Full of good-for-you nutrition, nuts can sometimes get a bad reputation because of their fat content. While it is true that nuts are naturally high in fat, they actually fit into a healthy eating plan and come with plenty of health benefits.
With a wide variety of nuts to choose from, you may be wondering what are the healthiest nuts to eat, and particularly the best nuts for weight loss. Ahead, you’ll will learn all about the healthiest nuts to eat and why you should be nuts for nuts.
Are Nuts Healthy?
Nuts are nutrient powerhouses. Yes, those little nuggets you may enjoy in your trail mix or on top of your yogurt are jam-packed with good-for-you nutrients that are hard to get elsewhere.
While nuts do contain fat, they are low in unhealthy saturated fat and rich in heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, or fats that support our overall health.
Also packed with protein, antioxidants, fiber, B-vitamins, and minerals like calcium and potassium, nuts provide essential nutrition in a small amount. All of these benefits combined equate to growing evidence that eating nuts may help with weight management.
The Healthiest Nuts You Can Add to Your Diet
All nuts can fit into a healthful eating plan. And regardless of whether you are an almond lover or a pecan aficionado, making a point to include them in your life is a very wise choice.
But there are some shining star nuts that should be on your radar. These nuts can offer some unique benefits.
Considered one of the healthiest nuts on the block, almonds naturally contain vitamin E, a nutrient that supports eye health, the immune system. Plus, a one-ounce serving of almonds has about 3 grams of fiber — to help keep with fullness and satiety, and almonds happen to be one of the best nuts to include in a healthy eating plan if you are trying to lose weight.
And if you are worried about wrinkles, eating almonds daily has been shown to reduce fine lines — possibly the ticket to the fountain of youth!
Walnuts are chock-full of antioxidants to help decrease inflammation and contain ALA omega-3 fatty acid, which may reduce cardiovascular disease risk. One recent study also demonstrated that eating walnuts can help promote gut health by increasing healthy bacteria.
Although cashews are technically not a nut and are rather classified as a drupe, they are served as a nut and are loaded with key nutrients like iron, zinc, and magnesium. Iron and zinc both have roles in growth and development and in immune system support. Zinc is also essential to both male and female reproductive health.
As one of the lowest-calorie nuts, you get a little extra in a one-ounce serving. Pistachios are also one of the best sources of vitamin B6, which helps support a healthy immune and nervous system. They are also jam-packed with antioxidants, which gives them their natural green hue.
Delicious Ways to Add Nuts to Your Eating Plan
Nuts are convenient, pack a nutrient punch, and there are many ways to add nuts to daily meal planning. Here are some ideas to get you going.
Chop and add to a smoothie, high-fiber cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, or Greek yogurt. Add a small handful of nuts to quick-bread and muffin recipes for added protein and a crunchy texture. Shell and sprinkle into salads, sandwiches, and wraps. Grind and add to dips or coatings for fish or chicken. Smear nut butter on celery sticks, apples, or crackers for a mini-meal or snack.
Serving Size Tips
Reap all of the health benefits nuts have to offer by being mindful of serving sizes, especially when you are focused on weight management. Why? While it is true that nuts are jam-packed with key nutrients, they can be quite caloric.
Since nuts are so delicious, they can be easy to overeat. Start by paying attention to what is considered to be a serving size by reading the food label before you indulge.
Next, measure out a serving size in a small bowl or cup instead of eating the nuts directly from the bag.
Typically a serving will be one ounce of nuts, which will be equivalent to a different quantity of nuts depending on the variety. For example, a one-ounce serving of almonds is about 23 nuts and 160 calories. The serving size for shelled pistachios is a little bigger; enjoy about 45 nuts for about 160 calories.
When it comes to nut butter, there are so many varieties to choose from — stick to 1 tablespoon if weight loss is the goal. And prepackaged single-serving pouches of nuts helps make staying within the serving size easier, makes them portable, and locks in freshness.
Go Nuts For Nuts
Eating nuts can be one of the best things you can do for your health, as long as the portion size that you are enjoying is appropriate and the variety you are choosing isn’t drenched in a sugary coating or sprinkled with heaps of salt.
So add some nuts to your dishes and snacks for an extra boost of nutrition and crunch. Having healthy food at your fingertips like nuts can make living a healthy lifestyle both convenient and delicious.