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How Healthy are your Nuts?

I couldn’t help it, the title was just too tempting.  But seriously, nuts are a real power food and provide you with a lot of great benefits, including fiber and healthy fats, not to mention essential vitamins and minerals.  That said, some nuts rate better than others.  All in all, they are healthy, but if you have a choice, some might be worth choosing over others.

The chart below gives you a glimpse of the nutrition facts for each variety of nut.  The quantities are based on 1 oz. of nuts (1/4 cup), which is a standard serving size.  The fat is also broken down by Total Fat in grams and then Saturated Fat (SF), Monounsaturated Fat (MUF) and Polyunsaturated Fat (PUF).

 

nut_chartGenerally, Almonds and Walnuts are the healthiest choices, with hazelnuts and pistachios coming in second. Again, all nuts have some benefits, which are listed below:

Almonds: They stabilize blood sugar and are high in calcium.  They are one of the nuts with the highest fiber content, highest magnesium content and are lower in total fat than most other nuts and are very low in saturated fat.    Lastly, they are very easy on the digestive system, making them a great option for those who have digestive issues.

Brazil Nuts: They contain Omega-3s, an essential Fatty Acid and high levels of selenium, which may help to prevent breast cancer.  Unfortunately, they tend to be high in saturated fat, an unhealthy fat.

Cashews: They are high in magnesium (second to almonds), which is a mineral that helps to build strong bones.  They are also lower in overall fat than most other nuts.  However, they are high in saturated fat and tend to be low in fiber.

Hazelnuts: They are a good source of protein and offer high levels of Vitamin E and Beta-Sitosterol, which contribute to heart health and help to fight cancer.  They are also high in fiber and low in saturated fat.

Macadamias: They are high in monounsaturated fat, are a good source of thiamine and contain small amounts of phosphorous, selenium, calcium and potassium.  That said, they are low in protein and high in overall fat.

Peanuts: Really legumes (more similar to peas and beans), peanuts are highest in Protein and have small amounts of Omega-3s.

Pecans: They are high in Vitamin E and regular consumption may help to decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.  On the down-side, they are low in protein and are higher in fat content than most nuts.

Pine Nuts: Actually seeds from pine trees, Pine Nuts contain large amounts of thiamine (Vitamin B1) and Protein.  If you are on a diet, they may act as an appetite suppressant.

Pistachios: They are high in calcium, magnesium and Vitamin A, as well as fiber and iron.

Walnuts: They are the grand-daddy of nuts!  They are high in Vitamin E and have an ideal ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties, protect your heart’s health and guard against arthritis.

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Posted in Brett's Blog, Nutrition Tagged with: , , , , , ,