The Top 9 Nuts to Eat for Better Health

2. Pistachios

Pistachios are a commonly consumed nut that is high in fiber (23).

A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of pistachios contains roughly:

  • Calories: 156
  • Fat: 12.5 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Carbs: 8 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Vitamin E: 3% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 8% of the RDI

Similarly to almonds, pistachios may improve cholesterol levels — eating 2–3 ounces (56–84 grams) of pistachios a day may help increase “good” HDL cholesterol (24Trusted Source).

Also, pistachios may help improve other heart disease risk factors, including blood pressure, weight and oxidative status.

Oxidative status refers to blood levels of oxidized chemicals, which can contribute to heart disease (25Trusted Source, 26Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source).

What’s more, pistachios may help reduce the rise in blood sugar after a meal (29Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Pistachio nuts appear to have beneficial effects on heart disease risk factors when eaten in high quantities of more than one ounce (28 grams) per day.

3. Walnuts

Walnuts are a very popular nut and an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) (30).

A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of walnuts contains roughly:

  • Calories: 182
  • Fat: 18 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Carbs: 4 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Vitamin E: 1% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 11% of the RDI

Walnuts appear to improve a number of heart disease risk factors, which may be due to their high content of ALA and other nutrients.

Several large studies have found that eating walnuts significantly reduced total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol while increasing “good” HDL cholesterol levels (31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source).

They may also improve other factors related to heart health, including blood pressure and the normal flow of blood through your circulatory system (34Trusted Source, 35Trusted Source).

In addition, walnuts may help reduce inflammation, which can contribute to many chronic diseases (36Trusted Source).

Interestingly, a study in college students found that eating walnuts increased a measure of cognition called “inferential reasoning,” suggesting that walnuts may have beneficial effects on the brain (37Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Walnuts are a great source of the omega-3 fat ALA and many other nutrients. Eating walnuts may benefit heart health and potentially even your brain.

4. Cashews

Cashews are part of the tree nut family and have a good nutrient profile (38).

One ounce (28 grams) of cashews contains roughly:

  • Calories: 155
  • Fat: 12 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Carbs: 9 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Vitamin E: 1% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 20% of the RDI

A number of studies have examined whether diets high in cashews can improve symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

One study found that a diet containing 20% of calories from cashews improved blood pressure in people with metabolic syndrome (39Trusted Source).

Another study noticed that cashews increased the antioxidant potential of the diet (40Trusted Source).

Interestingly, a few studies have shown that diets high in cashews may increase blood sugar in people with metabolic syndrome (39Trusted Source, 41Trusted Source).

Another larger study observed that a diet rich in cashews reduced blood pressure and increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. However, it had no significant effects on body weight or blood sugar levels (42Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Cashews contain a number of important nutrients and studies indicate that they may improve blood lipid levels and reduce blood pressure.