6 Healthiest Nuts to Eat, According to Registered Dietitians (2023)

Small but mighty, nuts are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet and have been part of the human diet for centuries. While each individual nut has a distinct taste and slightly different nutritional composition, all nuts are sources of plant-based protein, healthy fats and essential vitamins and minerals.

More and more research continues to show the nutritional benefits of incorporating nuts into your diet, from protecting against chronic diseases to promoting longevity. But are some nuts considered nutritionally superior to others? We consulted nutrition experts to share their top picks for the healthiest nuts to eat. When incorporating these nuts into your diet, aim for unsalted and unsweetened varieties when possible.

1. Walnuts

6 Healthiest Nuts to Eat, According to Registered Dietitians (1)

Nutrition Facts (1 oz, about 28 g or 14 halves):

  • 190 calories
  • 18 g total fat
  • 1.5 g saturated fat
  • 4 g total carbohydrate
  • 2 g dietary fiber
  • 1 g total sugar
  • 4 g protein

    Walnuts are the only nut with an excellent source of plant omega-3 fatty acids says Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RDN, Author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean and owner of Bazilian’s Health in San Diego. While some other nuts contain small amounts of omega-3s, Bazilian points out that none of them even approach the levels in walnuts.

    Another important aspect of walnuts is their polyphenol content. "Based on research that evaluated tree nuts and peanuts, walnuts have the greatest amount of polyphenols, which are beneficial plant compounds that may play a role in a variety of diseases and health outcomes," Bazilian notes. Research findings show that when compared to control diets, walnut-enriched diets resulted in significantly greater decreases in total and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

    Bazilian also shares that walnuts contain prebiotics, an indigestible fiber that fuels probiotics that has been shown to positively impact gut bacteria. She points out that walnuts contain melatonin as well, an important plant compound that plays a role in helping maintain healthy circadian rhythms and supporting quality sleep. And fascinating research from UCLA suggests that walnuts can play a role in male fertility.

    Get creative: Try incorporating walnuts into grain dishes like quinoa, wheat berries or couscous. Bazilian likes making pesto with half walnuts and half pine nuts, and she says that they also work great in stir-fries with snap peas and shrimp. Chopped walnuts can even be used as a plant-based alternative to ground beef or turkey since they have a similar look and feel.

    2. Brazil Nuts

    Nutrition Facts (1 oz, about 28 g or 6 kernels):

    • 187 calories
    • 19 g total fat
    • 5 g saturated fat
    • 3 g total carbohydrate
    • 1 g total sugar
    • 2 g dietary fiber
    • 4 g protein

    This nut that grows on trees in the Amazonian rain forest may not be as well-known as others on the list, but is a true nutritional powerhouse. With a smooth texture and delicate taste, this larger nut is an excellent source of various antioxidants and vitamins. Brazil nuts are a standout for their selenium content, a nutrient with many roles and antioxidant properties including protecting the body from oxidative damage and infection.

    Just one Brazil nut contains anywhere from 68–91 mcg selenium per nut which meets over 100% of the recommended daily allowance for adults, and they contain 2,500 times as much selenium as any other nut. Research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition even found that consuming just two Brazil nuts daily was an effective replacement for selenium supplements. But don't overdo it with this potent nut since eating too many Brazil nuts can lead to selenium toxicity; stick with 1 or 2 daily to reap the nutritional benefits.

    Get creative: Enjoy Brazil nuts thrown into trail mix or add them chopped for a nice crunch in salads. Since they have a similar taste and feel to macadamia nuts, they can also be chopped and used in baked goods.

