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The best kinds of nuts for your health needs

We all know that eating well is essential to good overall health. While it’s fairly easy to identify unhealthy foods and limit our consumption, it can be trickier to figure out which healthy foods are best for our personal needs and health concerns. Nuts have been regarded as a superfood for years now, but did you know that certain kinds of nuts have particular health benefits? We recently came across this article on AARP.org and thought it served as a great little guide for determining which types of nuts to incorporate into your diet.

A short summary:

  • Best nuts for those counting calories. Reach for almonds, cashews and pistachios, all of which contain 160 calories per ounce. Pass on macadamias and pecans, which have 200 calories per ounce and contain lower amounts of protein, as well as higher amounts of fat.
  • Best nuts for heart health. Go for walnuts. They contain more heart-healthy omega-3 acids than any other type of nut, and a 2013 study found they can help protect against diabetes and heart disease. Numerous other studies have found links between walnuts and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Best nuts for weight loss. Any nuts—studies have found that people who ate nuts weighed less than people who didn’t.
  • Best nuts for strong bones. Choose almonds and cashews. An ounce of almonds delivers 26 percent of your daily needed amount of calcium, and while both almonds and cashews contain magnesium, cashews contain more, providing 20 percent of the daily magnesium your body requires for strong bones.
  • Best nuts for curbing snack cravings. Peanuts and peanut butter. Peanuts are high in protein and fiber, and a 2012 study of women at risk for Type 2 diabetes found that they help regulate blood sugar and reduce hunger in between meals. A 2013 Purdue study also linked eating 1 ½ ounces of peanuts daily with lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Best nuts for prostate cancer protection. An ounce of nuts per day, any type.  A 2013 study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer who incorporated an ounce of nuts into their daily diet, along with more olive oil, reduced their risk of developing advanced prostate cancer.
  • Best nuts for a healthy brain. Again, any combination of nuts in your diet is linked with better memory and cognitive abilities as you age. A study from 2014 found that older women who ate a minimum of five servings of nuts weekly over a period of six years scored higher on an array of cognition tests.

Keep these tips in mind when choosing nuts to add to your daily diet, and remember that when it comes to your overall health, all types of nuts consumed in moderation are a great choice!