The best nuts for vegans also happen to be the best nuts to eat for health. And perhaps more importantly the best nuts for health are the nuts that you are currently eating or the nuts that you enjoy eating.
But let’s get a bit more specific. Let’s look at the best nuts as they relate to specific human nutrition needs.
Now I was only half joking when I said that the best nuts for your health are the nuts you are eating. The reason I say this is that so many folks shy away from nuts because they think they are fattening. And indeed, nuts are generally high in fat, but they’re also high in other nutrients as you’ll see.
And even more surprisingly, adding a handful (considered a quarter cup to one third of a cup) of nuts to the diet does not cause folks to gain weight. Good news! You can check out some of the research here and here’s some research that shows that substituting nuts for red meat as a protein source reduces mortality. Red meat will kill you fast.
So don’t worry about nuts and their fat content. The fat is the good kind anyway, and though nuts are calorically dense, if you are only adding a quarter cup or a third of a cup to your diet you won’t gain weight and you’ll gain a lot of health.
For the purpose of finding out which nut is the most nutritious I took a look at the profile of the most commonly eaten nuts which are: Peanuts (actually a legume), almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, filberts/hazelnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, pistachio nuts and pine nuts. The following information is based on a serving of nuts of one ounce (28 grams). An ounce of nuts is roughly equivalent to a quarter cup serving.
Best nuts for protein
The best nuts for protein happen to be legumes which we’ve mistaken for nuts. I’m talking about peanuts. For a 1 ounce serving of peanuts you get 7 grams of protein and 164 calories.
A couple of other nuts deserve special attention. Pistachio nuts will give you 6 grams of protein per ounce and 160 calories. Almonds will also offer up 6 grams of protein per ounce and 170 calories. I have a soft spot for cashews, one of my favourite nuts of all time. They aren’t bad for protein coming in at 5 grams of protein per ounce and 155 calories.
Best nuts to lower cholesterol
The best nuts to lower cholesterol would also be the best nuts for diabetics if you were to ask me. These nuts are walnuts. Why? They have the best heart healthy fats and studies have shown that they help lower cholesterol.
And healthy fats also help keep you satiated longer which can be very helpful for diabetics. Though diabetics like all of us should limit themselves to one quarter to one third of a cup of nuts per day.
Best nuts of weight loss
As I mentioned before, the best nuts for weight loss are any of the nuts listed above. Your favourite nut to snack on that you love and which will feel a craving so you don’t being on other foods that are nasty for you.
If you want my opinion then I’d say the best nuts to help you lose weight would have to be cashews. Why cashews? Because they are amongst the most popular nuts that people love and they are also the nuts with the fewest calories per ounce serving.
Best nuts for heart health
The best nuts for heart health happen to be walnuts which are also the best nuts for lowering cholesterol we we saw up above.
Walnuts are the best nuts for your heart because they are the best nuts for omega 3s and we all know how important omega 3s are. In fact, English walnuts have a tremendous amount of omega 3s as far as plant based foods go. For vegans, walnuts are an excellent source of omega 3s.
In fact walnuts are a terrific source of omega 3s for anyone. A 1 ounce serving of walnuts with just 183 calories have 2.5 grams of omega 3 fatty acids. Eat up.
If I was to choose one it would be pistachios as they have the least amount of calories at 158 calories per ounce serving.
Best nuts for health
The best nuts for overall health have to be walnuts. They have terrific heart healthy fats, they taste great and they are modest in calories for a nut. They only have 2 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein, but most of us need to worry about getting enough omega 3s more than we need to worry about getting enough protein.
Yes, we need to get more fiber too, but even if you ate nothing but walnuts for your 2,000 calorie diet, you’d still get about 25 grams of fiber which is a lot better than most Americans are getting right now.
I thought I should add a best nuts category. An overall champion if you will. This is a somewhat subjective selection, but my award to the best nut goes to Brazil nuts.
Just one Brazil nut gives you your daily requirements for selenium and we could all use that. Plus Brazils have 2 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein, plus they offer quite a bit of additional minerals. A close second goes to cashew nuts because they are just so gosh darn tasty and cute. Plus they have a good chunk of protein at 5 grams per ounce.
All nuts are good for you. I don’t want you going away because the nut you were rooting for didn’t get picked. Nuts are a great part of your diet and offer protein, good healthy fats, fiber and an assortment of minerals. This goes for all nuts across the board. The above was just to help you choose a nut to start eating regularly if you were looking. If you already have a fav nut, enjoy them, daily, just keep it at one third of a cup or less.