These Are These 5 Healthiest Nuts You Can Eat

By now you’ve probably heard that, barring a serious allergy, nuts are great for you. Underneath their tough shells resides a powerful trio of healthy fats, fiber, and protein. These nutrients that battle hunger and heart disease, help you live longer, and may even make you smarter.

But, wait, there’s more!

In addition to their mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, some nuts contain inflammation-fighting omega-3s, antioxidants, and other beneficial vitamins and minerals, says Melissa Halas-Liang, R.D., a spokesperson for the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

In general, it’s best to eat a variety of nuts in order to maximize the unique benefits of each kind. While portion sizes can vary greatly (you get 25 pistachios for 100 calories, but just 8 walnut halves) you can’t go wrong with a handful a day.

Try the following mix.

1. Walnuts

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Not only do they look like brains, they may help protect yours. A 2019 study in the journal Nutrients found that depression scores among people who regularly ate walnuts were 26 percent lower than those on nut-free diets. Eating other kinds of nuts was only associated with an 8 percent lower risk of depression. Walnuts taste great stirred into Greek yogurt with fresh berries and unsweetened coconut flakes.

2. Pistachios

These green machines may help keep you lean. That’s because, nut-wise, they’re among the lowest in calories and highest in fiber (one ounce has 3 grams). They’re also full of antioxidants, says Halas-Liang, including lutein and zeaxanthin, which are responsible for their vibrant color and may provide protection for your eyes, skin, and heart.

3. Pecans

Among tree nuts, these pie stars contain the lowest in carbs (four grams per ounce compared to 6 for almonds and 9 for cashews). Their abundant phenolic compounds make them a great snack after an intense workout, when free radicals naturally increase from exercise, says Halas-Liang. They’re also one of the best natural sources of a compound called beta-sitosterol, which may help lower cholesterol and has been studied for its effectiveness in treating enlarged prostate, a gland that is normally, appropriately enough, pecan-sized.

4. Almonds

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Despite what Trader Joe’s would have you believe, they’re not just for milk (even though they do contain the most calcium of any tree nut). Almonds are also rich in vitamin E, a potent antioxidant, and zinc, which has been linked to fertility.

The latter may explain the results of a recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in which researchers recruited more than 100 men aged 1 to 35 and had them eat a nut snack containing almonds for 14 weeks. At the end, their sperm count measured 16 percent higher than men who didn’t eat nuts, and their swimmers had greater vitality and motility.

5. Peanuts

Sure, they’re technically legumes and not tree nuts, but nutritionally speaking, they belong on this list. A recent study in the journal Nutrients found that the fiber-fat-protein combo in peanuts helped control blood sugar in diabetics. And peanuts are top in both protein (seven grams per ounce) and plant sterols, the naturally occurring compounds that may block cholesterol from being absorbed into the blood.

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