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Comparing Nuts and Their Health Benefits

For a long time, it was believed that nuts were bad for you due their high calorie density and high fat content. However, studies over recent years have proven that nuts are in fact a great source of healthy fats, protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. (1) Consuming the recommended 30g of nuts per day can also result in several health benefits including: lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, reducing heart disease risk and type 2 diabetes. (1)

As most nuts are rich in protein and high in fibre, they not only make a great on-the-go snack but can aid weight-loss through satiety when eaten in moderation. What are the best nuts for weight loss? According to available evidence, long-term nut consumption in moderation is strongly associated with lower rates of weight gain and obesity. (1) Walnuts in particular are associated with significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes and show favourable effects on lowering ‘bad’ cholesterol and blood pressure, mediated through weight loss. (1, 2) Walnuts are not only packed with protein and fibre, but they contain the highest amount of Omega-6 fatty acids of all nuts. Health benefits of nuts: Almonds contain the greatest calcium content of all nuts and are very high in protein, fibre, vitamin E and magnesium. Almonds can assist in lowering cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and can also help protect against diabetes. (3) Cashew are a great source of plant-based iron, magnesium and potassium with a low glycaemic index. Cashews promote strong bones and a healthy heart and are also great for your hair, skin and nails. (4) Walnuts are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Walnuts are great for your heart and brain and can aid in reducing the risk of age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s. (2) Hazelnuts contain the greatest amount of fibre and are rich in calcium, potassium, folate and B and E vitamins. Hazelnuts are good for your heart health and can aid in bone, skin, muscle and digestive health. Versatility: If eating nuts on their own doesn’t appeal to you, try getting your daily intake by eating all-natural nut butters (peanut, cashew, walnut and brazil nut) on a slice of wholemeal toast or even on some sliced carrot, celery or apple. Chopped/flaked nuts also make a great addition to any salad or smoothie or you can try sprinkling them on top of your oatmeal or yoghurt. References:

  1. Jackson, C. L., & Hu, F. B. (2014). Long-term associations of nut consumption with body weight and obesity. The American journal of clinical nutrition100 Suppl 1(1), 408S–11S. doi:10.3945/ajcn.113.071332

  2. Rock, C. L., Flatt, S. W., Barkai, H. S., Pakiz, B., & Heath, D. D. (2017). Walnut consumption in a weight reduction intervention: effects on body weight, biological measures, blood pressure and satiety. Nutrition journal16(1), 76. doi:10.1186/s12937-017-0304-z

  3. Kamil, A., & Chen, C. (2012). Health Benefits of Almonds beyond Cholesterol Reduction. Journal Of Agricultural And Food Chemistry60(27), 6694-6702. doi: 10.1021/jf2044795

  4. Eunice Mah, Jacqueline A Schulz, Valerie N Kaden, Andrea L Lawless, Jose Rotor, Libertie B Mantilla, DeAnn J Liska, Cashew consumption reduces total and LDL cholesterol: a randomized, crossover, controlled-feeding trial, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 105, Issue 5, May 2017, Pages 1070–1078,