10 Healthy Nuts And Seeds You Should Eat Everyday

Nuts are nature’s way of showing us that dynamite comes in small packages. They contain fiber, protein, B and E vitamins and a whole lot of… Simi - October 3, 2017

Nuts are nature’s way of showing us that dynamite comes in small packages. They contain fiber, protein, B and E vitamins and a whole lot of other minerals and antioxidants. They also have a high amount of monosaturated fats, the same ones found in olive oil. And they’re an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Including nuts and seeds in your diet is an easy, effective and tasty way of managing high cholesterol, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, dementia and Alzheimer’s, to name a few.

Depending on which list you read, the healthiest nut is either the walnut or the almond, but it’s difficult to rank them. In our opinion, the healthiest nuts are the ones that give your body the nutrients it needs on a particular day. It’s almost impossible to determine that so it’s best to include a variety of them in your diet.

Because they’re so versatile they can be ground, mashed, sprinkled or eaten just the way they are, out of a can or a jar. Just make sure you eat them raw. Exposing nuts to heat during the cooking process destroys the nutritional quality.

Most nuts are high in calories and fats so it’s best to not eat too many. Ideally, you should include small amounts of a combination of different nuts to get all the healthy benefits.

Here are the top 10 healthy nuts and seeds you should eat every day.

1. Almonds

Almonds are referred to as nuts but they’re actually the seeds of the almond tree. They are an off-white color, covered by brownish skin and covered in a hard shell. There are two types of almonds, sweet ones, and bitter ones. The sweet ones are edible, and delicious, while the bitter ones are used to make almond oil.

Almonds contain protein, fiber, calcium, zinc, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, copper, iron and some B vitamins. They’re also high in Vitamin E, the group of fat-soluble antioxidants, which protect your cell membranes from oxidative damage. Several studies link higher Vitamin E intake with lower rates of cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

The magnesium found in almonds can also help lower blood pressure levels. Because high blood pressure is one of the leading causes of strokes, kidney failure, and heart attacks it makes sense to include a handful of almonds in your diet. According to research, correcting a magnesium deficiency can lower your blood pressure, and as a result, reduce the risk of serious health issues.

Including almonds in your diet can help improve cardiovascular health, boost brain power, lower cholesterol, prevent birth defects, fight constipation, strengthen bones and reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Your hair and skin will benefit too.

Eating almonds reduce hunger, lowering your calorie intake. They’re low in carbs and high in fiber and protein too.

It only takes a handful of almonds a day to get all the benefits. Eat them raw or roasted; add them to salads, soups, and smoothies. People who are gluten and lactose intolerant can use almond flour, almond milk, and even almond butter.

2. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds have a smooth, glossy surface and a flat shape. They are a golden color or brown and yellow. Besides a nutty taste, flaxseeds are also quite sweet.

The reason they’re so good for you is that they’re rich in alpha-linolenic acid, lignans, and fiber. They also contain B vitamins, protein, copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, selenium, and phytochemicals. The high fiber content helps improve the digestive system, it curbs your appetite and assists with weight loss.

Flaxseeds contain high-quality plant-based proteins and research shows they help improve the immune system, lower cholesterol, prevent tumors and have anti-fungal properties. For vegetarians, or people planning to reduce the amount of red meat they eat, flaxseeds are a good substitute. They also make you feel full, so they’ll aid with weight loss.

Other benefits of this seed include easing the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), lowering cholesterol, protecting against heart disease, reducing the risk of cancer as well as stabilizing blood sugar levels.

The recommended serving size is 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds twice a day. You can grind them using a blender and add them to cereals or smoothies. Mix them into your yogurt, or add them to a cookie, bread or muffin batter. You can also use flaxseed oil as a salad dressing.

Note: Make sure you drink plenty of water when you are eating flaxseeds. Also, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and people taking blood thinners should avoid flaxseeds and flaxseed supplements.

3. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are the edible seeds of a pumpkin and some cultivars of squash. They’re flat, asymmetrically oval, light green in color and have a white hull. As far as taste goes, they have a creamy nutty flavor and are sweet.

They’re rich in B vitamins including riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, B6, thiamin, folate, and protein. Pumpkin seeds also have vitamins C, E and K, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, fiber, iron, phosphorous magnesium, and manganese. Not only are they lower in fat than other seeds, they’re packed with sitosterol avenasterol and sitostanol, all of which are phytosterols.

Eating pumpkin seeds regularly will boost your immune system, lower cholesterol, control blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of developing some cancers, improve your cardiovascular health and maintain healthy eyes, skin, and hair. They even fight anxiety and depression.

Diabetes is a growing concern for millions of people and one of the most important components in managing the disease is to regulate blood sugar levels. Pumpkin seeds are anti-diabetic, which means they can support healthy blood sugar regulation and control because of the ingredients D-chiro-inositol, Trigonelline, and Nicotinic acid.

Men who suffer from issues with their prostate glands should add pumpkin seeds to their diet and women and men who have overactive bladders, will benefit from pumpkin seeds too.

