Health Benefits and Nutritional Info Relating to Nuts

Our guide to the benefits of nuts, the latest good-for-you superfood



From peanut butter to walnuts, we Americans love our nuts. But, for too long, we believed they were as bad for us as everything else that’s delicious. Good news, Westchester: Nuts are filled with molecular goodies that far outweigh the risks when eaten in moderation. In addition to vitamins and minerals, nuts are packed with unsaturated fats that lower cholesterol and tame inflammation and cardiovascular risk. Plus, their high fiber and protein contents can fill you up and keep you full (and on your diet!) longer than protein-lite veggies like lettuce or asparagus. Here, we present your ultimate guide to the health benefits of nuts.

THE  HEALTHIEST NUT
Walnuts: (Calories: 183; fat: 18 g; protein: 4 g)
Ilyse Schapiro, a Harrison-based nutritionist, points out that the omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts—her vote for the healthiest nut, along with almonds—decrease inflammation and lower risks for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

THE DIET MAKER
Pine nuts: (Calories: 188; fat: 19 g; protein: 4 g)
These are high in pinolenic acid, which may help curb appetite.

THE LOW-CAL FILLER
Pistachios: (Calories: 160; fat: 13 g; protein 6 g)
Less calorie-dense than their cousins, pistachios have many of the same minerals as peanuts, including copper and manganese, and vitamins B1 and B6 (which are essential for cell metabolism). They also have “twice the fiber as walnuts,” Schapiro says, so they’ll help you feel even fuller.

THE ALLERGY TAMER
Hazelnuts: (Calories: 170; fat: 15 g; protein: 5 g)
According to Schapiro, hazelnuts contain phytochemicals that improve circulation and help control allergies. They also contain folic acid (which is crucial for everyone, but especially pregnant women), potassium, and calcium. Nutella, anyone?
THE RAY OF SUNSHINE
Macadamia: (Calories: 203; fat: 21.4 g; protein: 2.2 g)
This tropical nut, filled with selenium (an antioxidant), has no cholesterol, gives you lots of vitamin D (without the UV-rays), and tastes like a piña colada on the beach.

THE RED WINE NUT
Peanuts: (Calories: 160; fat: 13.9 g; protein: 7.3 g)
America’s best-loved nut is also one of nature’s best sources of resveratrol, the en vogue antioxidant/anti-inflammatory also found in red grape skin. The substance supposedly lowers cholesterol, controls body fat, and decreases risk of heart disease. Schapiro adds that peanuts are “as high in antioxidants as blackberries and strawberries” and decrease the risk of stroke and colon cancer. (Delicious alert: Roasting actually raises the levels of these antioxidants.)


THE BRAIN SAVER
Pecans: (Calories: 196; fat: 20.4 g; protein: 2.6 g)
The filling in your favorite pie is high in vitamin E, which may slow the degeneration of neurons due to aging.

THE BONE BUILDER
Cashews: (Calories: 156; fat: 12.4 g; protein: 5.2 g)
Nutritionist Schapiro points out that cashews are lower in fat than most nuts while still being high in the magnesium that helps build strong bones and relax muscles. Its zeaxanthin is also said to be beneficial to eye health.

THE CHOLESTEROL BUSTER
Almonds: (Calories: 161; fat: 14 g; protein: 6 g)
The polyunsaturated fats in almonds actually help lower cholesterol, and their oil is an emollient that helps keep skin smooth and protect it from dryness. Almonds are also rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that can lower the risk of cancer.