Health Benefits of Nuts According to Science

According to scientific research, there are lots of health benefits of nuts. Do you include them in your diet? Find out why you should in this article!
Health Benefits of Nuts According to Science

Last update: 06 January, 2021

Although nuts have a lot of calories, there are lots of health benefits of nuts according to science. In fact, they have lots of essential nutrients, including a high amount of proteins, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins B and E.

Discover all of their properties in this article!

Remember, the basis of a healthy diet is variety. In this sense, it’s important to introduce different types of nuts to take advantage of all of their benefits. Each type has different amounts of nutrients.

The health benefits of nuts according to science

Nuts are a generic group of foods that are actually grains, seeds, or fruits. They all have a low water concentration and a high fat concentration. The American Heart Association recommends eating a daily portion of nuts that’s about 1.5 ounces, which is roughly a handful.

The healthiest option is to eat them naturally, without roasting or frying, with the shell, without additives, and without salt. Then, you can take advantage of all the properties of fatty acids and antioxidant compounds.

Different types of nuts.

Health benefits of nuts: Weight control

Nuts help maintain weight despite being high in calories. Let’s take a look at the calories they provide in each 100-gram serving, approximately 4.5 ounces:

  • Macadamia nuts: 718 kcal
  • Walnuts: 650 kcal
  • Pine nuts: 629 kcal
  • Hazelnuts: 628 kcal
  • Almonds: 575 kcal
  • Peanuts: 571 kcal
  • Pistachios: 557 kcal
  • Cashews: 550 kcal
  • Chestnuts: 213 kcal

Also, keep in mind that, in general, we eat about 1.5 oz, as we mentioned before. Therefore, we consume fewer calories. Despite this, nuts are not associated with greater weight, as shown in this study from the European Journal of Nutrition.

During the study, they observed more than three hundred thousand people. In the end, they concluded that those who ate the most nuts for five years gained less weight.

Why is this?

Nuts are very filling, thanks to their protein, fiber, and fat content.

In fact, nuts make you eat less in other meals, compensating up to 65-75% of the calories ingested. Therefore, they help you stick to a healthy diet since the brain still thinks they’re pleasant foods!

Health benefits of nuts for the cardiovascular system

Nuts are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Therefore, they are a good food supplement to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and heart diseases.

Specifically, they have the ability to lower total cholesterol and “bad cholesterol” or LDL. Also, it maintains or slightly increases the “good cholesterol” or HDL.

We see this in this study, which summarizes the results of several larger studies. Here, the higher the consumption of nuts, the lower the mortality from coronary heart disease.

The nuts that have the most omega-3s are walnuts. In fact, they help reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as lower blood pressure. Also, hazelnuts and almonds lower blood lipid and homocysteine levels.

Cholesterol in the arteries.

Health benefits of nuts: They help intestinal transit

Fiber shortage is one of the main causes of constipation. With 10.6% of this nutrient, pistachios are good friends of healthy intestines. Also, almonds and pistachios, especially when eating the skin, can act as prebiotics, improving the diversity of microbiota.

Nuts lower your risk of developing diabetes and metabolic syndrome

According to science, including nuts in the diet, at least twice a week, is associated with a 32% reduction in the risk of developing metabolic syndrome and diabetes, as this study published in Nutrients shows.

On the other hand, they are rich in trace elements, minerals that the body needs in minimal amounts, especially magnesium. This is an adjunct to insulin resistance, which helps prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.

Cashews, with 292 mg per 100 g, are the ones that provide the most magnesium. Meanwhile, pistachios also stand out for their high potassium content (1025 mg). Also, deficiency can make it harder to control diabetes.

A person checking their blood sugar.

Nuts can help improve cognitive function

Another of the health benefits of nuts is their possible power to prevent dementia. Walnuts have lots of neuroprotective compounds like vitamin E, folates, melatonin, polyphenols, and omega-3s.

They can help prevent bone ailments

Almonds are the nuts with the most calcium, specifically 269 mg per 100 g. Therefore, they’re a good option to increase levels of this mineralAlso, they prevent osteoporosis or bone discomfort.

Additionally, pine nuts have a significant amount of zinc, 6.45 g per 100 g, which helps form and mineralize bones and joints

Eat nuts frequently

Did you know these health benefits of nuts? Do you already include them in your diet?

Remember, you can enjoy them as part of your breakfast or snacks. The most important thing is to moderate the portions so you don’t exceed the recommended number of calories.

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  • Ros E. (2010). Health benefits of nut consumption. Nutrients2(7), 652–682.
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  • Hernández-Alonso, P., Camacho-Barcia, L., Bulló, M., & Salas-Salvadó, J. (2017). Nuts and Dried Fruits: An Update of Their Beneficial Effects on Type 2 Diabetes. Nutrients9(7), 673.