Medically Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on August 27, 2022
They’re good for you in all forms. Simply adding them to your diet lowers your chances of getting heart disease, a huge health risk in the U.S. They help improve your cholesterol, among other things.
These nuts may help protect you against prostate cancer and keep your brain sharp as you age. And, according to one study, you’re more likely to eat healthy overall if they’re a regular part of your diet. Try them on an apple walnut salad.
Because they grow underground and not on trees, peanuts technically are legumes -- who knew? But nutritionally they’re like nuts. They’re full of protein and other vitamins, so throw some in your trail mix.
These large, earthy-flavored nuts are chock-full of selenium, an element known to help fight inflammation. It also helps protect against different types of cancer. Eat just a few by themselves, or add them to your own homemade "rainforest granola."
Almonds are becoming more popular in the U.S. -- and for good reason. They’re full of healthy unsaturated fat, protein, and fiber. For an occasional treat, try an almond torte -- you can get your sweet and nut fixes at the same time.
If peanut butter isn’t your thing, maybe try cashew butter instead. Worried about the fat? Don’t be. Cashews and other nuts don’t have "bad" fat. Some studies even suggest eating nuts can help make you slimmer, maybe because they satisfy your hunger so well.
They’re delicious on their own and legendary in Turkish baklava. They also are high in antioxidants and may help with inflammation. Fun fact: People who eat nuts are less likely to get gallstones. If you’ve ever had a gallbladder attack (caused by gallstones), you know how important that can be.
These small nuts are the magical ingredient in pesto. But they can trigger a rare and mysterious -- but harmless -- condition called pine mouth. This causes a bitter metallic taste that lasts 2 to 4 weeks. Scientists think genes may play a role in who gets it.
If we could ignore the saturated fat and sugar, pecan pie would almost be good for you, thanks to the generous serving of nuts in each slice. That’s because nuts may help lower high blood pressure, and women who eat them are less likely to get type 2 diabetes. Maybe skip the pie and just have a handful as a snack.
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Ag Marketing Resource Center: "Almonds."
National Institutes of Health: "Health Benefits of Nut Consumption," "Walnut polyphenol metabolites, urolithins A and B, inhibit the expression of the prostate-specific antigen and the androgen receptor in prostate cancer cells," "Nuts and CVD," "Role of walnuts in maintaining brain health with age," "Pistachio nuts: composition and potential health benefits," "Beneficial effects of potassium on human health," "Selenium: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet," "A potential trigger for pine mouth: a case of a homozygous phenylthiocarbamide taster."