Which Nut Has The Best Nutrients?
(DM) — Everyone knows nuts are healthy. Ordering nuts by the highest amount of each nutrient are how we established a list of the most healthy nuts by nutrients. We calculate the macronutrients and micronutrients in the nuts by weight not volume. Be warned, it’s a tight race between them all. Try to avoid the nut nutrition comparison mental model. They’re all good.
There is no one nut that stands out as the nut with the most nutrients. So in truth, grab yourself a handful of nuts and you can’t go wrong.
And remember. Nuts shouldn’t be a part of a diet. They should be part of a lifestyle. Eat right always.
What Is A Nut Anyway?
A nut falls into the fruit category as single seed fruit. Most are, the Brazil Nut is not a single seed. They are tree based. It’s a thick dense seed kernel. Most often with a hard outer shell to crack open to gain your prize. A peanut is not a nut, it’s a legume. Almonds are drupes.
What Makes A Nut Healthy? Nutrients!
Your body needs nutrients in food to survive and thrive. There is a total of seven nutrients. Nuts are packed with nutrients making them tiny powerhouses. Nuts are compact, store well over time, and are loaded with not just one or two beneficial nutrients but a wide-ranging list.
Which Nutrients Are The Best?
Water is a nutrient. Is it the best? Fat is a nutrient, should you be loading up on fats? The point is to eat nuts for nutrients in general, balance what you need.
It’s important to note, this article focuses on the essential nutrients your body needs. There are in addition the essentials, many other non-essential nutrients in nuts. You can only go wrong if you eat too many.
There Are 7 Essential Nutrients
- Carbohydrates – Glucose in carbs brain fuel! Inhibits protein breakdown.
- Fat – Essential. Boosts the absorption of vitamins. Unsaturated protect the heart.
- Omega 6 – Found in nuts!
- Minerals – Micronutrient
- Phosphorus (bones & teeth)
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – The body can’t create it. Found in fish like Salmon
- Protein-Amino Acids (Total:20 Essential:9)
- Vitamins – Essential micronutrient
- A – Skin & Eyes
- C – Bones, Muscle Structure, Immune System
- D – Bones, Cardiovascular System, Nervous System
- E – 8 forms in total (1 in nuts) Antioxidants!
- Alpha-tocopherol (most nuts)
- Gamma-tocopherol (Pistachios & Pecans)
- B – Various
- B1 – Thiamine
- B2 – Riboflavin
- B3 – Niacin
- B6 – Pyridoxine
- K – Phylloquinone Helps blood & bones
- Water – Hydrates the body! We are 60% Water!
BONUS: Nuts lower cholesterol!
Too Much Of A Good Thing Is A Bad Thing
With so many fad diets, from Atkins and Keto to the Mediterranean and South Beach everyone has a favorite. Whatever you favor, any nutritionist will tell preach everything in moderation. Even an Atkins dieter must regulate their caloric intake.
Nuts fall under the same rule. Nuts are everyone’s favorite ‘good’ food people abuse.
Yes! Add them to your diet.
Don’t sit in front of the TV and munch down a one-pound bag.
So as we learn about what nuts include which nutrients remember the rule:
With all this to offer your body, it’s easy to indulge.
How much should you consume?
About an ounce to an ounce and one half daily from any group will do. That’s all it takes to get the maximum benefits. Let’s talk about all the health benefits of nuts.
The Many Health Benefits From Eating Nuts
What are some of the benefits of eating nuts? Nuts provide us nutrients such as polyphenols other snacks never come close to. It’s worth noting that polyphenol is an antioxidant, but not an essential body nutrient.
Antioxidants fight free radicals! They may not be essential yet may prevent LDLs from oxidizing making their way into the blood vessel walls which cause inflammation. Studies have not proven the true benefits of antioxidants, but should they prove to be vital, nuts are heavy contenders in meeting those qualities needed. Copper and Iron combine to aid the body in eliminating free radicals.
Nuts Lower Cholesterol
Nuts reduce your cholesterol and help you avoid cardiovascular problems. Unlike processed snacks, they are packed with minerals and vitamins. It’s a known fact you pee out almost all the vitamins in supplements. Getting your vitamins and minerals in a natural food source makes them stick.
