Select Page

Almost everyone know that nuts are good for health. But less people know that sometimes they could turned to be very Harmful for you as well.

Eating variety of nuts provide many healthy vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates, fibers and proteins.

Let’s discuss them one by one in detail here in this article.

 

Nuts

Nuts are a very popular food and are very healthy snack options despite of being full of fat.

Fats in nuts are monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats like omega-3 and omega-6. They also contain some saturated fats as well.

Nuts contain proteins and fibers. They can reduce your weight by increasing your metabolism rate.

 

Health Benefits of Nuts

Nut have a number of vitamins and minerals including magnesium and Vitamin E.

According to the meta-analysis of clinical trials published by PubMed, Clinical Trials and Oxford Academia Journal for Nutrition, taking nuts in diets do not affect weight gain or weight loss.

Studies have also shown that people eating nuts regularly live longer than those who don’t. This may be their ability to help prevent a number of chronic disease. [Published in PubMed 1, 2, 3, 4]

Metabolic syndromes like high cholesterol level, high blood sugar and high blood pressure risks can be reduced by eating nuts. [PubMed Research 1234]

Nuts can reduce the risk of cancer and hypertension while improve glycemic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes. [Published research in PubMed 1, 2]

 

What Are Nuts?

According to the Wikipedia article about nuts

“A nut is a fruit composed of an inedible hard shell and a seed, which is generally edible. In general usage, a wide variety of dried seeds are called nuts, but in a botanical context “nut” implies that the shell does not open to release the seed.”

But don’t worry, you can buy “pre-shelled” nuts from stores.

 

Let’s take a look at the most commonly used nuts.

 

Almonds

Almonds are the most popular tree nuts, having a lot of beneficial nutrients. [1]

Almonds have been found to reduce inflammation in people with type 2 diabetes. [2]

One ounce (approximately 28 grams) or small handful of almonds contains roughly:

  • Calories: 161
  • Fat: 14 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 3.5 grams
  • Magnesium: 19% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin E: 37% of the RDI

 

Study have found that Almonds and almond-skin have beneficial effects on your intestinal microbiota profile and a modification of the intestinal bacterial activities by supporting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. [3]

Almonds can help to improve cholesterol level.

According to studies published on PubMed [4, 5, 6, 7], it can reduce LDL cholesterol and oxidized LDL cholesterol levels, as these are one of the main factor of heart diseases.

Although, almonds consumption by overweight and obese people in a restricted low-calorie diet help in weight loss also lower the blood pressure. [PubMed Research 8, 9]

Eating one ounce (28 grams) of almonds with meal can reduce about 30% of rise in blood sugar in people with diabetes. [PubMed Research 10]

In many controlled studies almonds have shown weight loss rather than weight gain.

In one study (of 108 overweight obese women), those who consumed almonds lost nearly three times as much weight and experienced greater decrease in waist size compared to those eating no almonds. [PubMed Research 11]

Studies have shown that during digestion a portion of fat stays within the nut’s fibrous wall. That’s why despite high in calories count, your body doesn’t absorb all of them. [PubMed Research 12, 13, 14]

From all these studies it is certain that almonds contain a number of important nutrients that may help reduce heart disease, diabetes risk factors and weight loss. However, despite these studies larger studies are needed to confirm these effects.

 

Walnuts

Walnuts are much popular nuts and are an excellent source of the omega-3, omega-6 and polyunsaturated fatty acids. [1]

They look like a brain structure.

They are Rich in antioxidants.

A one-ounce (28 grams) serving of walnuts contains roughly:

  • Calories: 182
  • Fat: 18 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 4 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Magnesium: 1% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin E: 11% of the RDI

 

Number of large studies found that walnuts can significantly reduce bad cholesterol level. And helps increase the good cholesterol level. [PubMed Research 2, 3, 4]

Nuts can help in lowering heart disease risks also preventing stroke risk. That is because of their benefits for cholesterol levels, artery function, LDL particle size and inflammation. [PubMed Research 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]

They may help to improve blood pressure and flow of blood through circulatory system. [Published in PubMed 13, 14]

Walnuts are also helpful in losing weight.

Walnuts helps in reducing inflammation. [PubMed Research 15]

Study shows that walnuts are very effective for improving brain. They increase a measure of cognition called “inferential reasoning”. [Published in PubMed 16]

Studies shows that walnuts may be helpful to prevent different types of cancer that includes breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. [Published in PubMed 17, 18, 19]

So it is now certain that walnuts are a great source of the omega-3 and many other nutrients. Eating walnuts may benefit your heart health and your brain.

 

Pistachios

Pistachios are common nuts and are high in fiber. [1]

Like almonds, pistachios may improve good cholesterol level like HDL cholesterol, also they may reduce coronary heart disease. [Published in PubMed 2]

What is coronary heart disease?

Well, according to “U.S National Heart, Lung and Blood institute” coronary heart disease (CHD) is a disease in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. These (arteries) are responsible to supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle. [NLH 3]

Building up of plaque in arteries is called atherosclerosis and it is done over many years.

