The Top 9 Nuts to Eat for Better Health

5. Pecans

Pecans are often used in desserts, but they’re quite nutritious on their own (43).

One ounce (28 grams) of pecans contains roughly:

  • Calories: 193
  • Fat: 20 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Carbs: 4 grams
  • Fiber: 2.5 grams
  • Vitamin E: 2% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 8% of the RDI

A few studies have shown that pecans can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol in people with normal cholesterol levels (44Trusted Source, 45).

Like other nuts, pecans also contain polyphenols, which are compounds that act as antioxidants.

In one four-week study, people who ate pecans as 20% of their daily calorie intake showed improved antioxidant profiles in their blood (46).

SUMMARY

Pecans contain a variety of beneficial nutrients. They also pack antioxidants and may help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.

6. Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts contain a wide range of nutrients and are a great source of monounsaturated fat (47).

One ounce (28 grams) contains roughly:

  • Calories: 200
  • Fat: 21 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 4 grams
  • Fiber: 2.5 grams
  • Vitamin E: 1% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 9% of the RDI

Many of the health benefits of macadamia nuts are related to heart health. This may be due to their high content of monounsaturated fat.

A number of studies have shown that diets rich in macadamia nuts can lower both total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol in those with high cholesterol levels (48Trusted Source).

A macadamia-rich diet even produced effects similar to a heart-healthy diet recommended by the American Heart Association (49Trusted Source).

In addition, macadamia nuts may reduce other risk factors for heart disease, including oxidative stress and inflammation (50Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Macadamia nuts are very high in monounsaturated fat. This may explain their ability to reduce heart disease risk factors.

7. Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts originate from a tree in the Amazon and are an incredibly rich source of selenium (51).

A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of Brazil nuts contains about:

  • Calories: 182
  • Fat: 18 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Carbs: 3 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Vitamin E: 8% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 26% of the RDI

Selenium is a mineral that acts as an antioxidant. Though it’s used for a number of bodily functions, you only need to obtain small amounts of it through your diet.

A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of Brazil nuts will provide you with more than 100% of the RDI for selenium.

Selenium deficiency is rare and usually only occurs in certain disease states.

For example, one study found that people undergoing hemodialysis for kidney disease were selenium deficient.

When these people ate just one Brazil nut a day for three months, their blood selenium levels returned to normal, and the nuts had an antioxidant effect in their blood (52Trusted Source).

Brazil nuts can also reduce cholesterol levels. What’s more, they may reduce oxidative stress and improve the function of blood vessels in obese teenagers (53Trusted Source, 54Trusted Source).

Finally, Brazil nuts may reduce inflammation in both healthy people and those undergoing hemodialysis (55Trusted Source, 56Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Brazil nuts are an excellent source of selenium. They may also help reduce cholesterol levels, oxidative stress and inflammation.