Nuts Have Non Essential Nutrients
Just because they are non-essential doesn’t mean they are not good for you. Nuts include carotenoids, flavonoids, and proanthocyanidins which are phytochemicals, non-essential nutrients, yet considered beneficial plant compounds.
Nuts Help You Retain Muscle Mass
Lifting weights? Need a source of protein for muscle growth? Nuts. If you need to cut down on red meat protein, Nuts are a great alternative source of protein.
Get Vitamins Without Supplements
You get a vast array of vitamins in nuts. All the nuts you consume include the following vitamins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B6, Folate, Niacin, and Pantothenic Acid. Some include vitamins A, C, E, and K.
Help For Diabetics
Diabetes? If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, the low Glycemic Index (GI) of nuts make them great for a low GI diet.
Be Healthy Eating Nuts
The mental model we all carry is that fats are bad. Some are. Trans fats are bad. Unsaturated fats are acceptable. Unsaturated fats break down (oxidize) easier and hold fewer calories.
Nuts are low in saturated and trans fats while being higher in unsaturated fats. In general; every rule has an exception, the exception in the case of nuts are cashews. Bluntly put, cashews are the most fattening of all nuts. They will knock you silly if you eat more than a few of these babies. And for all nuts, it is worth repeating; think small handfuls, not mindless munching.
As nutritious as they are, nuts pack roughly 160 to 200 calories per ounce! Many others come in high on calories per ounce too. Chestnuts perhaps have the most. However, since Chestnuts require roasting or boiling, most people never make the effort.
MOST: Protein 6 grams per ounce
MOST: Alpha-Tocopherol (vitamin) 7.3 milligrams per ounce
MOST: Riboflavin (vitamin B2) .3 milligrams per ounce
MOST: Calcium (mineral) 73.9 milligrams per ounce
COUNT PER OUNCE: 20 to 25
For anyone dieting, the high fiber gives you a better full feeling after consuming just a handful. The protein will help you recover and build muscle mass after a workout.
Originating in the mountains of Morocco, almonds were brought to America by Spanish missionaries. You’ll get the most protein from Almonds at over 6 grams per ounce. Just take it easy with 163 calories per ounce.
Coping with holiday stress? Reach for the almonds. Crunching down 20 to 25 almonds will give you 35% of your daily value of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), which is quickly depleted when you’re under pressure. Eat ’em with the skin on to get the biggest dose!
The skin of the almond is the source of the polyphenol nutrient, your one-ounce serving will include as many polyphenols as you would eat in a cup of broccoli. You’ll also score riboflavin, another antioxidant. The hull of an almond starts off soft in the spring and ready in the fall. Almonds have also been linked to health as a prebiotic creating friendly bacteria in your stomach ultimately helping with your intestinal health.
Almonds are Allstars for certain and one of the most healthy nuts with the best nutrients.
|Calcium||73.9 mg||B1 – Thiamine||0.5 mg|
|Copper||.3 mg||B2 – Riboflavin||.3 mg|
|Folate||14 mcg||B3 – Niacin||.9 mg|
|Iron||1 mg||B6 – Pyridoxine||.1 mg|
|Manganese||E – Alpha-Tocopherol||7.6 mg|
|Magnesium||75 mg||K – Phylloquinone|
2BRAZIL NUTS aka Amazon Nuts
MOST: Highest Saturated Fat (Bad!) 4 grams per ounce
MOST: Magnesium (mineral) 105 milligrams per ounce
MOST: Selenium (mineral) 537 micrograms per ounce
COUNT PER OUNCE: 6 to 8
Yes. Brazil Nuts come from Brazil. And Peru and Bolivia. The trees they grow on are upwards to 150 feet tall on the high ground of rainforests. With a staggering life expectancy of over 500 years it’s rumored they can live to 1000.
The trees have legal protection too. It’s over a year for a Brazil nut to mature. Approximately 14 months in total. There are 20 to 30 seeds inside a husk the size of a softball.
Not crazy about Brazil nuts? Eat one anyway. That’s all it takes — one a day — to completely meet your body’s need for the antioxidant mineral selenium. While selenium is the lowest mineral you find in any nut, in Brazil nuts there is more selenium than you’ll get in other nuts.
You’ll get 160 percent of your daily requirement of selenium in just one nut. You’ll also be munching down some complete (18%) & protein.
