Nuts provide numerous health benefits, but some are better than other in terms of calories, fat content, protein, fiber, calcium and other minerals. The ten best and most nutritious nuts for a standard serving of 30 g (1 oz) are listed in order.
Most nuts are edible seed kernels encased in a hard shell. Most are nutrient dense, rich in calories and natural fats. Common varieties include cashews, pine nuts, pecans, macadamias, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios and Brazil nuts. Chestnuts (Castanea sativa) are a tree nuts, but differ they have a different form from other common varieties , having a high starch content and lower amounts of fat. Often considered as a ‘nut,’ peanuts are technically not a seed but a legume, related to peas and beans.
A 30g serving of almonds provides:
Almonds have a sweet taste and their crunchy texture, especially when roasted, adds to their appeal. They have relatively low calories and fat. They are relatively rich in fiber, monounsaturated fat and vitamin E. Almonds have the highest calcium content of any of the top ten nuts. Leaving the skin on almonds when they are eaten boosts the benefits as the skin is rich in flavonoids, fiber and many other antioxidants.
A 30g serving of Brazil nuts provides:
Brazil nuts - Grown on a tree endemic to the Amazon, Brazil nuts are a rich sources for the mineral, selenium, which is an antioxidant, boosting immunity and wound healing. These tasty nuts also contain the polyphenols ellagic and gallic acid and also vitamin E. Brazil nuts are also relatively low in calories and high in Calcium.
A 30g serving of cashew nuts provides:
Cashews - Various medical studies suggest that cashews may help reduce blood pressure and lower blood lipid levels. They have less calories, less fat and more protein than other nuts. They are also a good source of minerals like iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc.
A 30g serving of raw chestnuts provides:
Chestnuts are a versatile ingredient that should be used more widely due to their healthy properties, Chestnuts are low in calories and fat, and contain an array of protective antioxidants. Chestnuts are also rich in starch and fibre, and are a great source of vitamin C. They have less protein than other nuts and so are less suitable than other nuts for vegan diets.
A 30g serving of hazelnuts provides:
Hazelnuts are a rich source of potassium, folate and vitamin E. Most of the fat is in the heart-friendly mono-unsaturated form. They have moderate levels of protein.
A 30g serving of macadamia provides:
Macadamia nuts have a relatively high fat content compared with other nuts and should be used sparingly, They also have relatively high in calories. They are very versatile and are suitable for both sweet and savory dishes. Macadamia nuts are a good source of fibre and a variety of minerals including calcium, magnesium and potassium.
A 30g serving of pecans provides:
Pecans are creamy and sweet and are very popular in desserts and various sweet bakes. They can replace the more oily walnuts in many dishes. Pecans are rich in a variety of antioxidants, and oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fat, which is renowned for the same healthy heart benefits of olives and avocado.
A 30g serving of pine nuts provides:
Pine nuts are a key ingredients in classic pesto recipes. They are also added to salads, dips and pasta to add depth to the flavor. They are rich in vitamin E and polyphenol.. They are a good source of Vitamins E and B3, and also minerals such as magnesium and potassium.
A 30g serving of pistachio provides:
Pistachios are a popular snack food and are used in many desserts and puddings. Pistachios have less fat and a lower calorie content than most other nuts. They are also a rich source of potassium and phytosterols, which benefits the heart. They are also a good source of antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin.
A 30g serving of walnuts provide:
Walnuts, like most nuts have moderate fats level. But the fats in walnuts are predominantly polyunsaturated fats. Walnuts have the high content of the short chain omega-3 essential fatty acids such as alpha lipoic acid. Walnuts are also a rich source of antioxidants.