Are Tree Nuts a Good Addition to a Healthy Diet?

Raw macadamia nuts

Did you know that you can possibly improve your brain’s cognitive functioning by eating nuts? In one eight week study of 64 healthy adults, it was found that the regular consumption of walnuts improved the volunteer’s comprehension. But wait, you might think, aren’t nuts full of fat and therefore bad for you? The truth is that no matter which types of nuts you’re consuming, they do have a high fat content relative to their mass. Even so, nuts should not be completely excluded from your diet because of the health benefits they can offer.

Does the Nutritional Value of Nuts Overshadow Their Caloric Density?

People love low-calorie and low-fat food items. Nuts, of course, are calorically dense and high in fat. But this is the very reason why nuts and seeds are good for you: they are high in vitamins and minerals, and their fat is plant-based. Here’s how you can add more nuts into your diet.

Pecan Nuts: Not Just For Pie.

Pecan nuts health benefits include helping you increase your daily antioxidant intake. At the Loma Linda University in California, it was found that participants blood antioxidant levels were higher for 24 hours after eating a serving of pecans. Pecan nuts health benefits are similar to other nuts, in that they also offer fiber, vitamins, and minerals in every bite.

Pecans are popular in sweet dishes such as pies and pralines due to their sweet crunch. Pecan nuts health benefits are easier to reap when sprinkled over a salad, or tossed in with a handful of other nuts and dried fruit for a trail mix. Pecans are also excellent lightly toasted and tossed with cinnamon and sugar for a sweeter snack.

Peanuts: America’s Staple.

Peanuts are probably the most popular nut, which is amusing because technically the peanut is a legume. In fact, about 67% of all nut consumption in the U.S. comes from peanuts and peanut butter. Long-favored for its rich flavor, peanuts are a healthy snack because of their nutrient profile. A one-ounce serving of peanuts contains nearly 2.5 grams of fiber and just over 7 grams of protein.

About 90% of households regularly consume peanut butter, although that probably has more to do with taste and convenience than peanut health benefits. While a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a nostalgic favorite for many, there are many ways to add peanuts to your diet. Try adding a heaping spoon to simmering coconut milk as a base for soup.

Clearly, if you are allergic to peanuts or tree nuts, adding them to your diet is not a good idea. But for the rest of us there is no reason to exclude them from our diets. To do so would deprive us of easy to access essential vitamins and minerals. They don’t need to be the basis of your meal, just a nice crunchy garnish. Your health and taste buds will thank you.