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Why You Should Diversify Your Nuts!

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Time to go nuts for nuts!

Nuts, in popular perception, range from “basically the healthiest food anyone can eat” to “basically high calorie salty snacks”. And, they can be either!

Some notes, then:

  • Raw is generally better that not
  • Dry roasted is generally better than the kind with added oils
  • Added salt is neither necessary nor good

Quick tip: if “roasted salted” are the cheapest or most convenient to buy, you can at least mitigate that by soaking them in warm water for 5 minutes, before rinsing and (if you don’t want wet nuts) drying.

You may be wondering: who does want wet nuts? And the answer is, if for example you’re making a delicious cashew and chickpea balti, the fact you didn’t dry them before throwing them in won’t make a difference.

Now, let’s do a quick run-down; we don’t usually do “listicles” but it seemed a good format here, so we’ve picked a top 5 for nutritional potency:


We may have a bias. We accept it. But almonds are also one of the healthiest nuts around, and generally considered by most popular metrics the healthiest.

Not only are they high in protein, healthy fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, but they’re even a natural prebiotic that increases the populations of healthy gut bacteria, while simultaneously keeping down the populations of gut pathogens—what more can we ask of a nut?

Read more: Prebiotic effects of almonds and almond skins on intestinal microbiota in healthy adult humans


Not only are these super tasty and fun to eat (and mindful eating is all but guaranteed, as shelling them by hand slows us down and makes us more likely to eat them one at a time rather than by the handful), but also they contain lots of nutrients and are lower in calories than most nuts, so they’re a great option for anyone who’d like to eat more nuts but is doing a calorie-controlled diet and doesn’t want to have half a day’s calories in a tiny dish of nuts.

See: Effects of Pistachio Consumption in a Behavioral Weight Loss Intervention on Weight Change, Cardiometabolic Factors, and Dietary Intake


Popularly associated with brain health (perhaps easy to remember because of their appearance), they really are good for the brain:

Check it out: Beneficial Effects of Walnuts on Cognition and Brain Health


A personal favorite of this writer for their versatility in cooking, food prep, or just as a snack, they also do wonders for metabolic health:

Learn more: The Effect of Cashew Nut on Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Brazil nuts

The most exciting thing about these nuts is that they’re an incredibly potent source of selenium, which is important not just for hair/skin/nails as popularly marketed, but also for thyroid hormone production and DNA synthesis.

But don’t eat too many, because selenium is definitely one of those “you can have too much of a good thing” nutrients, and selenium poisoning can make your hair (however beautiful and shiny it got because of the selenium) fall out if you take too much.

Know the numbers: Brazil nuts and selenium—health benefits and risks

Bottom line on nuts:

  • Nuts are a great and healthful part of almost anyone’s diet
    • Obviously, if you have a nut allergy, then we’re sorry; this one won’t have helped you so much
  • Almonds are one of the most healthful nuts out there
  • Brazil nuts are incredibly potent, to the point where moderation is recommended
  • A handful of mixed nuts per day is a very respectable option—when it comes to food and health, diversity is almost always good!

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