Healthy Nuts

Hazelnuts
Nuts are nature's hidden gems. Not only do they make a healthy snack filled with protein and fiber, but they're also high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and are cholesterol-free. Whether you're a cashew-lover or prefer peanuts, here's the lowdown on all your favorite healthy nuts, plus some healthy recipe ideas using nuts.

Almonds

Calories per ounce: 129

Benefits: protein, fiber, vitamin E, phosphorus

 

Almonds are a favorite among nut-eaters. Try them sprinkled in salads or churned into butter. One ounce of almonds packs 6 grams of protein and almost half of your daily vitamin E needs. Like most nuts, they contain monounsaturated fats, which have been known to lower cholesterol and your risk of heart disease. Just be sure to stay away from the roasted stuff -- they're usually deep-fried in unhealthy fats.

Walnuts

Calories per ounce: 185

Benefits: protein, fiber, copper, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, omega-3 

 

Keep on cracking! These popular nuts -- grown in the heart of California -- are a must-have. Not only are they an excellent source of body-essential copper and manganese, but they make the AICR's (American Institute for Cancer Research) list of foods that fight cancer. They're the only nut that's significantly high in omega-3 fatty acids. Incorporate a 1-ounce serving (or 7 nuts) into your diet per day to see results.

Cashews

Calories per ounce: 157

Benefits: vitamin K, zinc, iron, protein, phosphorus 

 

Crescent-shape cashews are sweet, buttery, and totally snack-tastic. They grow on a mango-size fruit called the cashew apple, found mostly in India and Latin America. According to the USDA, a 1-ounce serving of raw cashew nuts packs 8 grams of energy-boosting carbs and 5 grams of protein. Crush your midday cravings with a handful of raw or dry-roasted cashews. Avoid canned cashews that contain unhealthy fat and salt.

Macadamia Nuts

Calories per ounce: 204

Benefits: fiber, magnesium

 

Macadamia nuts aren't just for white chocolate cookies. The pearly baking staple -- grown in lush tropical destinations like Australia and Hawaii -- can be found in snacks, candies, spreads, and more. Macadamias are lowest in protein and highest in calories and saturated fat -- 3.4 grams, according to the USDA. So what do they offer exactly? The "good" fats. With the most monounsaturated fats among tree nuts, they keep both your heart and cholesterol levels healthy.

Peanuts

Calories per ounce: 161

Benefits: magnesium, phosphorus, folate, niacin

 

Say hello to America's favorite nut! According to The Peanut Institute, peanuts are the most popular nut choice and account for 67 percent of all nut consumption. Just 1 ounce of the dry-roasted ballpark essential packs more than 7 grams of protein. Same goes for jelly's sidekick, peanut butter. 

Pistachios

Calories per ounce: 161

Benefits: potassium, vitamin B6, copper, phosphorus, thiamine, protein, fiber

 

Pistachios are referred to as the "happy nut" in China, and we couldn't agree more, thanks to their buttery flavor and bright green color. Pistachios lead the pack in potassium with a whopping 285 mg per ounce. According to the American Pistachio Growers, that's just as much as a small orange!  

Pecans

Calories per ounce: 201

Benefits: fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc

 

There's more to pecans than just pie. You'll find them in pastries, ice cream, salads, and more. The crunchy little nut is chock-full of zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus. Zinc helps regulate immune function and is essential for growth, while magnesium and phosphorus help regulate blood pressure and keep bones strong. 

Pine Nuts

Calories per ounce: 191

Benefits: protein, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, vitamin K

 

Pinecones aren't just for holiday crafting. Each holds between 50 and 100 pine nuts, which are removed, dried, and enjoyed in a collection of culinary confections, such as pesto and cookies. While pine nuts can be spotted all over the world, they're mostly grown in China, Pakistan, and Spain. According to the International Tree Nut Council, 1 ounce of the smooth ivory seeds contains 4 grams of protein and more zinc than any other tree nut, which helps immune system functioning and enhances your senses of taste and smell.

Brazil Nuts

Calories per ounce: 190

Benefits: protein, fiber, phosphorus, magnesium

 

Like acai berries, Brazil nuts hail from one place only: the Amazon. One ounce of Brazil nuts packs about a third of your daily magnesium and phosphorus needs. Be wary of overindulging -- they contain more saturated fat than most nuts. Stick to one serving (about 6 nuts) per day.

Hazelnuts

Calories per ounce: 178

Benefits: magnesium, iron, vitamin B6

 

Sweet and creamy hazelnuts take the cake when it comes to baking, but can also be spotted in anything from veggie sides to your morning brew. While Turkey is the largest producer of hazelnuts worldwide, Oregon -- aka the Hazelnut State -- pulls in a hefty helping for the United States. 

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