Help yourself to a handful of nuts today, because not only are they tasty – they’re also great for you! Join us as we crack open the health benefits of five types of nuts you shouldn’t overlook. Most nuts are an excellent source of nutrients, but these nutty gems truly shine when it comes to your health.
This super-duper nut has made its ways into trail mixes, baked goods, and salads. Almonds take the snacking spotlight, and rightfully so! They are the leading source of monounsaturated fat among commonly-eaten nuts, which is great news for your heart. Research suggests that the high amount of monounsaturated fat in almonds can lower LDL cholesterol levels. Per serving, almonds provide 4 grams of appetite-suppressing fiber and 7 grams of muscle-building protein. Loaded with vitamin E, almonds also pack an antioxidant punch. They’re a good source of mighty minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium, too!
Your favorite stir-fry wouldn’t be the same without cashews, but these kidney-shaped nuts provide more than just delicious flavor. Health nuts will rejoice to know that cashews contain less fat than other common varieties of nuts and the fat they do contain is primarily the heart-healthy, unsaturated kind. Cashews also bestow minerals aplenty, particularly copper, which lends a helping hand to connective tissue in order to keep skin supple and less prone to wrinkles. Like other nuts, cashews deliver protective antioxidants and vitamins in every serving, along with protein and fiber.
Another nut that your heart can tip its hat to, hazelnuts attribute nearly 80 percent of their fat content to the cardiovascular-promoting monounsaturated kind. With five generous grams of protein per serving, these filberts really fill you up! They’re bursting with antioxidants, and are the richest source of folate among tree nuts. Also referred to as vitamin B-12 or folic acid, folate supports brain function, red blood cell production, and reduces the risk of neural tube defects. Go to town with hazelnuts by adding them to baked goods or tossing them over salads; you’ll also be getting a boost of iron, calcium and vitamin E.
We can never have too many pistachios and that’s not a bad thing! Each serving of pistachios contains more nuts and fewer calories than a serving of any other kind of nut. When it comes to their high protein and fiber content, pistachios stand proudly right alongside their tree nut cousins: almonds. This bright green superhero is power-packed with phytosterols: plant-based compounds that have been proven effective at lowering cholesterol levels. Pistachios are also a great source of amino acids, which our bodies use to build protein, so make them your tasty companion when you hit the gym.
Crack open a walnut to uncover a treasure trove of health benefits. It turns out that your brain could use more of these brain-shaped nuts, thanks to an abundance of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This essential omega-3 fatty acid found in walnuts is important for cognitive memory and performance, as well as for reducing inflammation and the risk for cardiovascular disease. Walnuts also provide the amino acid L-arginine, which can help reduce high blood pressure. With protein, fiber, antioxidants and iron, walnuts really provide wall-to-wall nutrients your body needs. Enjoy chopped walnuts in cereal and yogurt, or snack on raw and roasted varieties straight out of the bag.