The health benefits of nuts
All nuts have different nutrition credentials and will offer various health benefits – find out which nut is rich in calcium, which will offer a protein boost and how much fat is in each type with our nutritionist’s guide…
Packed with protein, fibre and essential fats, nuts are one of this season’s best buys. A golf ball-sized portion (about 30g) of unsalted nuts makes a vitality-boosting snack and, unlike most other options, contributes a mix of valuable vitamins and minerals. All nuts have different nutrition credentials and will offer various health benefits – find your perfect match with our guide…
If you avoid dairy, calcium-rich almonds are a good choice to ensure you’re getting enough of this bone-building mineral. Almonds are also high in vitamin E, a nutrient which helps to improve the condition and appearance of your skin. For some extra heart help, swap flaked almonds for the whole nut – with the skin intact – because the almond’s skin is full of heart-protecting compounds called flavonoids.
Opt for hazelnuts if you’re concerned about high levels of homocysteine, an amino acid which has been associated with heart problems as well as conditions like Parkinsons. Hazelnuts are a good source of folate, which plays a key role in keeping homocysteine within normal levels.
Their superior antioxidant content means walnuts are useful in the fight against cancer. They’re also a good source of mono-unsaturated, heart-friendly fats, and studies show they help to lower the bad form of cholesterol (LDL). Finally, they’re rich in omega-3, so they’re a great alternative if you don’t eat oily fish.
Worried about the fat content?
Nuts are high in fat, but much of it is the heart-healthy variety. The amounts of saturated fat, the type of fat we should avoid, varies between nuts and has been flagged below. Aim to eat those in the amber and green bands most of the time and enjoy those in red category occasionally.
Red (high saturated fat content)
Amber (medium saturated fat content)
Green (low saturated fat content)
Walnuts are the only nut significantly high in omega-3 ALA. Omega-3s are essential fatty acids critical to various body processes. Learn more about the nutritional benefits in one ounce of walnuts.
Nutrients in One Serving
One ounce of walnuts is a powerhouse of important nutrients for optimum health, including:
- An excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid (2.5g) – the most ALA of any other tree nut.
- 4g of protein
- 2g of fiber
- A good source of magnesium (45mg)
As a nutrient-dense food, walnuts are an excellent way to improve overall diet quality and are certified by the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check mark.
Walnuts have been researched for their potential role in a variety of health outcomes, including cognitive function, heart health, cancer, diabetes, weight, gut health and reproductive health.
When Fat is a Good Thing
“Fat” is a word with multiple meanings. Despite the differences between body fat and dietary fat, over the years people have simply been told they are both bad. Research has uncovered benefits to eating dietary fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, found in foods such as salmon, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, and avocados.