Nuts are considered a super-healthy food for good reason. They're full of healthy fats, plant-based protein and lots of other nutrients. Find out more about the amazing health benefits of nuts.

Jessica Ball, M.S., R.D.
November 08, 2019

It's probably no surprise that nuts offer a variety of health benefits. For a long time they were shunned by dieters because they were high in fat, but we now know that nuts are loaded with healthy fats and also can help with weight loss.The list of science-backed benefits for eating nuts goes on and on. Read on for some of the many health benefits of nuts and to learn more about why they're so good for you.

Related: Healthy Recipes for Nuts and Seeds

Nut Nutrition

Nuts come in a variety of shapes, sizes and flavors. Different types have their own unique nutrition, although all nuts deliver plant-based proteins and health benefits. Nuts are also naturally high in healthy fats, but low in saturated fats. Here is the nutrition for a 1-ounce serving of a few of our favorite nuts:

Almonds

  • 162 calories
  • 14 g fat
  • 1 g saturated fat
  • 6 g protein
  • 6 g carbs
  • 4 g fiber
  • 7 mg vitamin E (48% Daily Value)
  • 76 mg magnesium (18% DV)

Cashews

  • 157 calories
  • 12 g fat
  • 2 g saturated fat
  • 5 g protein
  • 9 g carbs
  • 1 g fiber
  • 83 mg magnesium (20% DV)
  • 1.6 mg zinc (15% DV)

Peanuts

  • 161 calories
  • 14 g fat
  • 2 g saturated fat
  • 7 g protein
  • 5 g carbs
  • 2 g fiber
  • 68 mcg folate (17% DV)

Walnuts

  • 185 calories
  • 19 g fat
  • 2 g saturated fat
  • 4 g protein
  • 4 g carbs
  • 2 g fiber
  • 1 mg manganese (42% DV)

Pistachios

  • 159 calories
  • 13 g fat
  • 2 g saturated fat
  • 6 g protein
  • 8 g carbs
  • 3 g fiber
  • 0.5 mg vitamin B6 (28% DV)

Promote Heart Health

Nuts contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats and antioxidants, and eating nuts regularly can promote heart health. There is substantial evidence that regularly consuming nuts can cut the risk for coronary heart disease, for both men and women. A 2019 meta-analysis in Nutrition Review found an inverse relationship between nut consumption and a variety of heart conditions. That means that the more regularly people ate nuts, the lower their risk for coronary heart disease and some other cardiovascular conditions.

Reduce Diabetes Risk

Nuts show potential benefits in the management of and prevention of diabetes. A review paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating four servings of nuts a week was strongly associated with a lower risk of diabetes. For those who have diabetes, eating nuts can help minimize common side effects and complications, especially for women. In fact, a 2019 study found that, for people who already had diabetes, eating nuts reduced the risk of developing other chronic illnesses, heart disease in particular. Additionally, all nuts are naturally low in carbs and high in healthy fats and protein, which makes them a safe and delicious snack for people being mindful of their carb intake.

Related: Best Foods for Diabetes

High in Antioxidants

Nuts are also full of antioxidants, which are the compounds in food that help repair damaged and stressed cells. Antioxidants prevent a slew of diseases and conditions too. Many age-related diseases can be attributed to chronic inflammation and stress, so naturally, antioxidants make a big difference. A review study in Antioxidants found that older adults who consumed nuts had a lower risk of developing cancer or cognitive disorders, along with heart disease and diabetes.

In an extensive review in Nutrients, researchers concluded that nuts are a great source of antioxidants that can benefit acute and chronic illnesses. Nuts high in monounsaturated fats, like peanuts and cashews, are a good source of antioxidants, but nuts high in polyunsaturated fats give you a little more bang for your buck in terms of antioxidants. Nuts like walnuts, almonds and Brazil nuts are particularly high in polyunsaturated fats and antioxidants.

Promote Weight Loss

Nuts are high in calories, but they may actually protect against packing on extra pounds. A review of recent research found that more and more studies are reporting nut's important role in weight regulation and weight maintenance, and finding inverse associations between eating nuts and obesity and diabetes. The researchers went so far as to say that nuts were the only food that was so strongly associated with lower weight, when adjusted for confounding factors.

Nuts can help regulate your hunger, too. The authors of this review found evidence that eating nuts can reduce hunger and the desire to eat, while increasing fullness. Their high fat, protein and fiber content work together to provide long-term satisfaction. Adding nuts or seeds to meals and snacks helps give them staying power.

Fight Inflammation

Walnuts are high in a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid called ALA, which has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects. This comprehensive review found that diets rich in walnuts reduced several markers of inflammation in the body. Reducing inflammation can decrease your risk for almost every chronic disease, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Eating plenty of anti-inflammatory foods is particularly important for older adults, who are more susceptible to inflammation and chronic disease. Antioxidants, which nuts are full of, can also provide anti-inflammatory benefits.

Bottom Line

With their variety of health benefits, there is likely at least one reason that nuts should make it onto your plate regularly. From your brain to your waistline, eating nuts may help prevent illness and promote health. And they are as versatile in the kitchen as they are in your body. Try our Healthy Nut & Seed Recipes to start enjoying the nutrition of nuts today.

Related:

Healthy Nut & Seed Snack Recipes

Healthy Recipes with Nut Butter

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