When it comes to nuts, almonds are Queen. Not only are they renowned for lowering the body's "bad" cholesterol, they're also packed with heart-healthy nutrients like magnesium, potassium and vitamin E. What's more, just by eating a few almonds a day, you're guaranteed to improve the health of your colon. A recent study suggests the nut's natural oils and high fiber content nourish the digestive tract's lining.
Nutritional information: 24 almonds = approximately 160 calories
There's a reason nut companies add cashews to their trail mix. Not only are they lower in fat than most other nuts, they're also packed with heart-healthy antioxidants and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (at doses equivalent to some fish!). They're also loaded with copper, magnesium, zinc and iron, so they keep your energy level up, no matter what activity you're doing.
Nutritional information: 20 cashews = approximately 170 calories
Second to almonds in the "best nuts in the world" category, walnuts are a great source of heart and cardiovascular system protecting nutrients. They're loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory benefits (important for people suffering from asthma or arthritis). They're also loaded with ellagic acid, known for its cancer-fighting abilities. And getting your daily dose will strengthen your heart's arteries and stave off the build-up of plaque caused by "bad" cholesterol.
Nutritional information: 14 walnuts = approximately 180 calories
Recent research has shown pecans can significantly lower a person's cholesterol and improve heart health. That's probably because they're an excellent source of dozens of key vitamins and minerals. One serving of these sweet nuts will provide you with enough vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium and zinc to keep your body energized, and because they're loaded with fiber, they'll keep you feeling fuller, longer.
Nutritional information: 20 pecans = approximately 190 calories
How to get more nuts in your diet
Now that you know the best nuts for your health, here are some sneaky ways to get more of them in your diet:
- Top hot or cold cereal with nuts
- Add nuts to yogurt
- Replace croutons on a salad with chopped nuts
- Add mixed nuts to bread or pancake mix
- Slice nuts and sprinkle them on top of pasta
- Add nuts to popcorn or pretzels
- Warm nuts in a little margarine and salt for a savory treat
Recipes with nuts
Healthy walnut recipes high in omega-3s
Nutty trail mix