Novelist Franz Kafka (maybe a little nuts himself) explained the relationship between tree nuts and good health better than anyone: "God gives the nuts, but he does not crack them." That part is up to you, and boy, is it worth the effort!
Eating nuts regularly can help cool bodywide inflammation, reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome (a heart-risky precursor to type 2 diabetes), lower blood pressure, reduce heart attack risk by 30 percent to 50 percent, shrink your waist (more than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women means you're obese), aid digestion and protect your brain. Eating 2 to 4 ounces of nuts a day may lower total cholesterol by up to 21 percent and LDL by up to 29 percent.
So here's our scoop on nuts. And remember, substitute nuts for unhealthy carbs and fats in your diet: Don't add them to what you already eat.
- Almonds, 1 ounce equals 23 nuts; 160 calories; 6 g protein; 14 g fat (1 g saturated); more calcium than any other nut, vitamin E, riboflavin, magnesium and manganese.
- Hazelnuts, 1 ounce equals 21 nuts; 176 calories; 4 g protein; 17 g fat (1 g saturated); a good source of vitamin E, copper and manganese.
- Pecans, 1 ounce equals 19 halves; 195 calories; 3 g protein; 20 g fat (2 g saturated); a good source of manganese.
- Pistachios, 1 ounce equals 49 nuts; 160 calories; 6 g protein; 14 g fat (2 g saturated); and thiamin, B-6, copper and manganese.
- Walnuts, 1 ounce equals 14 halves; 185 calories; 4 g protein; 18 g fat (2 g saturated); the most alpha-lipoic acid of any nut, and the only nut with appreciable amounts of omega-3s, plus copper and manganese.