and calories in nuts than dressings such as honey mustard, ranch, or Thousand Island.