Research has also shown that eating nuts daily may help us live healthier lives. A 2016 analysis of 29 studies and up to 819,000 people revealed that 20 grams of nuts a day (equivalent to a handful) can cut people’s risk of heart disease by nearly 30%, their risk of cancer by 15% and their risk of premature death by 22%.
The study included all kinds of tree nuts, such as hazelnuts and walnuts, and peanuts. Other research has suggested that eating nuts every day in place of carbohydrates can help control type 2 diabetes. Although it may be nuts to not include nuts in your diet, it’s important to watch portions, because calories in nuts add up quickly.
To reduce the calorie load from nuts, choose raw or dry-roasted instead of oil-roasted nuts. A quarter-cup of oil-roasted almonds has 238 calories, but the same amount of dry-roasted almonds has 206 calories.
Nuts are rich in heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, which lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol; plus, they are a good source of phytosterols, compounds that help lower blood cholesterol.
They are packed with fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin E, potassium and magnesium.
Best nuts for your diet
Almonds, Cashews, Pistachios
All nuts are about equal in terms of calories per ounce, and in moderation, are all healthy additions to any diet. “Their mix of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber will help you feel full and suppress your appetite,” says Judy Caplan, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The lowest-calorie nuts at 160 per ounce are almonds (23 nuts; 6 grams protein, 14 grams fat);
cashews (16 to 18 nuts; 5 grams protein, 13 grams fat);
and pistachios (49 nuts; 6 grams protein, 13 grams fat).
Avoid nuts packaged or roasted in oil; instead, eat them raw or dry roasted, says Caplan. (Roasted nuts may have been heated in hydrogenated or omega-6 unhealthy fats, she adds, or to high temperatures that can destroy their nutrients.)