Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy fats and one of my favorite snacks!  They are loaded with vitamins, minerals and incredible health benefits.  The oils from seeds and nuts are ideal for cooking on a Ketogenic diet.  Nuts and seeds are packed with antioxidants too!  They can be used in cooking a multitude of dishes, but are fantastic all on their own.

 

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts have the highest fat and lowest protein and carb content of any nut, and they also happen to be one of my favorites. Raw macadamia nuts also contain high amounts of vitamin B1, magnesium, and manganese.

Just one serving of macadamia nuts net 58 percent of what you need in manganese, and 23 percent of the recommended daily value of thiamin. Moreover, about 60 percent of the fatty acid in macadamia is the monounsaturated fat oleic acid. This is about the level found in olives, which are well known for their health benefits.

Pecans

Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals, and research has shown they may help lower LDL cholesterol and promote healthy arteries.

Pecans are a close second to macadamia nuts on the fat and protein scale, and they also contain anti-inflammatory magnesium, heart healthy oleic acid, phenolic antioxidants, and immune-boosting manganese.

Walnuts

One-quarter cup of walnuts provides more than 100 percent of the daily-recommended value of anti-inflammatory plant-based omega-3 fats, along with high amounts of copper, manganese, molybdenum, and biotin.

They also contain the amino acid l-arginine, which offers multiple vascular benefits to people with heart disease, or those who have increased risk for heart disease due to multiple cardiac risk factors.

Walnuts contain antioxidants that are so powerful at free-radical scavenging that researchers called them “remarkable,” and research has shown that walnut polyphenols may help prevent chemically-induced liver damage.

Two handfuls a day of walnuts may help prevent both prostate and breast cancer and may curb tumor growth.  It can also support brain health, including increasing inferential reasoning in young adults.

The outermost layer of a shelled walnut has a bitter flavor, but resist the urge to remove it. It’s thought that up to 90 percent of the antioxidants in walnuts are found in the skin, making it one of the healthiest parts to consume.

Almonds

Like walnuts, one of the healthiest aspects of almonds appears to be their skins, as they are rich in antioxidants including phenols, flavonoids, and phenolic acids, which are typically associated with vegetables and fruits.

A 1 ounce serving of almonds has a similar amount of total polyphenols as a cup of steamed broccoli or green tea.

They’re also notably beneficial for your heart health.

Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts offer many of the same benefits of other nuts – healthy fats, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, they’re most notable for being an excellent source of organic selenium, a powerful antioxidant-boosting mineral that may be beneficial for the prevention of cancer.

They also have a beneficial high fat and low protein content, behind only macadamias and pecans.

Pistachios

Pistachios are high in lutein, beta-carotene, and gamma-tocopherol (vitamin E) compared to other nuts. Eating one or two servings of pistachios a day has been shown, in fact, to increase blood levels of antioxidants and, in turn, lower oxidized LDL cholesterol in people with elevated levels.

Research has also shown that diets containing pistachios reduce systolic blood pressure and vascular responses to stress in adults with high cholesterol.

 

Be aware that most pistachios are bleached, so to avoid potentially harmful residues it’s important to look for organic pistachios (see the section on organic nuts below for more details). Pistachios are also one of the higher protein nuts, so they should be eaten in moderation.

Pumpkin Seeds

With a wide variety of nutrients ranging from magnesium and manganese to copper, protein, and zinc, pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses wrapped up in a very small package.

They also contain plant compounds known as phytosterols and free-radical scavenging antioxidants, which can give your health an added boost.

Pumpkin seeds have long been valued as an important natural food for men’s health. This is in part because of their high zinc content, which is important for prostate health (where it is found in the highest concentrations in the body).

This is also because pumpkin seed extracts and oils may play a role in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, or enlarged prostate).

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, copper, B vitamins, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Sunflower seeds also contain one of the highest levels of phytosterols of commonly consumed nuts and seeds. Phytosterols are beneficial for your heart health and immune system, and may help lower cancer risk as well.

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