    3. Pistachios

    6 Healthiest Nuts to Eat, According to Registered Dietitians (3)

    Nutrition Facts (1 oz, about 28 g or 49 kernels):

    (Video) Top 5 Healthiest Nuts You Can Eat

    • 160 calories
    • 13 g total fat
    • 2 g saturated fat
    • 8 g total carbohydrate
    • 2 g dietary fiber
    • 2 g total sugars
    • 6 g protein

    "Pistachios are one of the highest protein snack nuts," says Maggie Moon, MS, RD, Associate Vice President of Nutrition Communications for Wonderful Pistachios. "They offer six grams of plant protein per serving that help fuel your body with essential amino acids." Plus, they pack in three grams of fiber per serving and about 90% of the fats found in pistachios are the better-for-you mono- and polyunsaturated types she says.

    Moon also points out that pistachios give you more nuts per serving (about 49 pistachios, compared to 23 almonds or 18 cashews). No shell pistachios are a kitchen staple and easy to add to any meal or snack, but in-shell pistachios may encourage you to slow down and eat more mindfully. "The leftover shells can be a visual cue for portions, potentially helping to curb intake," Moon shares.

    Get creative: Moon loves adding GH Nutritionist Approved Wonderful Pistachios to pastas for crunch, protein and fiber. She also recommends adding pistachios on tomato soup or chili and even says they blend well in smoothies since they are a softer nut.

    4. Almonds

    Nutrition Facts (1 oz, about 28 g or 23 kernels):

    • 165 calories
    • 14 g total fat
    • 1 g saturated fat
    • 6 g total carbohydrate
    • 4 g dietary fiber
    • 1 g total sugar
    • 6 g protein

    A snacking staple, almonds are also packed with plant-based protein but are a standout due to their excellent vitamin E content. "Vitamin E promotes healthy skin, nails and hair and is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight inflammation," says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com, author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table. She adds that recent studies have shown almonds play a role in prevention of wrinkles. "As a rich source of vitamin E, essential fatty acids and polyphenols, healthy aging can be addressed easily and deliciously by including almonds as a staple in your diet," says Taub-Dix.

    But their nutritional benefits don't just stop there. "Almonds are the lowest in saturated fat and highest in riboflavin, niacin, fiber and calcium," Taub-Dix shares. "They have also been shown to reduce harmful cholesterol levels (LDL cholesterol) and help stabilize blood sugar levels to help control diabetes."

    Get creative: Try sliced almonds in your breakfast omelet or tossed on your lunchtime salad. An almond crust on chicken or fish for dinner is exceptionally delicious and packs in a great crunch Taub-Dix adds. Her favorite are Blue Diamond Flavored Almonds, like Habanero BBQ and Honey Roasted, which add in delicious bold flavor.

    5. Pili Nuts

    6 Healthiest Nuts to Eat, According to Registered Dietitians (5)

    (Video) Registered dietitian reviews nuts and healthy weight loss | Best nut for you to eat!

    Nutrition Facts (30 g):

    • 210 calories
    • 24 g total fat
    • 9 g saturated fat
    • 1 g total carbohydrate
    • 1 g dietary fiber
    • 0 g total sugar
    • 3 g protein

    This creamy, buttery nut is grown in the volcanic soil of the Philippine peninsula. They are among the highest nut sources of magnesium, an important mineral for regulating muscle and nerve function, energy production, blood pressure control and bone health; a 30 g serving provides 89 mg magnesium or 20% of the daily value, making it an excellent source of the nutrient.

    Pili nuts are also packed with essential amino acids and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Compared to other nuts, this variety is the lowest in carbohydrates as well. They also contain 35% of the daily value for copper and 30% of the daily value for manganese.

    Get creative: Try pili nuts sprinkled on your morning oatmeal or smoothie bowl. They work great in yogurt parfaits and in chia pudding too for nice texture.

    6. Peanuts

    Nutrition Facts (1 oz, about 28 g)

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    • 161 calories
    • 14 g total fat
    • 2 g saturated fat
    • 5 g total carbohydrate
    • 2 g dietary fiber
    • 1 g total sugar
    • 7 g protein

    Although not technically a nut (peanuts belong to the legume family), this snacking staple has a similar nutrient profile to other nuts and packs in some great health benefits. Peanuts are an excellent source of niacin, an important B vitamin that helps to convert food to energy, as well as manganese which is important for processing cholesterol.

