Organic Nuts: Why They’re A Great Addition To Your Healthy Diet
You may be surprised to find out that organic nuts, especially raw tree nuts, such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pecans have been linked to lower cholesterol, improved heart health, reduced risk of cancer and support of a healthy weight.
Many people avoid eating organic nuts because of the fat and calories in them, however a small handful of organic nuts can be a great improvement to your daily diet. High in fiber, protein, unsaturated fats,and vitamins and minerals, organic nuts have been shown to be protective of a variety of diseases.
Top 8 Organic Nuts
Walnuts contain the highest quantity of antioxidants of all organic nuts. Those antioxidants protect the body from the cellular damage that can cause cancer and heart disease. Walnuts also have the highest ratio of Omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory. Approximately 90% of the phenols in walnuts are found in the skin, that waxy, sometimes flaky outermost part of shelled walnuts. There can be slight bitter flavor to this skin so you may be tempted to remove it, but I’d encourage you to get used to the flavor and eat the skins. About 14 walnut halves has 185 calories and 18 grams fat.
With the most fiber of any of the organic nuts, almonds also have the most vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Almonds have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol as well as decrease insulin resistance. Almonds are the only nut and one of the few proteins that are alkaline forming, protecting you from osteoporosis, poor immune function, low energy and gaining weight. About 23 almonds has 170 calories and 15 grams fat
When you’re choosing which organic nuts to snack on, make pecans on the top of your list. Pecans are among the most antioxidant-rich nuts and may help prevent plaque formation in the arteries. Studies have shown that eating pecans can help lower LDL cholesterol as much as 33%. Pecans are also good for brain health; the vitamin E in pecans help delay progression of neurological diseases. About 18 halves has 200 calories and 21 grams fat
This is one of the best organic nuts for getting iron and zinc in your diet. Also a good source of magnesium, 1 ounce of cashews provides nearly 25% of your daily need. Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and has been shown to prevent and manage hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. About 18 nuts has 165 calories and 13 grams fat.
These powerful nuts contain a high amount of selenium, a mineral that may help prevent bone, prostate and breast cancers. Brazil nuts are also a very good source of vitamin-E, a powerful antioxidant. Researchers with the The Journal of Clinical Investigation, report that the enzyme most important in keeping the thyroid hormone active contains an amino acid called selenocysteine. This rare amino acid is formed in the body through foods that contain selenium. Since this mineral is mostly found in meats and bread, it is a very important nut for people on a raw food diet. About 5 to 6 nuts has 185 cals and 18 grams fat.
One of the most calorie dense of the organic nuts, macadamia nuts contain the highest amount of monounsaturated fats per serving. This heart-healthy type of fat lowers LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. Studies have found that eating macadamia nuts reduces triglyceride levels, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol by nearly 10 percent. Macadamias are also an excellent source of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc. About 10 nuts has 200 calories and 22 grams of fat.
With less than 4 calories per nut, pistachios may be the most dieting-friendly nut. Getting them in the shell makes them extra beneficial because it slows down your pace, making your snack last longer so that you feel full before you’ve eaten too many. Studies have found that eating 2 ounces of pistachios daily may reduce lung cancer risk. Pistachios are a good source of many phyto-nutrients that may contribute to their overall antioxidant activity, including carotenes, vitamin E, and polyphenolic antioxidant compounds. Research has shown that these compounds help the human body remove toxic free radicals, protecting the body from diseases, cancers, as well as infections. About 50 nuts has 160 calories and 14 grams of fat.
These organic nuts are rich in Vitamin E which is helpful for preventing cataracts and macular degeneration. Vitamin E is also great for healthy skin and reducing your risk of dementia. Hazelnuts contain high levels of monounsaturated fats which can improve heart health and help control Type 2 diabetes. They are rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. About 21 nuts has 180 calories and 17 grams of fat.
It’s always best to maintain variety in your diet. A great way to do that is to make your own trail mix that contains each of these organic nuts. Make up a big batch and portion out single serving sizes so you have a healthy and filling snack every day. What are your favorite trail mix recipes? Which types of organic nuts do you prefer?