Nuts are a good source of healthful fats, fiber, and other beneficial nutrients. Each type of nut offers different nutritional benefits.

In this article, we recommend the most healthful types of nut to eat based on their protein content and the other nutritional benefits that they offer.

Peanuts

Eating peanuts is an excellent way for people to boost the amount of protein in their diet. Peanuts are widely available and provide several essential nutrients.

Although peanuts are technically a legume, which means that they belong to a group of foods from a specific plant family, most people consider them as a nut.

Peanuts contain a range of polyphenols, antioxidants, flavonoids, and amino acids. Research has shown all of these components to be beneficial to human health.

Almonds

Almonds have become increasingly popular in recent years, and they are now readily available in many places. They contain slightly less protein than peanuts, but make up for it with other nutrients.

Almonds may be the perfect snack for people who are looking for a healthful, protein-rich alternative to potato chips or pretzels.

Pistachios

Pistachios contain plenty of protein and other vital nutrients. They are also a source of healthful fatty acids and antioxidants.

The popular green nut is technically a seed of the pistachio tree, but people generally view it as a nut due to its appearance and feel.

A study published in Nutrition Today noted that eating pistachios has a beneficial effect on blood pressure and endothelial function, which may lead to a reduced risk of heart-related health issues.

Healthful monounsaturated fatty acids and PUFAs make up most of the fat content in pistachios.

While pistachios offer fewer minerals than some other nuts, they contain a substantial 1,025 mg of potassium per 100 g.

Cashews

Cashews are rich in monounsaturated fats.

Cashews have a creamy texture that makes them a great addition to many dishes and snacks.

As reported by the USDA, 100 g of cashews contains 553 calories and the following nutrients:

  • protein : 18.22 g
  • fat : 43.85 g
  • carbohydrate : 30.19 g
  • fiber : 3.30 g
  • sugar : 5.91 g

Most of the fats in cashews are monounsaturated fats.

Walnuts

Walnuts are higher in calories than some other nuts despite being lower in carbohydrates than many of them. The high calorie count is due to the very high fat content.

However, the fats in walnuts are predominantly PUFAs, which may offer several health benefits.

While walnuts are known for their healthful fat content, they are a good source of protein and other nutrients as well.

Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts have a distinctive flavor that makes them a favorite in sweet foods.

Hazelnuts contain less protein than other nuts but may make up for it with other health benefits.

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology, hazelnuts may help reduce cholesterol.

Can you eat too many nuts?

Eating nuts is beneficial for health as they may protect against risk factors for heart disease and other health conditions. However, it is possible to eat too many nuts.

Nuts are very high in calories, so eating a large number of nuts throughout the day can cause people to exceed their target calorie intake without realizing it. Doing so regularly may lead to weight gain.

Nuts are also high in healthful fats, which are good for the body in moderation but can cause diarrhea and other issues in excess.

Roasted, salted nuts can add at least as much sodium to the diet as other salty snacks. Anyone eating salted nuts should pay attention to the label to see how much sodium they are eating. Raw or dry-roasted nuts are a more healthful alternative.

Some people may find that nuts upset their digestive system. In this case, eating too many nuts may cause them to feel gassy, cramped, or bloated. Nuts are also a common dietary allergy.