Going nuts for nuts! Five nuts great for snacking!

Nuts in bowls

As a nutritionist, I always advise to make healthier decisions when it comes to choosing meals and snacks, and there is no doubt that nuts and seeds are at the top of my ‘better choices’ list. Nuts are high in fat (monounsaturated & polyunsaturated fats – the “good” fats) and are a great source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, and even some protein. Although eating nuts isn’t associated with weight management, some studies suggest that eating nuts and seeds is linked to longevity, to a reduction of risk of chronic disease and to better overall health.

As mentioned above, the high fat content makes this snack a bit tricky; it has a lot of health benefits, but you can’t eat too much of it since it is a caloric dense food. The key, as always, is moderation.


What kind of nuts are best for you?
1. Almonds

Edible seeds of the almond tree, native to the Middle East but produced largely all over the world. High in fiber, protein, healthy fats and calcium, and low in saturated fat. They might help in cholesterol control, blood sugar control and weight control (the latter hasn’t been proved distinctively in several studies). Almonds are high in antioxidants which can protect your cells from oxidative damage, a major contributor to aging and some chronic diseases. Furthermore, almonds are high in magnesium content, a mineral that is linked to blood pressure control.

• A 30g serving of raw almonds (about 20 pieces) will provide: 6g of protein, 15g of fat, 3.5g of fiber, 170 calories, and a good amount of vitamin E, magnesium and calcium.


2. Pistachios

Members of the cashew family, native to Central Asia and the Middle East, they may improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk for disease-related-factors such as weight and blood pressure levels.

• A 30g serving of raw pistachios (about 25-30 pieces) will provide: 6g of protein, 3g of fiber, 13g of fat, a good amount of calcium, potassium and some iron.

Peeled Pistachios


3. Peanuts

Belong to the legumes family but considered part of the nuts and seeds family; grow mainly in tropical and subtropical areas. Unfortunately, commonly consumed salted or as processed peanut butter. Rich in protein, fiber, and a lot of essential vitamins and minerals: including biotin, copper, niacin, folate, manganese, vitamin E, thiamin, phosphorus, and magnesium. It is better to eat peanuts raw or as unsalted raw peanut butter to avoid added salt, sugar and preservatives.

• A 30g serving of raw peanuts will provide: 8g of protein, 2.5g of fiber, 15g of fat, 170 calories and 1/5mg of iron.


4. Walnuts

Tree nuts, native to the Mediterranean region and Central Asia. Believed to have been a part of the human diet for thousands of years. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which are essential and incredibly important for your body and brain health; may reduce depression and anxiety, improve focus, brain health, eye health, improve immune function and even some ADHD symptoms.

• A 30g serving of raw walnuts (about 8 halves) will provide: 5g of protein, 2g of fiber, 20g of fat, 190 calories, 1mg of iron, 11mg of LA and 2.5g of ALA.


5. Cashews

Edible of another tropical tree nut. Very popular in the vegan diet due to the delicate sweet taste and texture when making pastes and cheeses. Rich in protein, iron, vitamin E and vitamin K which is important for blood clotting.

• A 30g serving of raw cashews (about 15 pieces) will provide: 5g of protein, 2g of iron, 14g of fat and 170 calories.


The bottom line is that nuts and seeds are a great option for a healthy snack between meals or as a crunchy addition to your meal. Their great content of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals can benefit your health in a variety of way.
Keep in mind that nuts and seeds are nutrient-dense but also calorie-dense, so limit yourself to no more than one serving per day. Enjoy the incredible health benefits while controlling your intake and waistline.

Noam Bechar Nature Remedies consultant Noam Bechar Clinical & Sports Nutritionist