Time to get cracking — nuts, that is. Nuts are a superfood. They give you fiber, healthy fats and protein — three main things that help you to feel satisfied. Whether you’re adding them to a quick bread, sprinkling them over a salad or quick bread, or eating them out of your hand, they’re a healthy addition to your diet.
The one thing to keep in mind is portion size. Nuts are really calorie-dense, so by eating just a few more, you can easily consume an extra 100 calories. I’ve noted the portion size (how many nuts per ounce) and major nutrition information for a variety of nuts here, as well as some notable nutrients found in different kinds of nuts.
Walnuts (14 halves): Calories: 185; Fat: 18 g; Fiber: 2 g; Protein: 4 g
Walnuts are one of the few plant foods that have Omega-3 fatty acids, the kind that are linked to heart health. They also have a smattering of B vitamins, a bunch of copper (which helps make energy) and manganese (needed for bone formation and metabolism), as well as a good amount of magnesium and phosphorous — both important in bone health, among other functions.
Hazelnuts (21 nuts): Calories: 177; Fat: 17 g; Fiber: 3 g; Protein: 4 g
Hazelnuts are an excellent source of vitamin E — an antioxidant that can help protect against heart disease — as well as manganese and copper. The primary fat in hazelnuts is monounsaturated fat, which helps you get healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Pistachios (49 nuts): Calories: 157; Fat: 13 g; Fiber: 3 g; Protein: 6 g
Pistachios are the best choice if you don’t want to concentrate too hard on portion size. Because you need to shell them (and because a serving is 49 nuts!), it’s harder to go overboard on pistachios. They also are an excellent source of vitamin B6 (which your body needs to create new cells), and a good source of manganese and copper. Pistachios also deliver phytosterols — compounds that can help lower your cholesterol levels.
Almonds (23 nuts): Calories: 162; Fat: 14 g; Fiber: 3 g; Protein: 6 g
Almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E and manganese, and they are a good source of riboflavin. Also, the fat is mostly from monounsaturated fat.
Brazil nuts (6 nuts): Calories: 185; Fat: 19 g; Fiber: 2 g; Protein: 4 g
These earthy nuts are notable for their super-high amount of selenium (delivering 774 percent of the daily value per serving). Like many of the other nuts, Brazil nuts are also an excellent source of magnesium, phosphorous, manganese and copper.
Cashews (18 nuts): Calories: 155; Fat: 12 g; Fiber: 1 g; Protein: 5 g
Buttery cashews are a good source of vitamin K (the vitamin that helps your blood coagulate), phosphorous and zinc (needed for immune function). They are also an excellent source of manganese, copper and magnesium.
Kerri-Ann is a registered dietitian and nutrition coach who writes on food and health trends. Find more of her work at kerriannjennings.com or follow her on Twitter @kerriannrd or Facebook.