They say good things come in small packages and nuts are the perfect example as they're packed with nutritional value including heart-healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Great for snacks or an added ingredient to main meals.
It's the combination of omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fibre in nuts that help you to feel fuller and suppress your appetite. The lowest calorie nuts are almonds, cashews and pistachios all of which contain a good amount of protein. Macadamia and pecans have the most calories and fat and the least amount of protein, however as long as you manage your portion control they are still good nuts.
Walnuts have high amounts of alpha linoleic acid (ALA) which research has suggested may help heart arrhythmias. A study carried out in Spain in 2006 indicated that walnuts were as effective as olive oil at reducing inflammation and oxidation in the arteries after eating a fatty meal. The authors of this study recommended eating approximately 8 walnuts a day to achieve similar benefits. Walnuts are also high in antioxidants and are a good source of the mineral molybdenum and the B vitamin biotin.
Peanuts are good brain food. They are actually legumes but generally tend to fall into the nut category. Peanuts are high in folate, which is a mineral essential for brain development and may also protect against cognitive decline. Alongside most other nuts, peanuts are full of brain-boosting healthy fats and vitamin E and also have a good level of protein. Be careful of allergies though as peanuts seem to be the worst offender for this!
Take note though, nuts are high in fat and calories, so go easy and consume them sensibly. A handful as a snack is a great way to keep yourself going between meals but too many can fill you up and also push up your fat/calorie intake. It's all about getting the balance right. Be careful to avoid nuts that are coated in sugary or salty mixes as this reduces the natural health benefits that nuts provide you with. The best way to enjoy them is as nature intended...as they come.