A one ounce (28 grams) pistachios contains roughly:

  • Calories: 156
  • Fat: 12.5 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 8 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Magnesium: 8% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin E: 3% of the RDI

 

Study shows that pistachios may help to lower triglycerides in obese people. [PubMed research 4, 5]

Pistachios may help to reduce blood sugar level rise that happens after meal. [PubMed research 6]

They are a good source of dietary fiber, which makes you feel full and satisfied for a longer period.

The fibers send signals to the brain to prevent you from overeating.

Pistachios may also be helpful in heart disease risk factors like blood pressure, oxidative status and weight.

So what is oxidative status?

Oxidative status refers to blood levels of oxidized chemicals, which can play a part in heart disease. [PubMed Research 7, 8, 9, 10]

From all these studies we can say pistachios when eaten in high quantity of more than one ounce (28 grams) per day may have beneficial effects to heart disease risk factors.

 

Cashews

Cashews are also in tree nut family having a good number of nutrients. [1]

They have a creamy texture that makes them a great addition to many dishes and snacks.

In, one-ounce (28 grams) of cashews contains roughly about:

 

  • Calories: 155
  • Fat: 12 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 9 grams
  • Fiber: 1 grams
  • Magnesium: 20% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin E: 1% of the RDI

 

Number of studies have discovered that diets enriched with high amount of cashews can improve symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

Now you may have a question, don’t you? What is a metabolic syndrome? Right?

Well, according to Wikipedia “Metabolic syndrome is a clustering of at least three of the five medical conditions that includes central obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high serum triglycerides and low serum HDL (High-density lipoprotein).”

It has been discovered in a study which involved 62 subjects with MS that Cashews enriched diet improved the blood pressure in people that has metabolic syndrome. [PubMed Research 2]

Studies shows that diets high in cashews may increase blood sugar in people with a metabolic syndrome. [PubMed Research 3, 4]

Another study (of 64 volunteers) discovered that cashews increased the antioxidant potential of the diet. [PubMed Research 5]

Although, one large study (of 300 adults) observed that a diet enriched with cashews reduced blood pressure and increased levels of (good) HDL cholesterol; however, it has no significant effects on body weight or blood sugar levels. [PubMed Research 6]

From all these studies we can say that cashews contain a number of important nutrients which may improve blood lipid levels and reduce blood pressure.

 

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts contain a wide range of nutrients and are a great source of monounsaturated fat. [1]

Due to their high content of monounsaturated fat, many health benefits of macadamia nuts are related to heart health.

In, one-ounce (28 grams) of macadamia nuts contains roughly about:

  • Calories: 200
  • Fat: 21 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 4 grams
  • Fiber: 2.5 grams
  • Magnesium: 9% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin E: 1% of the RDI

 

It has been discovered that diet enriched with macadamia nuts produces effects similar to a heart healthy diet recommended by American Heart Association. [PubMed Research 2]

Many studies have been discovered that diets rich in macadamia nuts lower cholesterol level of both total cholesterol and (bad) LDL cholesterol in people which have high cholesterol levels. [PubMed Research 3]

They may be helpful in reducing other heart disease risk factors, including inflammation and oxidative stress. [PubMed Research 4]

In short macadamia nuts are rich in monounsaturated fat that may reduce risk factors of heart disease.

 

Pecans

Pecans are often served in desserts, but they are high nutritious on their own. [1]

Like other nuts pecans are also antioxidant.

In, one-ounce (28 grams) of pecans contains roughly about:

  • Calories: 193
  • Fat: 20 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 4 grams
  • Fiber: 2.5 grams
  • Magnesium: 8% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin E: 2% of the RDI

 

Studies have shown that in people with normal cholesterol levels pecans can lower (bad) LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. [2, 3]

In one study of four-week long, people who ate pecans as 20% of their daily calories intake showed that antioxidant profiles in their blood improved.

Pecans may help to prevent skin damaging by removing toxins and waste from your body.

Pecans helps improve brain function. They are also known as brain food.

In, short we can say that as pecans contains a variety of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants so it may help lower the (bad) LDL cholesterol.

 

Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are also from tree nuts family they are originated from a tree in the Amazon and are an amazingly rich source of selenium. [1]

Selenium is a mineral and antioxidant needed for a healthy immune system. It helps to prevent our nerves and cells from damage.

Although it is used for a number of bodily functions, you only need to obtain small amounts of it through your diet.

In, one-ounce (28 grams) of Brazil nuts contains roughly about:

  • Calories: 182
  • Fat: 18 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 3 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Magnesium: 26% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin E: 8% of the RDI

 

A one-ounce serving of Brazil nuts will provide more than 100% of the RDI for selenium.

Selenium deficiency is rare and usually occurs in certain disease states.

