I go nuts for nuts! Was that too cheesy? Sorry but if you guys could see how many different types of nuts I have in my pantry right now, you would understand. When I talk to people about healthy eating habits I always mention nuts as a source of healthy fats and plant based protein. Not only are they the perfect snack, nuts are packed with nutrients that will energize you and help your body get its essential vitamins and minerals. I always recommend that people swap out their chocolates, candies, or even pre-workout drinks for a handful of mixed nuts. I made a list of the six nuts I recommend people trying to build strong healthy eating habits eat more of!
Need I say more? Seriously almonds are too good! They're already overrated when it comes to nuts but honestly they should be. The best part is, there are so many different ways to enjoy the benefits and delicious flavor of almonds. You could have a handful before the gym, enjoy a cold glass of almond milk in the morning, or you could spread some organic almond butter on a piece of whole wheat bread as a protein packed post workout snack.
Almonds have essential vitamins and minerals that keep your body healthy and strong. They are especially great for kids. Almonds have phosphorus, which significantly improves bone health and strength. Moreover the riboflavin and L-cartnitine found in almonds are wonderful for brain development. Almonds have been linked with boosting and increasing brain activity and intelligence, especially in children at a young age.
Also, like most nuts in this list, almonds are great energy boosters and they increase metabolic rate, which makes these delicious nuts the perfect weight loss snack. I try to eat 15 almonds in the morning with a bowl of rolled oats and some fruit.
My grandmother used to always joke that since walnuts look like brains they are good for our brains too. I remember picking them from the trees in her backyard and cracking them open with rocks. My sisters and I would always argue whether they tasted better with the skin on or off. Of course now I recommend keeping the skin on to maximize the amazing health benefits.
Like almonds, walnuts are great for bone health, energy, and metabolic activity. Walnuts increase the absorption of calcium in the body and prevent too much of it from being expelled. This amazing nut is also packed with minerals like potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc, which are great for improving the body’s natural metabolism. A lot of people I talk to are afraid of walnuts because of their high calorie and fat content. However, walnuts will do you more good than harm and because of their healthy fats, amino acids, and other nutrients they make a great weight management snack. Of course everything should be enjoyed in moderation.
I don’t want to go too off topic but walnuts are also good for your skin. They have plenty of vitamin E, which is a great antioxidant that naturally protects the skin. My sister makes homemade organic soaps and she has an entire line that incorporates walnut oil and chunks of walnuts. I’m not going to lie, I have some in my shower right now.
3. Brazil Nuts
I’ve always enjoyed the taste of these bulky nuts, so I always have plenty in my pantry, even when I lived in Boulder. Brazil nuts have the highest amount of selenium compared to all other nuts. This is really great because it allows for the body to properly absorb iodine.
In small amounts selenium can be very beneficial. It has skin care properties as well as improves natural hormone functions, which can help in weight loss. The addition of vitamin C and zinc with selenium make a terrific immune booster as well. However, large built up of selenium can lead to toxic levels in the body which can be dangerous.
Most nuts I recommend eating handfuls of but when it comes to Brazil nuts, too much of a good thing can be harmful. Be sure to have no more than two or three of these nuts in a day. Otherwise reap the health benefits of this creamy and nutty snack from the few that you enjoy.
4. Macadamia Nuts
I usually mess up when I try pronouncing macadamia. Does anyone else keep saying “macadamian nut”? Anyway, its macadamia and it’s delicious! This is one of my favorite nuts especially with just a little bit of sea salt. Macadamia nuts are so creamy and filling they are little delicious treats to be enjoyed in handfuls! Although you should be careful, these little guys pack some heavy calories.
Like most nuts, macadamia nuts are great for heart health and weight loss. Macadamias are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, which reduce cholesterol levels and keep the arteries healthy. Because of their strong umami flavor, macadamia nuts are great for satiating the body and curbing the appetite. In fact, this goes for most nuts so avoid sugary treats entirely and snack on a handful of nuts whenever your craving something you know you’re going to regret later.
Macadamia nuts have plenty of magnesium and phosphorus as well, keeping your bones strong and healthy. These properties as well as other vitamins and minerals also strengthen hair and nail growth. I prefer walnuts to macadamia when it comes to high calorie nuts but it’s always good to shake things up so the mind stays healthy and your body doesn't think it’s being deprived of anything.
These are probably the most fun to eat out of all the nuts in the list. I make sure to buy pistachios in their little shells because I think it tastes better that way but also I just love sitting down to watch a movie with my husband and pinch open a few of these little guys. They are so pretty too! The green and purple color makes them so beautiful, I try incorporating some into my salads or even sprinkle some crumbled up pistachios on lamb chops or lean steak.
Pistachios are full of good carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, and amino acids. They are a rich source of vitamins and minerals so not only are they fun and pretty but also amazingly good for you! Pistachios are an excellent source of free radical fighting antioxidants. In fact there are even antioxidants found in the shell, of course I don't recommend you try those. These little guys are unique in that they contain copper, which helps in iron absorption.
Pistachios are also great for weight management and they can lower “bad” cholesterol. The list goes on but seriously it’s the same for all nuts in this list! Try them all out and make a mix of your favorites to enjoy throughout the day, before or after the gym, and of course as snacks during parties or gatherings.
These are my son’s favorite! He will eat so many at a time I begin to wonder how he still has room for dinner. Sometimes I’ll try and make healthy sugar free cashew cookies or add them to salads to make it more interesting for him but he still prefers them roasted with no salt.
I guess being addicted to something healthy isn’t all that bad. Apart from being delicious, cashews are also very healthy. Cashews are like the sunglasses of the food world. They have an antioxidant pigment called Zea Xanthin, which is absorbed by the retina to create a protective layer against the suns harmful UV rays. Of course this doesn't mean your eyes are invincible so you should still wear sunglasses when going out. Cashews are also packed with Omega-3, which gives the body a natural metabolic boost making loosing weight easier.
My favorite way to eat cashews is by biting them from the separation line so they look like two little moons. Of course you can add them to your salads or eat some creamy and delicious cashew butter.
You probably noticed I left out everyone’s favorite peanuts. Well, peanuts aren’t actually nuts, they are legumes. More importantly a lot of peanuts come from contaminated sources full of harmful pesticides. As a note, you should always try to eat ingredients grown organically without the use of pesticides or harmful chemicals. Incorporating nuts into your diet is one of the best ways to form and maintain strong eating habits, especially if you’re looking to loose weight. These little guys have so many great health benefits; it would be a crime not to enjoy them. So whatever your favorite nut is, remember to have plenty of it during the day, as long as it’s not Brazil nut.