Because they’re so versatile, pumpkin seeds can be incorporated into your eating plan in a number of ways: eat them as they are as a healthy snack, sprinkle them on soups, in salads, smoothies, and yogurt or use them in your baking.

4. Walnuts

Walnuts are from any species of tree in the plant category Juglans. They are technically a drupe, meaning it takes the form of a fruit, enclosed by a fleshy skin with a seed inside.

Most people prefer to remove the outermost layer of a shelled walnut, the whitish, flakey part, because of its bitter taste. However, up to 90 percent of the antioxidants in walnuts are found in the skin, making it the healthiest part to eat.

They contain omega-3 fats and protein as well as high amounts of vitamin E, copper, manganese, biotin, amino acids, zinc, magnesium, calcium, potassium and selenium and important B-complex vitamins.

Walnuts have a high amount of monosaturated fats, specifically polyunsaturated fatty acids as well as alpha-linolenic acids. Including walnuts in your diet will help prevent coronary heart disease, lower bad cholesterol and increase levels of good cholesterol, as well as reduce the risk of high blood pressure.

For men and women, regularly snacking on walnuts will reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer, assist with weight control, boost brain health and manage diabetes. Of course, they’re good for your hair and skin too.

Including just 1 ounce (7 shelled walnuts) in your diet on a daily basis will provide you with all of these health benefits. Add them to any dish, salad, smoothie or soup, or tuck into them straight out of the packet.

5. Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are small, flat and oval in shape. They have a nutty taste and are crunchy. You can find them in a variety of colors such as red, black, white and yellow and their oil is resistant to rancidification, which means the flavor doesn’t change when the natural oils break down.

Like most seeds, they contain copper, calcium, iron, phosphorous, manganese, zinc, fiber and B vitamins, especially folate and niacin. They also contain sesamin and sesamolin.

Sesame seeds lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, promote bone health and protect against liver damage. They also reduce PMS symptoms. Arthritis, asthma, migraines, headaches, osteoporosis and certain cancers can also be prevented by including sesame seeds in your diet.

The magnesium found in these seeds reduces the chances of developing diabetes and manages the symptoms of patients that have been diagnosed with the condition. Sesame seed oil contributes to the effectiveness of diabetic medications by improving their functionality. It also regulates glucose and insulin levels.

Studies show that the high content of copper in sesame seeds reduces inflammation of the joints, bones, and muscles which eases the pain associated with arthritis. Copper also strengthens blood vessel walls, joints, and bones and helps with intake of iron. Having the correct copper content in the body maximizes circulation and ensures that all the vital organs in the body get enough oxygen to function properly.

Sesame seeds work well in various bread, crackers, and other baked products. You can sprinkle them on stir-fry dishes, soups, salads and a whole lot more. You can even make tahini with them.

The recommended daily allowance is 3 tablespoons on daily basis. It is important to exceed this limit as excessive amounts of sesame seeds can trigger migraines and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), especially if you’re sensitive to nuts and seeds.

6. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are small, oval and mottle-colored with black, white, gray and brown. The seeds are hydrophilic, which means they have an affinity for water, dissolve in it, and be mixed with it. They are able to absorb up to 12 times their weight when soaked in water or other liquids.

What makes chia seeds so popular is they have a high nutritional value with very few calories. “Chia” is the ancient “Mayan word for “strength”, and for good reason: they provide the body with sustainable energy. Even though the seed was a dietary staple for Mayans and the Aztec they’ve only recently earned their place as a modern-day superfood.

It’s easy to be fooled by their size, but they pack a huge nutritional punch. They’re rich in Vitamin C, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, protein, iron, and magnesium. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.

By adding chia seeds to your diet you can help reduce joint pain, aid with weight loss, increase energy levels, improve brain power, reduce depression, protect against diabetes, fight arthritis and keep the digestive system healthy. The risk of liver and heart disease is also reduced.

The recommended daily dietary allowance is 1 to 2 tablespoons. Make sure you don’t eat them in their raw form. They must be soaked in enough water or any other liquid for them to expand. Chia seeds can be sprinkled on top of salads or even toast. Add them to porridges and smoothies, soups, puddings and other baked goods.

A word of warning though, do not exceed the recommended daily amount as this could increase the risk of prostate cancer.

7. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are one of nature’s true miracles. Each sunflower head contains hundreds of edible seeds that are cone-shaped with a smooth surface. They are an excellent source of Vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant and they are a source of healthy fats, magnesium, fiber, potassium, protein, B vitamins, iron, calcium, zinc, folate, selenium, copper and phosphorous.

Selenium improves the detox process and prevents cancer. Laboratory studies have shown it is responsible for encouraging DNA repair and synthesis in damaged cells, which inhibits the spread of cancer cells. It also helps the body eliminate abnormal or worn-out cells.

By including sunflower seeds in your daily diet you can lower your blood pressure, prevent migraines, reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks. They are known to reduce the severity of asthma, calm nerves and anxiety, lower cholesterol and reduce the pain associated with arthritis. If that’s not enough they can prevent cancer and heart disease.