    But some of biggest peanut benefits are environmental; since they grow in the ground, peanuts use substantially less water than tree nuts to grow. Plus, they naturally replenish and enrich the soil with nitrogen. Options like GH Nutritionist Approved Hampton Farms Unsalted Fancy In-Shell Peanuts allow you to crack each shell open which is a fun stress reliever that may also allow you to slow down and eat more mindfully.

    Get creative: Peanuts pair great in stir-fry dishes and are an excellent addition to homemade granola. Peanut butter can be used for peanut sauce on noodles or as a dipping sauce for satay.

      Stefani Sassos, M.S., R.D.N., C.S.O., C.D.N.

      Nutrition Lab Deputy Director

      Stefani (she/her) is a registered dietitian, a NASM-certified personal trainer and the deputy director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab, where she handles all nutrition- and fitness-related content, testing and evaluation. She holds a bachelor's degree in nutritional sciences from Pennsylvania State University and a master's degree in clinical nutrition from NYU. Stefani is dedicated to providing readers with evidence-based content to encourage informed food choices and healthy living. She is an avid CrossFitter and a passionate home cook who loves spending time with her big fit Greek family.


      What are the 7 healthiest nuts to eat? ›

      7 healthiest nuts to eat
      • Walnuts. Walnuts are one of the ultimate superfoods, with evidence showing that they play a role in improving heart health, protecting the brain—they may even help fight breast and prostate cancers. ...
      • Almonds. ...
      • Pistachios. ...
      • Pecans. ...
      • Brazil nuts. ...
      • Peanuts. ...
      • Cashews.
      12 Feb 2016

      What is the unhealthiest nut? ›

      Worst nuts for your diet

      Ounce for ounce, macadamia nuts (10 to 12 nuts; 2 grams protein, 21 grams fat) and pecans (18 to 20 halves; 3 grams protein, 20 grams fat) have the most calories - 200 each - along with the lowest amounts of protein and the highest amounts of fats.

      What is the best nut for weight loss? ›

      The five best nuts that may help you lose weight are almonds, cashews, pistachios, hazelnuts, and walnuts. These nuts are rich in several essential nutrients that promote weight loss.

      Which nuts are best for cholesterol? ›

      Almonds and other tree nuts can improve blood cholesterol. A recent study concluded that a diet supplemented with walnuts can lower the risk of heart complications in people with history of a heart attack.

      What nuts are high in omega-3? ›

      Nuts and seeds loaded with omega-3 fatty acids
      • Walnuts. Walnut is loaded with several essential nutrients. ...
      • Flaxseeds. Flaxseeds are packed with essential nutrients and are helpful in providing these to vegetarians. ...
      • Pumpkin seeds. Many are not aware of the amazing health benefits pumpkin seeds can offer. ...
      • Peanuts. ...
      • Hazelnut.
      13 Aug 2020

      What happens if you eat cashews everyday? ›

      Research suggests that people who eat a small serving of cashews every day see a minor reduction in LDL "bad" cholesterol. In addition to lowering rates of LDL cholesterol, cashews may help to prevent heart disease due to their high magnesium content.

      Which is healthier walnuts or almonds? ›

      Nutritional comparison

      While their fat, carb, and protein contents vary slightly, almonds pack more minerals. However, walnuts take the lead when it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, specifically alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). In fact, they're the nut with the highest ALA content ( 1 , 2 , 3 ).

      Which nut is highest in protein? ›

      With 9.5 grams of protein per 1/4 cup (37 grams), peanuts beat out all other nuts on the list in terms of protein content.

      How many walnuts should I eat per day? ›

      Seven whole shelled nuts is the recommended amount of walnuts per day. The side effects of eating too many walnuts can be bloating or loosened stool, both of which don't sound very pleasant so it's best to limit yourself.

      How many almonds should you eat a day? ›

      23 almonds a day.

