The health benefits of nuts

All nuts have different nutrition credentials and will offer various health benefits - find out which nut is rich in calcium, which will offer a protein boost and how much fat is in each type with our nutritionist's guide...

A bowl filled with mixed nuts

Packed with protein, fibre and essential fats, nuts are one of this season's best buys. A golf ball-sized portion (about 30g) of unsalted nuts makes a vitality-boosting snack and, unlike most other options, contributes a mix of valuable vitamins and minerals. All nuts have different nutrition credentials and will offer various health benefits - find your perfect match with our guide...
 

AlmondsHoney crunch granola with almonds & apricots

If you avoid dairy, calcium-rich almonds are a good choice to ensure you're getting enough of this bone-building mineral. Almonds are also high in vitamin E, a nutrient which helps to improve the condition and appearance of your skin. For some extra heart help, swap flaked almonds for the whole nut - with the skin intact - because the almond's skin is full of heart-protecting compounds called flavonoids.

Recipe suggestions:
Fruity mincemeat with almonds
Honey crunch granola with almonds & apricots

 

Tropical treatBrazil nuts

Ideal for those with low thyroid function, Brazils are a good source of the mineral selenium, which we need to produce the active thyroid hormone. Selenium also supports immunity and helps wounds to heal. You only need three or four Brazil nuts a day to get all the selenium you require.

Recipe suggestion:
Tropical treat

 

CashewsBroccoli lemon chicken with cashews

Because they contribute a good level of protein and are a useful source of minerals like iron and zinc, cashews make an excellent choice if you're following a vegetarian diet. They're also rich in the mineral magnesium, which is thought to improve recall and delay, age-related memory loss. Add a handful to a vegetarian stir-fry or use as a nut butter on crackers or bread.

Recipe suggestions:
Broccoli lemon chicken with cashews
Fragrant vegetable & cashew biryani

 

Smashed sprouts mash with chestnutsChestnuts

By far the nut with the lowest fat and calories, chestnuts are rich in starchy carbs and fibre, and in their raw form are a good source of vitamin C. They're lower in protein than other nuts but make a useful contribution of B vitamins including B6. Ground chestnut flour can be used as a gluten-free flour for cakes and bakes, or buy fresh and roast for a tasty snack.



Recipe suggestions:
Smashed sprouts mash with chestnuts
Autumn chestnut salad

 

HazelnutsRoast whole fish with salsa romesco

Opt for hazelnuts if you're concerned about high levels of homocysteine, an amino acid which has been associated with heart problems as well as conditions like Parkinsons. Hazelnuts are a good source of folate, which plays a key role in keeping homocysteine within normal levels.

Recipe suggestions:
Chinese noodles with tofu & hazelnuts
Roast whole fish with salsa romesco

 

Macadamia & cranberry American cookiesMacadamias

With one of the highest fat contents, macadamias are often used to add flavour and texture to dishes and work well in both savoury and sweet recipes. Although high in fat, they do supply good levels of the healthy mono-unsaturated variety. They're a rich source of fibre and make a useful contribution of minerals including magnesium, calcium and potassium. Buy in small batches and store carefully to avoid rancidity.


Recipe suggestions:
Beetroot & fennel gratin with macadamia & hazelnut dukkah 
Macadamia & cranberry American cookies

 

PecansMaple pecan beans

Heart-friendly pecans are packed with plant sterols, valuable compounds that are effective at lowering cholesterol levels. Pecans are also antioxidant-rich which helps prevent the plaque formation that causes hardening of the arteries. They're rich in oleic acid, the healthy fat found in olives and avocado. As a good source of vitamin B3 pecans are the perfect option if you're fighting fatigue because this vitamin helps us access the energy in our food.

