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Are nuts good for you? Which kinds?

The Best Nuts

Walnuts and Almonds both have good fats in the form of omega 3 fatty acids. These fats are the ones found in fish and can decrease inflammation, while improving cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that both walnuts & almonds can increase levels of good cholesterol (HDL) while lowering bad cholesterol (LDL).
(One ounce of Walnuts = 14 halves 185 calories, 4 g protein, 19 g fat)
(One ounce of Almonds = 23 nuts 163 calories, 6 g protein, 14 g fat)

Pistachios are high in lutein, an antioxidant that's been shown to protect our eyes from macular degeneration. These little green nuts have also demonstrated the ability to drop total cholesterol levels.
(One ounce = 49 pistachios 158 calories, 6 g protein, 13 g fat)

Pecan have antioxidants that have been shown to prevent LDL from building up in the arteries and have lowered total cholesterol levels. Compared with other nuts, pecans have one of the highest levels of phytosterols, a group of plant chemicals that may help protect against cardiovascular disease.
(One ounce = 19 halves 196 calories, 3 g protein, 20 g fat)

Hazelnuts have a good amount of folate, a B-Vitamin that can lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and depression. Folate is especially important for women who are planning on getting pregnant as it is needed to prevent birth defects.
(One ounce = 21 nuts 178 calories, 4 g protein, 17 g fat)

Information you should know

Stay away from pre-packaged nut mixes. They are usually coated in salt & oil. Ideally, you would buy raw nuts and toast them in the oven or on the stove top to bring out their flavor.

Brazil nuts, macadamias, and cashews have relatively high levels of saturated fats, which over time can clog arteries and lead to heart disease. Having said that, they too are tasty and have benefits as well. Brazil nuts contain the highest amount of selenium of any foods. This mineral is an important antioxidant that helps to eliminate free radicals. Macadamias are high in thiamine - another important B-Vitamin. Cashews are rich in the following minerals: copper, magnesium & zinc, which are all important for the body and the immune system.

My advice: Eat nuts with saturated fat sparingly, especially if you have high cholesterol or have a family history of it.

Interesting Facts

Did you know that peanuts are technically not nuts. They are considered legumes and belong to the same family as beans and peas.

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