Nuts have gotten a lot of bad press over the “low fat diet” years but now it’s becoming common knowledge, that healthy fats are essential for keeping us well. These bite-size nutritional powerhouses are packed with heart-healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. Avoid nuts packaged or roasted and instead eat them organic and raw.
Almonds are an excellent source of protein and healthy monounsaturated fats. They offer unique benefits for your blood sugar levels as one of the healthiest nuts. When eaten with a meal, almonds may help to lower surges in your blood sugar and insulin levels, a mechanism that may help prevent or manage type 2 diabetes and heart disease. They are also the most alkaline forming nut on this list.
They are high in magnesium, bone-strengthening calcium and many antioxidants, such as vitamin E and selenium. Studies show that almonds may play an important role in preventing colon cancer due to their high fiber content. Almonds also helps lower negative forms of cholesterol in the blood stream.
Walnuts contain the highest concentration of antioxidants of any kind of nut (see here) and studies have shown that eating them regularly can help reduce your chance of cardiovascular disease and protect against diabetes and certain cancers.
It has a high content of ALA, a type of omega-3 fat, which aside from helping to protect against heart disease and stroke, omega-3 fats have been found to offer protection against wide range of illnesses, from cancer and rheumatoid arthritis to inflammatory bowel disease and depression.
Walnuts also contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant that is beneficial for your immune system and appears to have anti-cancer properties. Walnuts even contain melatonin, a hormone produced by your pineal gland that helps regulate your sleep and also offers potent antioxidant benefits.
Pecans also rank highly in antioxidant content among nuts, which means they may be beneficial for lowering your risk of cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Pecans are a great source of over twenty essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, B and E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, manganese and zinc.
4. Brazil Nuts
The greatest health benefit of the Brazil nut is its high selenium content. It has been claimed that selenium can help protect again prostate and breast cancers, AIDS symptoms, male fertility, skin disorders, anxiety, and asthma and is also crucial for thyroid health. Don’t eat too many of these, though. Eating Brazil nuts in large quantities may cause selenosis, also known as selenium poisoning. High in heart-healthy nutrients and minerals like copper, niacin, vitamin E, fiber, magnesium, and selenium – an antioxidant that may aid in the prevention of breast cancer.
5. Pine Nuts
Pine nuts are a very good source of plant derived nutrients, essential minerals, vitamins and heart friendly mono-unsaturated fatty acids that help benefit in reducing cholesterol levels in the blood. They are also a great source of protein and dietary fiber, and pine nuts have more vitamin K than any other nut, which helps to strengthen bones and arteries. Additionally, they contain in vitamins E, thiamin, and niacin. Pine nuts will keep your heart healthy and your blood pressure down, as they also contain magnesium and potassium, as well as a good amount of antioxidants.
Hazelnuts have actually played a role in man’s diet since prehistoric times. They are an excellent source of vitamin E and are also a great source of folate and may help to reduce depression symptoms. Hazelnuts are also a source of fiber, vitamin B, protein, potassium, and calcium. They contain flavonoids which may support brain health, improve circulation and reduce symptoms associated with allergies.
Do Nut Eat …
Peanuts can contain a carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin, and they are notorious for being one of the most pesticide-contaminated crops.
Cashews although rich in iron, minerals and heart-healthy fats, it’s best to keep to a minimum due to potential levels of fungus.