Nuts: They’re a health food, right? A good source of fat. A superfood, even. Or so you have been told.
The thing about nuts is they ARE healthy, but there are two important things to note:
1. It’s WAY TOO EASY to eat too many nuts.
I'm not trying to be a nut shamer here. I am, after all, someone who can consume an entire Costco tin of macademia nuts in three days if you let me. Because of this, I know how easy it can be to continue to shovel macadamia nuts, or pistachios, into your mouth like popcorn at the movies, only to realize you have consumed two-days worth of fat macros in one sitting. Of course, I'm not saying you should guilt-trip yourself if this does happen. I am merely suggesting, if you're looking to keep it reasonable most of the time, to stick to a handful of nuts.
2. All nuts are not created equal.
Some are much better for you than others.
Here are some of the best nuts out there:
Almonds for the bones
Almonds are known to help with bone and teeth strength because they have phosphorus in them.
Walnuts for the brain and the heart
Walnuts have been shown to increase cognition—specifically they help with what’s called inferential reasoning. There is also evidence from this study from Yale University that they’re good for your heart as they promote low blood pressure and good blood flow, especially in those with diabetes. As an added bonus, walnuts are also high in fibre and in protein—15 g of protein in 100 g of walnuts (in comparison, macadamia nuts have only 8 g of protein per 100 g and pecans have 9 g)—so they keep you feeling full, making you potentially less likely to “oversnack.”
Brazil nuts for baby-making
Because they’re high in a mineral called selenium—which is known to help with sperm motility—it is believed Brazil nuts are good for reproductive efforts. Selenium is also good for kidney health, as well as immune and thyroid function.
Cashews for blood pressure
A study from North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa discovered that cashews help improve blood pressure in those with metabolic syndrome, while another study from the same university showed that they help increased antioxidant capacity (meaning they’re cancer-fighting nuts).
Macademia Nuts for the heart
Not only are these the tastiest nut in my opinion, they help reduce the bad type of cholesterol (LDL) and increase your good cholesterol (HDL). They’re also high in flavonoids, which transform into antioxidants in our body. On top of this, they have anti-inflammatory substances and are thought to help with blood pressure. All of the above means they’re great heart-health nuts.
Pecans for PMS
Ladies with menstrual problems: Pecans are the nut for you. They have manganese, which helps stop those horrible cramps. Like many of the other nuts, they’re also useful in the antioxidant department.
Hazelnuts for more than tasty Nutella!
Many people think of that delicious chocolatey spread when they think about hazelnuts (which are also called filberts). But they do more than this. Hazelnuts help increase the Vitamin E in your blood, a key vitamin for promoting healthy skin, hair and nails. Vitamin E might also help with dementia and Alzheimer’s, so keep on eating those hazelnuts.