They hold a hard, inedible outer shell that normally needs to be cracked open to release the kernel inside. Luckily, you can buy most nuts from the market already shelled and ready to eat.

Here are some of the most generally consumed nuts:

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts

Although peanuts are technically legumes like peas and beans, they’re normally referred to as nuts due to their related nutrition profile and characteristics.

Health Benefits of Nuts

1. An Excellent Source of Many Nutrients

Nuts are extremely nutritious. One ounce (28 grams) of mixed nuts includes :

  • Calories: 173
  • Copper: 23% of the RDI
  • Fat: 16 grams, including 9 grams of monounsaturated fat
  • Carbs: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Vitamin E: 12% of the RDI
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Phosphorus: 13% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 16% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 26% of the RDI
  • Selenium: 56% of the RDI

Some of these nuts are higher in several nutrients than others. For example, just one Brazil nut gives more than 100% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for selenium.

This carb content of nuts is extremely variable. Hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, and Brazil nuts have less than 2 grams of digestible carbs per serving, while cashews have almost 8 digestible carbs per serving. That being said, nuts are usually great food to eat on a low-carb diet.

2. Loaded With Antioxidants

Nuts contain antioxidants. The polyphenols in nuts can combat oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals volatile molecules that may cause cell damage and improve disease risk.

One research found that walnuts have a higher capacity to fight free radicals than fish. Study shows that the antioxidants in walnuts and almonds can protect the delicate fats in your cells from being destroyed by oxidation.

In one research in 13 people, eating walnuts or almonds enhanced polyphenol levels and significantly decreased oxidative damage, compared to a control meal.

A different study found that 2–8 hours after eating whole pecans, participants encountered a 26–33% drop in their levels of oxidized “bad” LDL cholesterol, a major risk factor for heart disease.

Still, studies in older people and individuals with metabolic syndrome discovered that walnuts and cashews didn’t have a big influence on antioxidant capacity, though some other markers improved.

3. May Aid Weight Loss

Although they’re regarded a high-calorie food, research suggests that nuts may help you lose weight.

One large research evaluating the effects of the Mediterranean diet discovered that people assigned to eat nuts lost an average of 2 inches (5 cm) from their waists — significantly more than those given olive oil.

Almonds have consistently been shown to improve weight loss rather than weight gain in controlled studies. Some study recommends that pistachios aid weight loss as well.

In one research in overweight women, those eating almonds lost almost three times as much weight and encountered a significantly greater reduction in waist size compared to the control group.

Even though nuts are very high in calories, the study reveals that your body doesn’t absorb all of them, as a portion of fat stays caught within the nut’s fibrous wall during digestion.

For example, while the nutrition facts on a package of almonds may show that a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving has 160–170 calories, the body only absorbs about 129 of these calories.

Furthermore, recent studies discovered that your body absorbs about 21% and 5% fewer calories from walnuts and pistachios, each than had earlier been reported.

4. May Lower Cholesterol and Triglycerides

Nuts have powerful effects on cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Pistachios have been revealed to lower triglycerides in people who are obese and those with diabetes.

In one 12-week study in obese people, those eating pistachios had triglyceride levels approximately 33% lower than in the control group.

The cholesterol-lowering ability of nuts may be due to their great content of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Almonds and hazelnuts seem to raise “good” HDL cholesterol while decreasing total and “bad” LDL cholesterol. One research discovered that ground, sliced, or whole hazelnuts had similar useful effects on cholesterol levels.

A different study in women with metabolic syndrome noted that eating a 1-ounce (30-gram) mix of walnuts, peanuts, and pine nuts per day for 6 weeks significantly lowered all types of cholesterol — except “good” HDL.

Many studies confirm that macadamia nuts lower cholesterol levels as well. In one trial, a balanced-fat diet including macadamia nuts reduced cholesterol as much as a lower-fat diet.

Metabolic syndrome applies to a group of risk factors that may raise your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Hence, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome are completely connected.

Nuts may be one of the healthiest foods for people with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Firstly, they’re low in carbs and don’t increase blood sugar levels much. Therefore, replacing nuts for higher-carb foods should lead to reduced blood sugar levels.

Researches recommend that eating nuts may further lower oxidative stress, blood pressure, and other health markers in people with diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

In a 12-week study, people with metabolic syndrome who consumed just under 1 ounce (25 grams) of pistachios twice per day encountered a 9% reduction in fasting blood sugar, on average. Compared to the control group, the pistachio group had higher decreases in blood pressure and C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation linked to heart disease.

6. May Reduce Inflammation

Nuts have powerful anti-inflammatory characteristics. Inflammation is your body’s way of protecting itself from injury, bacteria, and other possibly harmful pathogens.

Notwithstanding, chronic, long-term inflammation can cause harm to organs and improve disease risk. Study recommends that consuming nuts may decrease inflammation and improve healthy aging.

In research on the Mediterranean diet, people whose nutrition was supplemented with nuts encountered a 35% and 90% decrease in the inflammatory markers C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin 6 (IL-6).

Furthermore, some nuts including pistachios, Brazil nuts, walnuts, and almonds have been seen to fight inflammation in healthy people and those with severe conditions like diabetes and kidney disease.

Additionally, one study on almond consumption in healthy adults noted little difference between the almond and control groups though a few inflammatory markers decreased in those eating almonds.

7. High in Beneficial Fiber

Fiber gives many health bonuses. While the body can’t digest fiber, the bacteria that live in your colon can. Many types of fiber function as prebiotics or food for your healthy gut bacteria.

Your gut bacteria then ferment the fiber and turn it into beneficial short-chain fatty acids.

These SCFAs have great benefits, including promoting gut health and reducing your risk of diabetes and obesity.

Fiber aids you feel full and decreases the number of calories you absorb from meals. One study recommends that increasing fiber intake from 18 to 36 grams daily may result in up to 130 fewer calories absorbed.

Here are the nuts with the highest fiber content per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving:

  • Almonds: 3.5 grams
  • Brazil nuts: 2.1 grams
  • Hazelnuts: 2.9 grams
  • Pistachios: 2.9 grams
  • Pecans: 2.9 grams
  • Peanuts: 2.6 grams
  • Macadamias: 2.4 grams

8. May Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

Nuts are greatly good for your heart. Some studies recommend that nuts help lower heart disease and stroke risk due to their benefits for cholesterol levels, “bad” LDL particle size, artery function, and inflammation studies discovered that small, dense LDL particles may improve heart disease risk more than larger LDL particles

One study on the Mediterranean diet discovered that people who ate nuts had a notable decline in small LDL particles and an increase in large LDL particles, as well as “good” HDL cholesterol levels.

In different studies, people with average or high cholesterol were randomly assigned to eat either olive oil or nuts with a high-fat meal.

People in the nut group had more normal artery function and lower dieting triglycerides than the olive oil group — regardless of their initial cholesterol levels.