Recipe suggestions:
Maple pecan beans
Cranberry pecan baked apples

 

Grapefruit, agave & pistachio saladPistachios

Being especially rich in vitamin B6, which is important for keeping hormones balanced and healthy, pistachios are a good option for those with problem periods. They're the only nut to contain reasonable levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that play an important role in protecting the eyes. Pistachios also contain potassium and fibre - in fact a 30g serving has more than three times that supplied by the equivalent weight of plums.
 

Recipe suggestions:
Grapefruit, agave & pistachio salad
Moroccan spiced pie

 

WalnutsSpaghetti with walnuts, raisins & parsley

Their superior antioxidant content means walnuts are useful in the fight against cancer. They're also a good source of mono-unsaturated, heart-friendly fats, and studies show they help to lower the bad form of cholesterol (LDL). Finally, they're rich in omega-3, so they're a great alternative if you don't eat oily fish.

Recipe suggestions:
Spaghetti with walnuts, raisins & parsley
Winter leaf & parsnip salad with walnuts


 

Worried about the fat content?

Nuts are high in fat, but much of it is the heart-healthy variety. The amounts of saturated fat, the type of fat we should avoid, varies between nuts and has been flagged below. Aim to eat those in the amber and green bands most of the time and enjoy those in red category occasionally.

 

Red (high saturated fat content)

Brazil nutsBrazil nuts
Macadamias
Cashews

 


Amber (medium saturated fat content)

PecansWalnuts
Pecans
Pistachios

 


Green (low saturated fat content)

ChestnutsHazelnuts
Almonds
Chestnuts
 

 

 


This article was last reviewed on 27th September 2017 by nutritional therapist Kerry Torrens.

A registered Nutritional Therapist, Kerry Torrens is a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food. Kerry is a member of the The Royal Society of Medicine, Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT).

All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact  your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.
 

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
Dubestate.com's picture
Dubestate.com
14th Dec, 2015
Nice article on benefits of buts.
robertdavis1
9th Dec, 2015
I stumbled upon this site through search engine and I have been reading along all the blogs posted. They are very well written indeed. Thanks. Ask SheWeb
robertdavis1
9th Dec, 2015
Very this is a good post. This post give truly quality information.I’m definitely going to look into it.Really very useful tips are provided here.thank you so much.Keep up the good works. Blue Blindfold
robertdavis1
7th Dec, 2015
TurkBulgar.com provide latest information about travel plans and provide outstanding tips for managing your own road trips and help you to manage your trip with low budget. You can trust on our post because we publish reliable posts. TurkBulgar
robertdavis1
7th Dec, 2015
We provide best home improvement advice, tip and DIY ideas for your home renovation. caribpesticides.org provide tutorial on renovation and DIY ideas for your home. Crib Pesticides
robertdavis1
7th Dec, 2015
Want to grow your small business? On PortLandPolicy we share latest news about businessb trends , marketing and tips about how to improve your business. Port Policy
laarns
25th Jun, 2015
That is so mouth-watering! I want to eat my laptop right now!
stuhaigh
12th Jun, 2015
What about peanuts. Why only concentrate on the high cost products?
robertdavis1
8th Dec, 2015
Some genuinely good and utilitarian details on this web web site , also I believe the style and style holds very good features. Shares Procket
Fritz14
27th May, 2015
I have read your article and it's so helpful. So informative and I enjoyed reading it! Thanks for sharing it! Do more post and new article! http://trendyoursounds.com/buy-soundcloud-plays/

Pages

Be the first to ask a question about this recipe...Unsure about the cooking time or want to swap an ingredient? Ask us your questions and we’ll try and help you as soon as possible. Or if you want to offer a solution to another user’s question, feel free to get involved...
thehealthminded
26th Sep, 2014
Great information here on the value of nuts! I suffer from thyroid issues and throw a Brazil nut or two in my smoothies for all that great selenium you talk about here. I don't care for the taste too much of Brazil nuts, but I can't detect the taste blended up in the smoothie. http://www.thehealthminded.com/2014/09/four-new-ingredients-i-swirl-in-my.html