There are countless ways to get the nutrients, proteins and antioxidants that our bodies require to be healthy. As Americans, chances are that nuts are not at the top of the list on our snacks or favorites. Well, if you haven't done so yet, I challenge you to try out these superfoods that will definitely take your health to optimum.
Here's a list of supernuts I believe we all need.
Almonds contain the most fiber — about three grams per ounce — compared to other nuts, and are richest in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Almonds may even help you slip into your skinny wardrobe: In one International Journal of Obesity study, when two groups of obese adults followed low-calorie diets for six months, those who included almonds in their weight loss plans lost more weight than those who ate more complex carbohydrates. Research shows that almonds are especially healthy for people worried about their blood sugar: Those who ate about 20 percent of their calories from almonds for four months saw their bad LDL cholesterol drop and their insulin resistance decrease compared to a control group who didn’t eat them. Almonds may even safeguard your gut: A test-tube study (funded by the Almond Board of California) found that the nuts raised levels of good bacteria that bolster the body’s immune system.
Serving info: About 23 nuts = 170 calories, 15 grams fat
Cashews are particularly rich in iron and zinc. “Iron helps deliver oxygen to all of your cells, which can prevent anemia, and zinc is critical to immune health and healthy vision,” says Joy Bauer, Today Show nutritionist and bestselling author. Cashews are also a good source of magnesium: One ounce provides almost 25 percent of your daily need. Magnesium may help improve memory and protect against age-related memory loss, according to a study in the journal Neuron.
Serving info: about 18 nuts = 165 calories, 13 grams fat
Ounce for ounce they’re one of the most calorie-dense nuts, macadamia nuts contain the greatest amount of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat (MUFA) per serving. “This ‘good fat’ lowers LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol levels and blood pressure,” says Bauer. A Pennsylvania State University study (funded partly by the Hershey Company, which owns the Mauna Loa Macademia company) found that people who added macadamia nuts to their diets reduced their triglyceride levels, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol by nearly 10 percent.
Serving info: About 10 nuts = 200 cals, 22 grams fat
Pistachios are the most slimming nuts, with less than four calories each. Their shells make them especially dieting-friendly: They may also help you breathe easier: University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center researchers found that eating two ounces of pistachios daily may reduce lung cancer risk. Pistachios are rich in the antioxidant gamma-tocopherol, a form of cancer-fighting vitamin E. Packed with potassium, a mineral essential for a healthy nervous system and muscles, and are a good source of vitamin B6, which can lift your mood, fortify your immune system, and more.
Serving info: About 50 nuts = 160 cals, 14 grams fat
Apart from containing the most antioxidants of all nuts, which help protect your body from the cellular damage that contributes to heart disease, cancer, and premature aging, walnuts are also the richest in omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation. They’re an especially great way to get these healthy unsaturated fats if you’re not a fan of fish, where omega-3's are usually found. A walnut snack may also turn around a bad day during that time of the month: The manganese they contain may reduce PMS symptoms.
Serving info: About 14 walnut halves = 185 calories, 18 grams fat
One lonely Brazil nut packs more than 100 percent of the daily value for the mineral selenium, which hels in the prevention of certain cancers, including bone, prostate, and breast cancer. A recent study in the Journal of Medicinal Food suggests that the selenium found in Brazil nuts, along with soy, may help fight prostate cancer by inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells. As with all good things, balance is a must, don't overdo it on Brazil nuts: High levels of selenium can be harmful, so stick to a serving or less.
Serving info: 5 to 6 nuts = 185 cals, 18 grams fat
More than just for flavoring coffeee, an all-around healthy nut, hazelnuts are notable for their high levels of monounsaturated fats, which can improve cardiovascular health and help to manage type 2 diabetes. They’re also rich in the antioxidant vitamin E, which may prevent cataracts and macular degeneration, maintain healthy skin, and reduce risk of dementia.
Serving info: About 21 nuts = 180 cals, 17 grams fat
Pecans aren’t just for making tasty pies, they can also help improve your heart health. pecans are among the most antioxidant-rich nuts. They may help prevent plaque formation in your arteries. In fact, a Journal of Nutrition study (funded partly by the National Pecan Shellers Association) found that consuming pecans can help lower LDL cholesterol levels by as much as 33 percent. Pecans may also buffer your brain health, according to an animal study from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The vitamin E found in the nuts could delay progression of degenerative neurological diseases like amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Serving info: About 18 halves = 200 calories, 21 grams fat