By now you’ve probably heard that nuts are super healthy—rich in protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids and a great source of “good” cholesterol— an ideal snack food to grab when you’re on the go. But you’ve also probably heard some advice to the contrary—that you should steer clear if you’re looking to shed a few pounds since they’re high in fat and calories. So what gives? Should you be eating more nuts—or fewer?
Of course, as with any snack, it’s still best to enjoy nuts in moderation, meaning don’t eat that entire bag in one sitting (Guilty!). Now, if you need any more convincing, here are a few of our favorite nuts and their health benefits.
1. Get Your Fiber Fix From Pecans
Pecans will provide you with three grams of dietary fiber per one-ounce serving (which is just under 200 calories). Plus, pecans contain over 19 vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, potassium and zinc. And, they’re rich in antioxidants, and antioxidants help ward off chronic health issues, such as heart disease and cancer. I wonder if pecan pie counts toward our pecan quota for the day…
2. Almonds Are A Great Source Of Vitamin E
Almonds are a powerhouse of health benefits. Like pecans, almonds contain age-defying antioxidants. They’re also a great source of vitamin E—just one ounce has 34 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin E, which has anti-aging properties and keeps your complexion looking great. Almonds are also a great source of magnesium, which helps control blood sugar. Plus, if you want some riboflavin (helps produce energy) and phosphorus (fundamental for strong bones and teeth), almonds take care of that too. Okay, is anyone else craving an almond butter sandwich right now, or is it just me?
3. Look To Cashews For Your Vitamin K For The Day
Cashews keep your heart healthy and reduce your cholesterol levels, thanks to the fact that most of the fat they contain is unsaturated, plus they have less fat overall than many other nuts. In addition, cashews help control blood sugar, so can reduce the risk of diabetes. And that’s not all—the antioxidants found in cashews may help stop the growth of certain cancer cells. They also have a lot of copper, which helps protect nerve fibers, and they contain other key minerals, such as potassium, zinc and calcium. Cashews are also a key source of vitamin K, which not only helps our blood clot properly, but also helps prevent heart disease and keeps bones strong.
4. Pistachios = Potassium
In addition to being delicious, pistachios are fun to eat; after all, they’re protected in their very own little shells and are super transportable. But, the good stuff doesn’t stop there, pistachios also have several health benefits. For instance, did you know that a one-ounce serving (49 nuts and just 160 calories!) has as much potassium as half of a large banana?! In addition, pistachios are cholesterol-free and mainly contain the “good” fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated—in fact, they only have 1.5 grams of saturated fat per serving! Another upside? They also help with heart health, since they contain many plant-based compounds, including vitamin E and polyphenols.
5. If You’re Looking For B Vitamins, Reach For Hazelnuts
Aside from being oh-so-flavorful, hazelnuts are also nutritional superstars. They contain vitamin E—a lot—86 percent of the recommended daily allowance, in fact. They also contain magnesium, which helps our skeletal system, and plenty of vitamin B6, which helps keep our nervous system in check. Vitamin B6 also plays an important role in the synthesis of serotonin, melatonin and epinephrine. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you’re probably familiar with serotonin. And if you have trouble sleeping, you’re probably friends with melatonin. But vitamin B6 is not the only B vitamin in hazelnuts. You’ll also be consuming vitamins B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 and B9 (folic acid). In case you missed it, B vitamins, overall, are great for giving us energy.