Nuts are an easy snack that taste great and best of all they're good for us. They contain protein, healthy fats (mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated) and a variety of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants making them an important part of a healthy diet. Find out more...
Why eat nuts?
Nuts provide a number of powerful health benefits including a protective affect against cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol and improving control of blood sugar and blood pressure. Eating nuts results in an earlier and longer feeling of fullness which may help to control appetite and weight gain and they also contribute towards meeting requirements of a number of important nutrients including protein, omega 3 fats, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, folate and more.
What is the best nut?
The best nuts are those that are unsalted, unroasted or dry roasted. As far as the best type of nut goes, a variety is best. All nuts provide protein, a combination of mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated omega 3 and omega 6 fats, anti-oxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals but nutrient composition does vary. Eating a variety of nuts is the best way to ensure you get all the nutritional benefits they offer.
How much nuts?
Nuts are high in fat so portion sizes need to be controlled. The fat in nuts is healthy fat with many health benefits but it still contributes to energy intake. Aim for 1 serving of 30g every day or on most days. Don't let the fat in nuts scare you off, recent findings suggest that eating nuts (in appropriate amounts) may actually help control weight.
Take a closer look!
*High amounts is defined as providing 10% or greater of recommended daily requirements per 30g serve (approximately).
Almonds are the highest in fibre, vitamin E and calcium and they also contain high amounts of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper and riboflavin. Almonds have the second highest amount of protein tied with pistachios (6g per 30g serve) behind peanuts.
Walnuts are the highest in polyphenols (an anti-oxidant) and by a significant amount in omega 3 fatty acids (2500mg per 30g serve, compared to the second highest pecans with just 300mg). Walnuts also contain high amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese.
Cashews are the highest in iron, copper and zinc and they also contain high amounts of vitamin K, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus.
- Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are the highest in selenium, phosphorus and magnesium of all nuts and they also contain high amounts of thiamin, manganese and copper. Brazil nuts have the highest amount of saturated fat (4.5g per 30g serving) closely following by macadamia nuts. .
Peanuts are the highest in folate and niacin and they also contain high amounts of fibre, vitamin E, thiamin, manganese, copper, phosphorus and magnesium. Peanuts have the highest amount of protein (7g per 30g serve). Interestingly, the peanut is technically not a nut at all, it's a legume.
Pistachios are the highest in potassium and vitamin B-6 and they also contain high amounts of fibre, thiamin, copper, manganese and phosphorus. Pistachios have the second highest amount of protein tied with almonds (6g per 30g serve) behind peanuts..
Macadamia nuts are the highest in thiamin and they also contain high amounts of fibre, copper and manganese. Macadamia nuts have the second highest amount of saturated fat (3.5g per 30g serve) just behind Brazil nuts and the lowest amount of protein (2g per 30g serve).
Pecans are the highest in manganese of all nuts and they also contain high amounts of fibre, copper and thiamin. Pecans have the second highest amount of omega 3 fatty acids (300mg per 30g serve) behind walnuts by a significant amount.
David Eggins | Personal Trainer at Drive Fitness in Brisbane