Sunflower seeds are a good source of magnesium, which helps with depression. Hundreds of years ago magnesium sulfate was given to patients with depression. Its success and its safety made it an excellent option. Today magnesium plays an important role in homeopathic therapies for mental health.

The recommended serving is ¼ cup daily. Because they’re so delicious and versatile they can be used in a number of ways. Add them to tuna, chicken or turkey recipes, sprinkle them over mixed green salads, and hot or cold cereals. To give your scrambled eggs a unique test and texture you can add sunflower seeds, or use fine ground seeds to dust your meat as a substitute for flour.

If you’re feeling particularly enthusiastic you can grind them to make sunflower seed butter.

8. Cashew Nuts

Cashew nuts aren’t actually nuts; they’re kidney-shaped seeds that stick to the bottom of cashew apples, the fruit that comes from a cashew tree. They are a white and cream color with a delicate texture. Cashew nuts have a sweet and crunchy taste.

They’re an excellent source of copper, zinc, biotin, potassium, folate, protein, magnesium as well as vitamins A, K, and E. They have a low sodium content and a high concentration of fiber and oleic acid. Also, they’re a good source of healthy fat, monosaturated fats.

The nutrients in cashew nuts provide energy, lower cholesterol, manage Type 2 diabetes and reduce the symptoms associated with PMS. Over and above these benefits, they improve cardiovascular health and maintain healthy hair, skin, and eyes.

Although cashews are high in fat, it’s the good kind, which means they assist with weight loss. Studies show that people who eat nuts twice a week are less likely to gain weight than those who don’t.

Treating yourself to a handful of cashew nuts has the same effect as taking prescribed anti-depressants. This is because of the amino acid L-tryptophan, which is broken down into serotonin and niacin, two compounds that help with anxiety and promote a sense of well-being. However, if you plan to stop any prescribed medication it is essential you consult with your doctor. As wonderful as nuts are they might not play the same role as your medicine.

Eat a small handful of cashews every day, preferably raw ones. Add them to any sweet or savory dishes, as well as smoothies and baked goods. Even though they’re healthy and contain the good kind of fats, it’s best to not over-indulge.

Recent studies show that certain nuts can prevent cancer but it is best for cancer patients to avoid cashew nuts because of potential levels of fungus.

9. Brazil Nuts

Like many of the nuts on this list, brazil nuts are technically seeds. They come from the Bertholletia excelsa tree and develop inside a large shell that looks very similar to a coconut. When it’s cut open there is more than one nut inside.

Of all the nuts, Brazil nuts are one of the richest sources of mineral selenium. They are also particularly high in protein, vitamin E, several B-complex vitamins, magnesium, iron, copper, niacin, and zinc. They are also a good source of monosaturated fats and they have no gluten protein.

They assist with the prevention of breast cancer as well as other types, heart disease, premature aging and cirrhosis of the liver. Including the correct amount of brazil nuts will also improve cardiovascular health, reduce arthritis symptoms, lower bad cholesterol levels, fight anemia, manage Type 2 diabetes and even protect skin from sun damage.

The selenium found in Brazil nuts helps with thyroid control. Your thyroid helps control your body temperature, heart rate, and metabolism. In order for it to work properly and keep you well, selenium is essential. Recent studies show there is a direct link between selenium deficiency and thyroid metabolism, which is why adding Brazil nuts to your diet is so important.

While it’s not necessarily health-related, Brazil nuts can help with the treatment of acne. Because of the high zinc content they protect against acne or lessen its appearance. You can either eat them or even apply Brazil nut oil to the affected areas. The rich vitamin and antioxidant content of the oil are what give it its protective quality.

By eating 1 to 2 Brazil nuts a day you can impact your health in a positive way. The cream flavor makes them a tasty addition to a wide range of dishes.

10. Pine Nuts

Although used as nuts in the culinary world, in the botanical world, pine nuts (also known as cedar nuts) are the edible seeds of pine trees. They feature a tough, dark brown outer coat or shell with an edible cream white kernel that has a delicate buttery flavor and sweet taste.

Pine nuts have vitamins A, B, D, and E and provide 70 percent of the body’s daily requirement of amino acids. They contain the highest amount of proteins found in any nut. They also have the highest concentration of oleic acid, a healthy monosaturated fat. They also contain magnesium, manganese, calcium, zinc, potassium, iron and some fiber.

As far as pine nuts go, the high antioxidants protect the body against free radicals. They improve cardiovascular health, reduce high cholesterol levels, and protect the arteries from damage. These powerful little nuts help increase the blood’s hemoglobin levels and help relieve tension and fatigue.

Pine nuts also contain a carotenoid called lutein. It helps you ward off eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration or AMD. The macula is a small area that is only two millimeters wide and is located at the back of your eye, in the middle part of the retina. Scientists haven’t yet pinpointed why parts of the retina and macula become diseased but they do know that foods rich in lutein can reduce the risk of AMD.

They are a healthy, low-calorie snack and the suggested daily amount is 2 to 3 teaspoons. The mild and nutty flavor works well with vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes and you can add them to baked goods.