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Why You Should Eat More Nuts

Diet and Nutrition

May 31, 2024

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Photography by Vero./Stocksy United

Photography by Vero./Stocksy United

by Sarah Garone


Medically Reviewed by:

Amy Richter, RD


by Sarah Garone


Medically Reviewed by:

Amy Richter, RD


Nuts are among the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet. Here’s how nuts can help reduce inflammation and how to add them to your diet.

Crunchy, earthy, and loaded with plant-based protein and healthy fats, nuts have been a staple in the human diet for thousands of years. Today, these nuggets of nutrition still deserve our attention.

There are nutritional reasons to eat nuts, no matter what type of diet you follow. Here are some of those benefits, along with tasty ways to use them at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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What’s the deal with nuts?

Nuts contain an excellent breakdown of all three macronutrients (carbs, fat, and protein).

Their carbohydrates come partly from fiber, making them a good choice for digestion. Meanwhile, the fat is primarily unsaturated, which is the type that supports heart health and protects other organs.

Nuts also contain various micronutrients that support overall health. Each variety has a unique breakdown of vitamins and minerals, but you can expect to get vitamins E and K, magnesium, copper, potassium, and selenium from most nuts.

Antioxidants in nuts can also help your body tackle inflammation. Chronic inflammation is linked with several conditions, including cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes (T2D), and cognitive decline.

When it comes to chronic illness, the foods we fuel our bodies with can either increase or decrease inflammation. The antioxidants in nuts, known as polyphenols, help reduce inflammation by protecting your cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Tree nuts, pecans, and walnuts are among the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet.

According to a 2023 research review, eating a diet that includes nuts may improve blood glucose control and reduce the risk of heart disease for people living with type 2 diabetes.

Although nuts are relatively high in calories, people who eat more of them don’t tend to gain weight. According to another 2023 research review, nuts may be helpful for weight control. They’ve also been linked with healthier cholesterol levels.

All this excellent nutrition adds up to some impressive health benefits.

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6 nutritious nuts

If you’re ready to work more nuts into your meals and snacks, try starting with any of the following.

1. Almonds

Almonds are the little black dress of nuts. Their mild flavor fits in just about any dish, and they’re high in antioxidants, vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium.

Eating more almonds could help lower your cholesterol, increase your microbiome diversity, and reduce the appearance of facial aging. Eating almonds can also help reduce A1c levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

2. Cashews

These creamy, kidney-shaped nuts have been shown to lower triglycerides and reduce blood pressure. Cashews are also a great source of copper, manganese, and magnesium.

3. Pistachios

It wasn’t until 2020 that researchers discovered pistachios contain all nine essential amino acids, making them a complete protein — the kind the body can’t produce on its own.

In 1 ounce (about 49 nuts) there’s about 6 grams of protein. That’s about as much as a large chicken egg. Plus, research shows pistachios may help regulate blood sugar for people with T2D.

4. Walnuts

One thing that makes walnuts stand out is they’re the only tree nut that’s an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that has a cardioprotective effect and may help counteract cognitive impairment.

5. Pecans

Pecans are a tasty, buttery garnish and a surprising source of nutrition. They’re high in fiber, zinc, copper, and thiamine. According to a 2021 study, eating pecans may help improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

6. Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are known for their high selenium content. Selenium is an antioxidant mineral associated with immune health. Research on selenium intake and reduced risk of cancer, infertility, and cognitive decline is ongoing.

How to add more nuts into your diet

Nuts can add flavor, texture, and nutrition to all types of meals — while combating inflammation. Here are creative, simple ways to add nuts to your plate throughout the day.

Pro tip: Store your nuts in the freezer. Though most nuts can last nearly a year before spoiling, cold temperature helps prevent their fats from going rancid.


  • Sprinkle slivered almonds or chopped pecans onto oatmeal or a yogurt parfait.
  • Make a DIY granola with pistachios, walnuts, and/or hazelnuts.
  • Add a dollop of nut butter to your smoothie or a schmear on toast.


  • Top salads with your favorite chopped nuts.
  • Use crushed pistachios or cashews as a savory soup topping.
  • Toss pieces of walnuts, almonds, or pecans into chicken or tuna salad.


  • Make an easy trail mix with nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate pieces.
  • Pulse nuts in the food processor for a quick DIY butter you can spread on crackers.


  • Toss whole nuts into a stir-fry for an unexpected crunch.
  • Use hazelnuts to add richness to a breadcrumb coating on meats like chicken or steak.
  • Spruce up vegetable sides like roasted broccoli or steamed green beans with pecans, walnuts, or almonds.
  • Add dimension to grain dishes with toasted pieces of Brazil nuts, almonds, or pistachios.


  • Top ice cream with crushed nuts.
  • Bake nuts into cookies and brownies.
  • Make an easy fruit-and-nut dark chocolate bark: Melt the dark chocolate, then add nut pieces and small fruits like pomegranate nibs or unsweetened dried cherries. Spread it in a pan lined with parchment paper and chill. Break apart into bark.
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In your pursuit of healthy living, don’t forget about nuts! Nuts contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals that support whole-body health. They’re a minimally processed, high protein, low carb food that can round out all sorts of good-for-you dishes.

Plus, the antioxidants in nuts can help reduce inflammation, which we can all use a little less of these days.

Medically reviewed on May 31, 2024

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About the author

Sarah Garone

Sarah Garone is a nutritionist, freelance writer, and food blogger. Find her sharing down-to-earth nutrition info at A Love Letter to Food or follow her on Twitter.

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