Brazil nuts have all the essential amino acids in one neat package — and zinc (think immunity-boosting, and more stress relief) while minimizing its one drawback: saturated fat (5 grams in 6 to 8 of these big nuts). FAT: 69%.
Brazil nuts are one of the highest in antioxidants combined with the selenium making them even more potent. For this reason, this nut is considered the cancer-fighting nut (mammary, prostate, and lung).
|Calcium||4.5 mg||B1 – Thiamine||.18 mg|
|Copper||mg||B2 – Riboflavin||.01 mg|
|Folate||6 mcg||B3 – Niacin||.09 mg|
|Iron||.7 mg||B6 – Pyridoxine||.031 mg|
|Manganese||E – Alpha-Tocopherol||1.6 mg|
|Magnesium||107 mg||K – Phylloquinone|
MOST: Copper (mineral) .6 milligrams per ounce
MOST: Iron (mineral) 1.89 milligrams per ounce
MOST: Zinc (mineral) 1.64 milligrams per ounce
COUNT PER OUNCE: 16 to 18
The cashew and the pistachio are related and both are cholesterol-free. Smooth and buttery, cashews beg you to eat more. You’ll get a dense 5 grams of protein per ounce but the calories in cashews are among the highest too averaging from 160 to 200 calories per ounce.
The good news of the 12 grams of fat per ounce, only 2 grams are saturated fat. The complete ratio works out to 1:2:1 (saturated, monounsaturated (oleic acid in the cashew) and polyunsaturated). Scientists approve of this as the ideal ratio of fats for optimal health. This means cashews are actually less fattening than almonds, peanuts, pecans, and walnuts.
Magnesium in Cashews like all the nuts listed in this article (and just about any nut anywhere) is always at the top of the list of most content per ounce. You’ll get about 20 percent of your body needs in a day in a single serving.
The beneficial fatty acids, phytosterol, squalene, and alpha-tocopherol, are part of the heart-healthy diet lowering your risk of heart disease. Cholesterol content? Zero.
|Calcium||11 mg||B1 – Thiamine||0.3 mg|
|Copper||.6 mg||B2 – Riboflavin||.2 mg|
|Folate||7.09 mcg||B3 – Niacin||.4 mg|
|Iron||1.89 mg||B6 – Pyridoxine||.12 mg|
|Manganese||E – Alpha-Tocopherol||.3 mg|
|Magnesium||78 mg||K – Phylloquinone||9.67mg|
MOST: Folate (mineral) 31.6 milligrams per ounce
COUNT PER OUNCE: 12
|Calcium||31.9 mg||B1 – Thiamine||.18 mg|
|Copper||.5 mg||B2 – Riboflavin||.03 mg|
|Folate||31.6 mcg||B3 – Niacin||.5 mg|
|Iron||1.3 mg||B6 – Pyridoxine||.2 mg|
|Manganese||E – Alpha-Tocopherol||4.26 mg|
|Magnesium||46 mg||K – Phylloquinone||4.03 mg|
COUNT PER OUNCE: 12
Need an excuse to go for the macadamia nuts? They win the prize for having the most monounsaturated fats — the good ones, which lower bad LDL cholesterol. Just one ounce (10 to 12 of these creamy white treats) has 17 grams of the heart-healthy stuff. Plus, they’re a good source of thiamin, a B vitamin that helps keep your muscles, nerves, and GI system humming.
Macadamia takes their name after explorer John Macadam by fellow explorer when John was lost at sea. They also have the distinction of being the ‘hardest nut to crack’ taking 300 pounds per square inch to crack its shell. Once you do, try keeping the kernel inside whole without crushing it in the process.
If you buy them in the shell, you may need a hammer to smash them open. Of course, you could just use a rock. Hawaii has over 10,000 square acres to produce them.
|Calcium||24 mg||B1 – Thiamine||0.5 mg|
|Copper||.5 mg||B2 – Riboflavin|
|Folate||2.8 mcg||B3 – Niacin||.6 mg|
|Iron||1.1 mg||B6 – Pyridoxine||.1 mg|
|Manganese||E – Alpha-Tocopherol||.2 mg|
|Magnesium||33 mg||K – Phylloquinone|
MOST: Folate (mineral) 40.6 milligrams per ounce
MOST: Niacin (vitamin) 3.8 milligrams per ounce
COUNT PER OUNCE: 28
Peanuts? Okay, smartypants, you’re right. Peanuts aren’t really nuts. They’re legumes (bio-cousins to peas, lentils, and beans). Never mind. They’re rich in three key B vitamins — folate, niacin, and riboflavin — so you can lose the guilt at happy hour. And ounce for ounce, they pack the same protein punch as beef (7 grams per ounce), minus the saturated fat.
