From homemade trail mix to salad toppers, adding nuts to your diet is not only easy, but they are also a delicious and healthy addition to your recipes. Nuts also make the perfect snack to help promote overall health.
There are also so many different options to choose from, each of which holds different health-boosting properties. More and more researching is also pointing to just how beneficial adding some nuts into our diet can be for promoting cardiovascular health. A study found that those who ate one ounce of nuts five or more times per week had a 14% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and a 20% lower risk of coronary heart disease. (1) The research is pretty impressive and gives us one more reason to make sure we are adding a variety of nuts to our diet on a regular basis.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 healthy nuts and why you may want to include them in your diet.
#1 Almonds: Almonds are a popular choice due to their mild yet delicious and crunchy flavor. There are also tons of ways to get almonds into your diet from almond milk to almond flour, you can get creative with how to enjoy them. Almonds are a great source of magnesium, vitamin E, fiber, protein, and healthy fat. (2)
#2 Walnuts: Walnuts are an excellent addition to a healthy diet, and especially for anyone who is looking to boost their intake of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts are rich in omega-3’s making them a great brain-boosting nut and also hold some impressive anti-inflammatory health properties. Walnuts have also been found to help support a healthy weight, and may even help lower blood pressure. (3)
#3 Pecans: Here’s another delicious nut option that makes a healthy addition to just about any diet. They are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant, and they are also a great source of plant-based protein. Try adding some pecan halves to a salad, or add chopped pecans to gluten and sugar-free muffin recipe for added crunch and a boost of nutritional value.
#4 Cashews: You can get cashews into your diet a number of ways. From cashew milk to cashew butter, and even cashew cheese, there are so many delicious options. Nuts, like cashews, have been shown to help support cardiovascular health by supporting healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. (4) So, go ahead and add a handful of cashews to your diet. Your heart health will thank you for it!
#5 Macadamia Nuts: Macadamia nuts, rich in monounsaturated fat, make a great healthy fat addition to your diet. They are also a great source of magnesium, and may even help support healthy cholesterol levels. (5)
#6 Brazil Nuts: Brazil nuts are an excellent addition to a healthy diet for a few reasons. They are an ideal source of magnesium, plant-based protein, and healthy fat, but they also contain a large amount of selenium which is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in supporting the health of your thyroid. (6) Plus, you only need a few per day to reap all of the selenium health benefits, so try adding a few to a homemade trail mix, or snack on a few with a piece of fruit.
#7 Hazelnuts: Hazelnuts have also been found to hold some cardiovascular health-promoting benefits by helping to support healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels. You can make homemade hazelnut milk, use hazelnut flour to make grain and gluten-free healthier cookies, or add some on top of a bowl of oatmeal for an added health boost.
#8 Pistachios: Super rich in fiber, pistachios are a great food choice when trying to boost your fiber intake. Not only that, but pistachios are also a great source of antioxidants to help reduce inflammation and neutralize free radicals in the body. Pistachios are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which are two antioxidants that are super important for eye health.
#9 Peanuts: While this nut ranks high when it comes to allergenic properties, if you do not have a peanut allergy, peanuts can be a great way to get some added plant-based protein into your diet. You can enjoy a handful of peanuts with fruit for a snack, or blend a tablespoon into a smoothie for an added protein boost.
#10 Tigernuts: While not the most commonly enjoyed nut, tiger nuts definitely hold some health benefits worth talking about. Tigernuts are rich in fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants. You can find tiger nuts at most health food stores as well as tiger nut flour.
To help you get started, here are some creative and delicious ways to add nuts to your diet.
Nuts are an excellent addition to a healthy diet, and the research proves time and time again that nuts hold some cardiovascular health-promoting properties. Nuts can be especially helpful for lowering cholesterol levels while also reducing inflammation. (7) They are also super easy to add to your diet, and with such a variety to choose from, you are sure to find at least a couple of nuts you like, and a few recipes you can add them to for an added health boost.
Rebecca Jacobs N.C is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant, specializing in digestive and women’s health. She doesn’t believe in dieting but rather making lifestyle changes, and believes that healthy eating must be delicious. Rebecca is also a recipe developer and creates healthier alternatives to traditionally unhealthy foods.