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 Research has shown that nuts provide various health benefits, mainly regarding reducing heart disease risk factors.

9 Nuts to Eat for Better Health

Nuts are great sources of fat, fiber, and protein. The majority of the fat in nuts is monounsaturated fat and also  omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fat. But, they do contain some saturated fat.

Nuts are load with several vitamins and minerals, as well as magnesium and vitamin E. Many studies have investigated the health benefits of increased nut intake.

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One meta-analysis of 33 studies discovered that diets high in nuts do not significantly influence weight gain or weight loss.

However, despite having a small effect on weight, many studies have revealed that people who eat nuts live longer than those who don’t. This may be due to their ability to help prevent several chronic diseases.

For instance, nuts may decrease risk factors for metabolic syndromes, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

In fact, one study in over 1,200 people discovered that eating a Mediterranean diet plus 30 grams of nuts per day reduced the prevalence of metabolic syndrome more than a low-fat diet or a Mediterranean diet with olive oil.

Moreover, nuts may reduce your risk of other chronic diseases. For instance, consuming nuts may improve blood sugar levels and lower your risk of certain cancers.

1. Almonds

Almonds are tree nuts that contain several useful nutrients.

One serving of 28 grams or a small handful packs contains:

  • Calories: 161
  • Carbs: 6 grams
  • Fat: 14 grams
  • Fiber: 3.5 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Vitamin E: 37% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Magnesium: 19% of the RDI

Almonds may enhance cholesterol levels. Studies have discovered that eating an almond-rich diet can decrease “bad” LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and oxidized LDL cholesterol, which is particularly harmful to heart health.

But, one larger study linked the results of five other studies and assumed that the evidence is insufficient to recommend that almonds undoubtedly improve cholesterol.

Although, almonds consumed as part of a low-calorie diet may aid in weight loss and lower blood pressure in people who are overweight or obese.

Additionally, eating a meal with one ounce (28 grams) of almonds may lower the increase in blood sugar after a meal by as much as 30% in people with diabetes but not significantly in healthy people.

Furthermore, almonds have been confirmed to reduce inflammation in people with type 2 diabetes.

Lastly, almonds may have a healthy effect on your gut microbiota by supporting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, including Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus.

Pistachios are a generally eaten nut that is high in fiber.

A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of pistachios contains:

  • Calories: 156
  • Carbs: 8 grams
  • Fat: 12.5 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Vitamin E: 3% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 8% of the RDI

Likewise to almonds, pistachios may increase cholesterol levels. Eating 2–3 ounces (56–84 grams) of pistachios a day may increase “good” HDL cholesterol.

Furthermore, pistachios may help promote other heart disease risk factors, including blood pressure, weight, and oxidative status.

Oxidative status refers to blood levels of oxidized chemicals, which can contribute to heart disease. What’s more, pistachios may help reduce the rise in blood sugar after a meal.

3. Walnuts

Walnuts are a common nut and a great source of omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of walnuts contains:

  • Calories: 182
  • Carbs: 4 grams
  • Fat: 18 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Vitamin E: 1% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 11% of the RDI

Walnuts seem to increase the number of heart disease risk factors, which may be due to their high content of ALA and other nutrients. Certain studies have discovered that eating walnuts significantly decreased total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol while increasing “good” HDL cholesterol levels.

They may also enhance other factors linked to heart health, including blood pressure and the usual flow of blood through your circulatory system.

Additionally, walnuts may aid reduce inflammation, which can add to many chronic diseases.

A study in college students discovered that eating walnuts improved a measure of cognition called “inferential reasoning,” recommending that walnuts may have useful effects on the brain.

4. Cashews

Cashews are part of the tree nut family and have a great nutrient profile.

One ounce (28 grams) of cashews contains:

  • Calories: 155
  • Carbs: 9 grams
  • Fat: 12 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Vitamin E: 1% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 20% of the RDI

Studies have investigated whether diets high in cashews can enhance symptoms of metabolic syndrome. A study discovered that a diet holding 20% of calories from cashews enhanced blood pressure in people with metabolic syndrome.