Still, peanuts have about 166 calories per ounce. Half of all peanuts harvested make peanut butter. Peanuts are native to South America. They were exported to Africa and then with the slave trade back across the Atlantic to America.
While peanuts are great, what about peanut butter? Go easy.
Where do you think that sweet taste comes from? You guessed it, sugars in various forms most high in fat. Go for organic with honey, natural sugars are processed by the body better. Read the label!
|Calcium||15.1 mg||B1 – Thiamine|
|Copper||.2 mg||B2 – Riboflavin|
|Folate||40.6 mcg||B3 – Niacin||3.8 mg|
|Iron||.6 mg||B6 – Pyridoxine||.1 mg|
|Manganese||E – Alpha-Tocopherol||1.9 mg|
|Magnesium||49.3 mg||K – Phylloquinone|
MOST: E (vitamin) 7.4 milligrams per ounce
MOST: Zinc (mineral) 1.8 milligrams per ounce
COUNT PER OUNCE: 15 to 19 halves
The Pecan’s claim to fame is holding the highest antioxidant capacity among nuts. Pecans are a real superfood! The Pecan is rich in a unique form of vitamin E, gamma-tocopherol (not alpha-tocopherol as seen in all other vitamins in this article and their respective charts. Gamma-tocopherol is one of eight forms of vitamin E. Four are tocopherols, and four are tocotrienols, (alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol and alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienol).
Largest amount of antioxidants found in nuts. While vitamin E helps fight off free radicals, this form of vitamin E is thought to benefit the neurological system by slowing down degeneration.
Parkinson’s to heart disease, pecans have come out as great for your health in clinical studies all due to the many antioxidants found in Pecans. The measurement of the antioxidant power of pecans is thought to be up by 12 percent for more than two hours after eating them pushing bad cholesterol down by as much as 33 percent in mere hours after consumption.
If lowering our cholesterol is on your agenda, adding Pecans to your diet is a great choice. New science documents that nuts like Pecans help increase metabolism. Want to avoid trans fats? There are none in Pecans.
The fats in Pecans are approximately 60 percent monounsaturated and 30 percent polyunsaturated. Saturated fat is almost non-existent. Like other nuts, there is plenty of protein if you need to supplement your diet or need a meat alternative.
Pecans are indigenous to the Southern US. Pecans only bear every other year. The western pecan tree is the most popular in the world.
|Calcium||20 mg||B1 – Thiamine||.1 mg|
|Copper||.3 mg||B2 – Riboflavin||.6 mg|
|Folate||6 mcg||B3 – Niacin||1.2 mg|
|Iron||1.6 mg||B6 – Pyridoxine||.06 mg|
|Manganese||E – Gamma-Tocopherol||2.7 mg|
|Magnesium||71 mg||K – Phylloquinone||15.3 mg|
MOST: E (vitamin) 2.7 milligrams per ounce
MOST: K (vitamin )53.9 milligrams per ounce
COUNT PER OUNCE: 83
Technically not a nut, but a seed, pine nuts are just as high in fat content as the cashew but densely packed with nutrients. At 191 calories per ounce, it’s best to just sprinkle a small handful over a salad.
Don’t bother worrying why, like all nuts you get loads of minerals and vitamins!
They have a soft crunch with a smooth finish. Pine nuts are easy to put in any dish as they are mild. Unique to pine nuts is they are the only natural source of pinoleic acid. Pinoleic acid is a triple-unsaturated fatty acid and a known hunger suppressant by stimulating hormones.
While you may think a small handful won’t curb your appetite, the theory is the pinoleic acid in the pine nut secrets a hormone in your intestines known as CCK which tells your brain you are full. Just like every other nut on this list, pine nuts offer you protein and an array of vitamins and minerals.
There are a few species of trees that produce pine nuts. The Korean pine is most well known for its larger cones. You can harvest pine nuts from approximately 20 species of pine trees.
