The Art of Eating Healthy Nuts
Have you considered adopting some healthier eating habits lately but don’t want to completely overhaul your diet? We totally get it. And fortunately, there is one super simple thing that you can do to get in more of the nutrition you need without having to completely change your lifestyle: eat more nuts!
Nuts are one of the healthiest superfoods on the planet, offering a whole host of nutritional benefits in every single handful. They’re also inherently versatile and can be enjoyed on their own as snacks, tossed on top of many of your favorite foods, or even incorporated into meals as a dairy or meat substitute (or just for a boost of added taste and texture). As a bonus, they offer a pretty convenient snack, and you can usually find them in any corner store, grocery store, or vending machine.
There are so many good reasons to add more nuts to your diet, and below, we’re breaking down just what those are — plus some tips for getting more of the good stuff in your day.
Here’s what you should know.
4 Major Benefits of Eating Healthy Nuts
Sure they taste delicious, but that’s not the only reason that nuts are such an essential part of a well balanced diet. Let’s dig into four of the biggest nut health benefits that you should be aware of.
1. They’re packed with protein
Some nuts contain more protein than others, but all around they’re one of the most protein dense foods you can choose. Consider almonds, which contain an impressive seven grams of protein per quarter cup, or pistachios which pack six grams into a quarter cup. Even if you don’t eat all or primarily plant based foods, nuts are one of the easiest ways to add more protein to your diet, and can in turn help you reduce appetite and cravings, build more muscle mass, and boost your metabolism.
2. They contain healthy fats
Your body needs fat to function, but not all types of fats are created equal. Saturated fats like the kinds you find in processed, fried, and fast foods build up cholesterol in your blood vessels and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Healthy fats, however, like monounsaturated fats and omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats actually reduce your total amount of bad cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease. And nuts are chock-full of them, which helps explain why people who eat more nuts may actually live longer.
3. They can aid in weight loss
Even though nuts are pretty high in calories, your body is going to treat 200 calories of nuts a lot differently than it treats 200 calories of chocolate chip cookies. Research shows that our bodies actually don’t seem to absorb all of the calories from nuts when we digest them, and in addition, that nuts contain other essential vitamins and nutrients that can increase our metabolism and ultimately help us lose more weight and inches.
4. They may reduce inflammation
Your body relies on inflammation for things like fighting off injury and illness. Too much of it though, or inflammation when you’re not trying to fight anything off, can be destructive. Fortunately, nuts have been shown to have natural anti-inflammatory properties that can stave off unwanted inflammation, particularly varieties like walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, and pistachios — especially in individuals with inflammatory conditions like diabetes and kidney disease.
What are the Healthiest Nuts?
When you’re looking to choose the best nuts for a healthy diet, it’s important to acknowledge that different types of nuts vary in nutritional density and benefits. The health benefits of cashews, for example, are different from the health benefits of Brazil nuts, and the more you can understand these differences, the better choices you can make for your lifestyle.
Some of the healthiest nuts include almonds, pistachios, cashews, and walnuts. Meanwhile, super fatty nuts like macadamia nuts, as well as processed nuts like those that have been roasted, salted, or candied, don’t offer quite the same degree of health benefits.
Where to Find the Best Healthy Nuts
This part’s easy! You can find nuts in pretty much any grocery store or anywhere else that you buy food. We recommend stocking up on bulk nuts so that you always have plenty on hand, and sticking to mostly raw varieties to get in as many of those health benefits listed above as you can.
As for how to use them, feel free to get creative. Enjoy nuts by the handful, or use them as toppings on salads, soups, and other healthy dishes. You can also blend nuts into smoothies, add them into baked goods, and use them in recipes. The sky really is the limit for enjoying these super healthy bites.