Nuts are a healthy, natural food packed with heart-healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. But not all nuts are created equal.
With Sunday marking National Nut Day, take a look at the best and worst nuts for your health.
All nuts are about equal in terms of calories per ounce, but cashews (16 to 18 nuts; 5 grams protein, 13 grams fat); and pistachios (49 nuts; 6 grams protein, 13 grams fat) are the lowest-calorie nuts.
So are almonds (23 nuts; 6 grams protein, 14 grams fat). In fact, not only are they low in calories, almonds have more calcium than any other nut, making them a great food for overall health.
Macadamia nuts (10 to 12 nuts; 2 grams protein, 21 grams fat) have the most calories -- 200 each -- along with the lowest amounts of protein and the highest amounts of fats, making it one of the least healthy nuts.
Pecans are good for men's health. They're loaded with beta-sitosterol, a plant steroid that may help relieve symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate. One ounce of pecans (18 to 20 halves) contains about 200 calories, 21 grams fat, and 3 grams protein.
While all nuts contain heart-healthy omega-3 fats, walnuts (14 halves contain 185 calories, 18 grams fat, 4 grams protein) have high amounts of alpha linoleic acid (ALA). Research has suggested that ALA may help heart arrhythmias.
Technically legumes but generally referred to as nuts, peanuts are high in folate -- a mineral essential for brain development that may protect against cognitive decline. Like most other nuts, peanuts are also full of brain-boosting healthy fats and vitamin E. 28 unshelled nuts contain about 170 calories, 7 grams protein, and 14 grams fat.
Though technically a soy bean and not a a nut, soy nuts are a nutrition powerhouse and are rich in protein, fiber, healthy fats and other essential nutrients that your body needs for good health.
What's the best way to consume nuts? It's important to know what kinds of nuts to eat, but also important to pay attention to how you eat them. Nuts are a great thing to eat when you're having a carbohydrate, like cereal.
To read more about the best and worst nuts, visit http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20585485,00.html.