Most harvested pine nuts are from the Asian Korean Pine tree, a white pine tree. Pine nuts are found as far east as Russia in the Siberian pine. About 50 or so seeds are harvested from each pine cone.
The history of the pine nut is not exclusive to Asia. Native American Indian’s harvested the pinyon pine nut for 10,000 years. European and Asian history goes back to the Paleolithic era.
Fun fact. Pine nuts are rumored to leave a metallic aftertaste known as pine nut mouth. It’s not a rumor, it’s real and can last up to 14 days. The cause is yet known.
|Calcium||B1 – Thiamine||.352 mg|
|Copper||.293 mg||B2 – Riboflavin||.064 mg|
|Iron||.87 mg||B3 – Niacin||1.239 mg|
|Manganese||B6 – Pyridoxine||.031 mg|
|Magnesium||66 mg||B9 – Folate||16 mcg|
|Phosphorus||10 mg||E – Alpha-Tocopherol|
|Potassium||178 mg||K – Phylloquinone||53.9 mg|
MOST: Potassium (mineral) 291 milligrams per ounce
MOST: B6 (vitamin) .5 milligrams per ounce
COUNT PER OUNCE: 49
The pistachio and cashew are related and both are cholesterol-free. The claim to fame here is heart health. Low in protein, but high in antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein, and gamma-tocopherol, they help keep your LDL (the bad cholesterol) in check. Get two servings a day for the alleged benefits.
Penn State nutritionist professor Penny Kris-Etherton notes, “Our previous study showed the benefits of pistachios in lowering lipids and lipoproteins, which are a risk factor for heart disease.” A three-ounce diet is said to be enough by research nutritionists to decrease oxidized LDLs lowering cholesterol.
In addition to lowering cholesterol, other studies such as one completed by the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention show pistachios may lower your risk of lung cancer due to the gamma-tocopherol (vitamin E) in these powerful little nuts.
Pistachios come from Persia and regarded as arid environment fruit. The shells naturally split over time and create pop sound when they crack. And are actually dyed red. Ninety-nine percent of pistachios grown in the US are grown in California. The white shell Kerman is the nut of choice grown.
|Calcium||30 mg||B1 – Thiamine||mg|
|Copper||.4 mg||B2 – Riboflavin|
|Folate||14.3 mcg||B3 – Niacin||.4 mg|
|Iron||1.2 mg||B6 – Pyridoxine||.5 mg|
|Manganese||E – Gamma-Tocopherol||.7 mg|
|Magnesium||34 mg||K – Phylloquinone||7.3 mg|
MOST: Omega-3 (fat)
COUNT PER OUNCE: 14 halves
What’s with the buzz around walnuts? Omega-3 fatty acids are what. While it’s not on our charts, Walnuts carry more Omega-3 than any other plant source. Omega-3’s fight off heart disease. You can meet your daily value for these hard-to-get health protectors in about 14 halves (1 ounce).
Walnuts are also jammed with disease-fighting antioxidants: In a study of nearly 100 plant foods, they ranked #2 in antioxidant content (rosehips — hardly party fare — came in first). Just remember the ‘everything in moderation’ rule on eating nuts again, especially with walnuts as they are up on the calorie content too with 187 calories per ounce.
Walnuts can last 4 months at room temperature, a year if refrigerated. The kernels can be consumed raw or cooked. They can be dry roasted or oil roasted. In the entire world, 98% of all Walnuts are processed in the central valley region of Stockton California.
The Latin meaning for Walnut is Juglans Regia (belonging to royalty). The ancient Romans considered Walnuts a food of the gods and powers of fertility. Similar to the almond, Walnuts made their way to America by Spanish missionaries in the 18th century.
In the early days of harvesting, Walnuts were knocked from trees by hand. Now large trucks grab the entire tree by its trunk and shake it vigorously.
Studies on nuts have also claimed that combined with eating fruits, they help fight off depression.
|Calcium||17.1 mg||B1 – Thiamine||mg|
|Copper||.4 mg||B2 – Riboflavin|
|Folate||8.7 mcg||B3 – Niacin||.1 mg|
|Iron||.9 mg||B6 – Pyridoxine||.2 mg|
|Manganese||E – Alpha-Tocopherol||6.7 mg|
|Magnesium||56.3 mg||K – Phylloquinone||7 mg|