Like for example, one study discovered that people undergoing hemodialysis for kidney disease were selenium deficient. When these affected people ate just one Brazil nut daily for three months, their blood selenium levels returned to normal, and improved their antioxidant status. [PubMed Research 2]

As these nuts are rich with selenium it helps in improving your mood related disorders which includes anxiety, fatigue, and depression. [PubMed Research 3]

But don’t take too many Brazil Nuts, or take it while eating selenium supplement as it will lead to selenosis. A condition in which hair loss, nail loss and skin loss occurs. So best not to take too many.

Brazil nuts can also be helpful in reducing cholesterol levels. They may also helpful in reducing oxidative stress and improve the function of blood vessels in obese teenagers. [PubMed Research 4, 5]

Brazil nuts may reduce inflammation both in healthy people and those undergoing hemodialysis and can also increase antioxidant defenses in hemodialysis patients. [PubMed Research 6, 7]

From all these studies it is clear that Brazil nuts are rich with selenium which helps to improve mood, protects nerves and cells, reducing oxidative stress and improving function of blood vessels and reducing inflammation.

 

Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts have a distinctive flavor which makes them a favorite in sweet foods.

They are also tree nuts.

Hazelnuts are incredibly nutritious. [1]

Like many other nuts, hazelnuts have also very beneficial effects on heart disease risk factors.

In, one-ounce (28 grams) of Hazelnuts contains roughly about:

  • Calories: 176
  • Fat: 9 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 3.5 grams
  • Magnesium: 20% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin E: 37% of the RDI

 

One study discovered that a hazelnut enriched diet reduced total cholesterol, (bad) LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and high density lipoprotein cholesterol compared with none hazelnuts enriched diet. [PubMed Research 2]

Hazelnuts enriched diets also improved blood vessel function, and it lowered markers of inflammation. [PubMed Research 3]

Other study (of 15 volunteer men) on hazelnuts enriched diet shown that it can improve cholesterol levels and increase the amount of vitamin E in the blood. [PubMed Research 4, 5]

Hazelnuts can help in managing diabetes. As, they are rich with magnesium which helps in decreasing risk for diabetes. [PubMed Research 6]

Studies shows that Hazelnuts can improve memory, hinder anxiety, and healthy aging. In, older adults it improves slow brain related degenerative. [PubMed Research 7, 8]

So from all these studies it is clear that Hazelnuts can help to prevent heart related risks, improving brain, lowering bad cholesterol levels, lowering marker of inflammation, increases amount of vitamin E in blood and decreasing risk for diabetes.

 

Peanuts

Eating peanuts is an excellent way to boost the amount of protein in your diet. Peanuts are easily and widely available and provide several essential nutrients.

Unlike other nuts, peanuts are not tree nuts, but belong to the legume family.

Legume means they belong to a group of foods from a specific plant family, they grow under the soil. Most people consider them as nuts.

However, they have similar nutrient profiles and health benefits as of tree nuts. [1]

Peanuts contain a range of polyphenols, flavonoids, antioxidants and amino acids.

In, one-ounce (28 grams) of dry-roasted peanuts contains roughly about:

  • Calories: 176
  • Fat: 17 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 5 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Magnesium: 11% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin E: 21% of the RDI

 

A study of a huge amount of participants over 120,000 people found that higher amount of peanut intake was associated with lowered death rates. [PubMed Research 2]

Like other nuts peanuts may also improve heart disease risk factors. [PubMed Research 3]

Peanuts also helps in lowering rate of type 2 diabetes. For example, a study found that women who ate peanut butter more than five times a week had lower rates of type 2 diabetes. [PubMed Research 4]

Like other nuts peanuts also help in maintaining weight rather than gain it. Study shows that it helps in weight loss and reduce the risk of obesity. [PubMed Research 5, 6, 7, 8]

Eating Peanuts may help prevent or cut the risk of gallstone disease. [PubMed Research 9, 10]

As peanuts have cholesterol lowering effects that is why they are much useful for gallstones, as gallstones are mostly made of cholesterol. [PubMed Research 11]

Despite their many benefits peanuts are also allergen. Peanut allergies sometimes may be severe or even life-threatening, that is why they are sometimes considered as severe allergen. [PubMed Research 12]

Peanuts may be helpful in lowering asthma and allergic disease rates in children of mothers who ate peanuts once or more per week during the pregnancy. [PubMed Research 13]

From all these studies it is clear that peanuts can lower death rates, improves heart disease risk factor, lowering rate of type 2 diabetes, weight loss, lowering asthma, and preventing gallstone disease risks.

 

When to see a doctor?

In most cases, nuts are safe and healthful addition to the diet. But they should be taken in balanced as nuts are calorie dense.

Anyone experiences digestive problems from eating nuts may want to see a doctor. They may be intolerance or be sensitive to specific components of nuts.

Nuts are common allergen and it is possible for people develop an allergy while eating nuts that they did not have before. Severe nut allergies can sometimes be fatal.

Anyone having an allergic reaction such as itching in the throat or face or swelling, should stop eating nuts and get urgent medical care.

 

 

[Please note: I’ll update the post with new and updated contents in coming future. Please let me know, if you wish to research and include something else as well]