The different studies noticed that cashews boosted the antioxidant potential of the diet.

Interestingly, a few studies have shown that diets high in cashews may increase blood sugar in people with metabolic syndrome.

The additional study recognized that a diet rich in cashews decreased blood pressure and increased “good” HDL cholesterol levels. However, it had no meaningful effects on body weight or blood sugar levels.

5. Pecans

Pecans are often used in desserts, but they’re wholly nutritious on their own.

One ounce (28 grams) of pecans contains:

  • Calories: 193
  • Fat: 20 grams
  • Fiber: 2.5 grams
  • Carbs: 4 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Vitamin E: 2% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 8% of the RDI

Several studies have proved that pecans can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol in people with normal cholesterol levels.

Like other nuts, pecans also contain polyphenols, which are compounds that act as antioxidants.

In one four-week study, people who ate pecans as 20% of their daily calorie intake showed improved antioxidant profiles in their blood.

6. Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts contain lots of nutrients and are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat.

One ounce (28 grams) contains:

  • Calories: 200
  • Carbs: 4 grams
  • Fat: 21 grams
  • Fiber: 2.5 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Vitamin E: 1% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 9% of the RDI

Numerous health benefits of macadamia nuts are linked to heart health. That may be due to their great content of monounsaturated fat.

Studies have shown that diets rich in macadamia nuts can lower total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol in high cholesterol levels.

A macadamia-rich diet even produced effects similar to a heart-healthy diet recommended by the American Heart Association.

However, macadamia nuts may decrease other risk factors for heart disease, including oxidative stress and inflammation.

7. Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts originate from a tree in the Amazon and are a vibrant source of selenium.

A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of Brazil nuts contains:

  • Calories: 182
  • Carbs: 3 grams
  • Fat: 18 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Vitamin E: 8% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 26% of the RDI

Selenium is a mineral that serves as an antioxidant. Although it’s used for several bodily functions, you only need to obtain small amounts of it through your diet. A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of Brazil nuts will provide you with more than 100% of the RDI for selenium.

Selenium deficiency is rare and normally only occurs in certain disease states. For instance, one study discovered that people undergoing hemodialysis for kidney disease were selenium deficient.

When these people ate just one Brazil nut a day for three months, their blood selenium levels returned to normal, and the nuts had an antioxidant effect in their blood.

Brazil nuts can also lessen cholesterol levels. What’s more, they may reduce oxidative stress and enhance the function of blood vessels in obese teenagers.

Lastly, Brazil nuts may decrease inflammation in both healthy people and those undergoing hemodialysis.

8. Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are highly nutritious.

One ounce (28 grams) of hazelnuts contains:

  • Calories: 176
  • Carbs: 6 grams
  • Fat: 9 grams
  • Fiber: 3.5 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Vitamin E: 37% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 20% of the RDI

Like other nuts, hazelnuts seem to have useful effects on heart disease risk factors.

One study discovered that a hazelnut-rich diet reduced total cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. It also lowered markers of inflammation and improved blood vessel function.

Other studies have revealed that hazelnut diets can enhance cholesterol levels and increase vitamin E in the blood.

9. Peanuts

Like many other nuts, peanuts are not tree nuts but belong to the legume family. Although, they have similar nutrient profiles and health benefits as tree nuts.

One ounce (28 grams) of dry-roasted peanuts contains:

  • Calories: 176
  • Carbs: 5 grams
  • Fat: 17 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Vitamin E: 21% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 11% of the RDI

A study of over 120,000 people discovered that higher peanut intake was associated with lower death rates.

Peanuts may also improve heart disease risk factors.

One study also discovered that women who ate peanut butter more than five times a week had lower rates of type 2 diabetes.

Moreover, asthma and allergic disease rates may be lower in children of mothers who ate peanuts once or more per week during pregnancy.

Though, many brands contain large amounts of added oils, sugar, and other ingredients. Therefore, it’s best to choose peanut butter with the highest peanut content.

Thus, peanuts are normally salted, which may eliminate some of their associated health benefits. Alternatively, try to choose plain, unsalted, unflavored peanuts.