(NaturalPath) Nuts are healthy choice for a quick snack during the day. With all the options it is hard to know which ones are the most nutritious. Nuts provide us with a great source of healthy fats and protein, however it is important to understand the differences in what nutrients they can provide. Here we discuss a few choices in order to highlight some of the better nut choices.
Almonds are a healthy choice for many reasons. Almonds have the lowest calorie per ounce, at 160 calories. They are also have the highest calcium content and packed with the powerful antioxidant, vitamin E. Almonds are great when added to chia pudding, yogurts, and smoothies in the morning, or salads for lunch and dinner.
Walnuts are also on the list of healthy nut choices. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids and also have high copper, manganese, and biotin concentrations. Walnuts have also been associated with a reduction in risk of prostate and breast cancer. Furthermore, their l-arginine concentration makes them beneficial for those with heart disease, as this amino acid helps to improve vascular health. These are just a few of the many health benefits of walnuts, and why you may consider adding them to your diet.
Brazil nuts are specifically known for their high selenium content. Selenium is an effective nutrient that has shown to be protective against prostate cancer, and beneficial for symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Selenium is also an essential nutrient for optimal thyroid functioning. Consider incorporating Brazil nuts into your diet if concerned about these conditions, or to help with meeting your daily selenium needs.
Although nuts in general are a healthy and tasty addition to your day, there are some that fall short for nutritional value, when compared to the others. Macadamia nuts and pecans are two of the less desirable choices. This is because they are both the highest in calories, and have the lowest protein content. If concerned about calories or low protein intake, it is best to consider other nut options.
Variation is key.
There are so many options and due to the variation in nutrient content, it is best to consume mixed nuts in order to get the largest benefit from this healthy snack.
In general, nuts can make a great healthy snack, ensuring that you feel full after you eat them, and provide a healthy mix of nutrients. They are a great addition to salads, yogurts, chia pudding, smoothies, or on their own. It is also relatively easy to make your own nut butters at home by blending them in a heavy-duty blender. Variety is always important and it is best to mix up the type of nuts in order to maximize the benefits you receive from this group of foods.
Razi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.