The 7 Best Nuts for Your Health and Performance

STACK Expert and registered dietitian Katie Moore outlines the nutritional and health benefits of 7 nuts.

Nuts are bite-sized powerhouses loaded with good fat, protein, vitamins and minerals to keep you fueled. These concentrated sources of energy deliver around 160 to 200 calories per small handful, making them a perfect on-the-go snack. Nut butters are also great options, and they can easily be mixed into smoothies, added to fruit, or spread between two slices of bread for a quick and easy meal.

But this doesn't mean you can eat as many nuts as you want. Not all nuts are healthy, and they're all high in calories, best eaten in moderation, raw or dry roasted, and in combination with whole grains for complete protein and essential amino acids. Eat a variety, because they have different health benefits.

Health Benefits

1. Walnuts

Possibly the best nut for heart health, walnuts are highest in omega-3 fatty acids, and they have nearly twice as many antioxidants as any other nut. Because of their high fat content, walnuts go bad the fastest. Keep them refrigerated if the shells have been removed. 14 halves = 185 calories

RELATED: Performance Benefits Of Walnuts

2. Almonds

Light in flavor, almonds are highest in calcium, which supports strong, healthy bones, and fiber, which helps you feel full longer. They are also high in protein and magnesium. 23 almonds = 160 calories

3. Peanuts

Technically, peanuts are a legume, offering different amino acids than nuts. Peanuts are a protein star, providing the highest quantity of protein of all the nuts listed. They are also a great source of folate, which supports healthy blood cells and proper nerve function. 28 peanuts = 170 calories; 1 tbs of peanut butter = about 95 calories

4. Pistachios

This nut is among the highest in potassium and vitamins A and B6, which makes it a very nutritious option. Pistachios are also high in zeaxanthin, a carotenoid that can prevent macular degeneration. 49 pistachios = 160 calories

5. Cashews

This nut has the least amount of fat and is high in magnesium and iron, which athletes need for energy production and healthy red blood cells. 16-18 cashews = 160 calories.

6. Brazil Nuts

One Brazil nut provides more than 100 percent of your daily selenium requirement. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant, which protects cells from damage. Too much selenium can be a big problem though, so limit your intake and never eat more than 1 ounce, or 6 nuts, which is 186 calories.

7. Pecans and Macadamia Nuts

High fat content gives these nuts a creamy, buttery taste as well as the highest calorie count. They are a lot higher in unhealthy saturated fat and have the least amount of protein. You can eat these nuts on occasion, but there are healthier alternatives for every day. 20 pecan halves = 196 calories and 10 macadamia nuts = 204 calories.

RELATED: How Healthy Are Your Favorite Nuts?

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