You’ve heard by now that nuts are healthy. Regardless of the type—Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, pecans—every kind of nut is packed full of nutrients. In general, nuts provide fiber, protein, and healthy fats, which make them filling, satiating snacks. Beyond that, the other benefits of nuts come from the powerful vitamins, minerals, and natural plant compounds that these snacks carry.
You’ll find that all nuts generally contain similar vitamins and compounds, but some have higher levels of certain ones. For instance, almonds have the highest amount of vitamin E, even though Brazil nuts and cashews have high levels as well. You’ll also find that walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, and Brazil nuts have the highest concentrations of healthy fats, but most nuts still contain good amounts.
Even though all nuts are different, we’ve listed out the general health benefits that can come from eating nuts daily. Read on, and for more healthy eating tips check out What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Berries.
Nuts can give you a boost of antioxidants.
For instance, “One study conducted by Cornell University and published in the journal Nutrients found that pistachios have a high antioxidant capacity,” says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN. “In fact, the antioxidant capacity of pistachios rivals that of popular antioxidant-containing foods, including blueberries, pomegranates, cherries, and red wine.
Why are antioxidants important? Manaker adds that “Antioxidant-rich foods may help protect healthy cells from free radical damage in the body.”
Eating nuts may help people eat more nutrients.
Nuts can help you get more nutrients throughout your day, something that many experts say Americans fall short of.
“The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans indicate that the inadequate intake of nutrient-dense foods, like plant-based foods coming from fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, has resulted in the under-consumption of some nutrients, including fiber,” says Manaker.
They may improve your brain health.
For many people, adding nuts into your daily diet would do wonders for your nutrient intake. Manaker says, “In a study published in Nutrients, researchers examined the potential nutrient intake and diet quality benefits of replacing some meat in the diet with walnuts.”
It was found that “Incorporating walnuts into the diet improved the overall nutrient profile, including increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and several vitamins and minerals, with significant decreases in cholesterol and vitamin B12,” adds Manaker. “Notably, the study found that replacing just 15% of meat intake with walnuts was enough to achieve these benefits.”
According to Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, eating nuts as a regular part of your diet can contribute to better brain health and may reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
“Nuts are beneficial for brain health because they are rich in essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin E, which can help protect brain cells from oxidative stress and inflammation,” says Best.
All nuts have different levels of these nutrients. For example, walnuts have the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, while almonds and brazil nuts are typically the highest in vitamin E.