      When compared ounce for ounce, almonds are the tree nut highest in protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin and niacin. Just remember 1-2-3. 1 ounce of almonds, or about 23 almond nuts, is the ideal daily portion recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

      How much walnuts should I eat a day? ›

      Eating 2 to 3 oz of walnuts a day as part of a healthful diet could be a good way to improve gut health and reduce the risk of heart disease.”

      Who should avoid eating nuts? ›

      05/6​Those who have difficulty in swallowing

      Young children and some older people, who have difficulty in swallowing should also avoid nuts as it could increase the risk of choking. People suffering from dementia, Parkinson's disease, and reduced mobility may have a higher risk of aspiration.

      What nuts help lower blood pressure? ›

      Tree nuts -- hold the salt! -- like walnuts and almonds can be a great source of healthy fats that help your heart. But for high blood pressure, your best pick is pistachios. They seem to have the strongest effect on lowering both your top and bottom blood pressure readings.

      Which nuts are hardest to digest? ›

      Peanuts are hard to digest because they are legumes, not a nut and we all know legumes (beans) cause gas. The “other” nuts (tree nuts) can cause problems because after chewing them you have little pieces with sharp edges. Nuts are an easy “go to” food for many people looking for a quick snack.

      Should you avoid nuts when trying to lose weight? ›

      Regularly eating nuts as part of a healthy diet is not associated with weight gain, and may even help you lose weight. However, it's important to exercise portion control. Public health guidelines recommend eating a one-ounce (28-gram) portion of nuts on most days of the week.

      Which nuts is good for brain? ›

      Nuts like almonds, pistachios and macadamias each bring something special to the table. Almonds help improve memory, pistachio nut oils help preserve fatty acids and prevent inflammation, and macadamias contribute to normal brain function.

      Which nuts are heart healthy? ›

      Almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts and pecans also appear to be quite heart healthy. So are peanuts — though they are technically not a nut, but a legume, like beans. It's best to choose unsalted or unsweetened nuts. Adding salt or sugar to nuts may cancel out their heart-healthy benefits.

      Do avocados raise cholesterol? ›

      Unsaturated fats, the type found in avocados, are considered healthy types of fat. And avocados have no cholesterol whatsoever. Both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can help lower blood cholesterol levels, making avocados a heart-healthy food.

      Can eating too many nuts raise cholesterol? ›

      Brazil nuts, cashews and macadamia nuts are higher in saturated fat. Too much of this can contribute to raised cholesterol levels, so only eat them occasionally.

      Are avocados high in omega-3 or 6? ›

      “Avocados are very high in omega 3 fatty acids, the good kind of fat, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid,” said San Diego-based nutritionist Laura Flores. It accounts for about three-quarters of the calories in an avocado. Monounsaturated fats can help lower cholesterol and improve heart health.

      Is avocado high in omega-3? ›

      Avocados have a very high fat content, but they are also very high in omega 3 fatty acids in the form of alpha-linolenic acid. This is considered “good” unsaturated fat and accounts for about three-quarters of the calories in an avocado.

      Who should not eat cashew nuts? ›

      Those having nut allergies or high blood pressure should strictly stay away from them. If you have an allergy, then you will feel uneasy after eating cashews.” She further said, “Cashews can lead to constipation either when you overeat cashews or when you have an allergic reaction to them.

      Can I eat 10 cashews a day? ›

      Nutritionists suggest limiting cashew nut kernels consumption to up to 5 – 10 cashews a day to avoid weight gain. You can eat 15–30 cashew nuts a day for a primary source of fat and a secondary source of protein. Not all fats are bad for you, and some types of fat can actually help your heart health.

      Are Raisins good for u? ›

      Despite their small size, raisins are packed with energy and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Raisins are naturally sweet and high in sugar and calories, but they're beneficial to our health when eaten in moderation. In fact, raisins can aid digestion, boost iron levels, and keep your bones strong.

      What nut has the most protein? ›

      Peanuts. Peanuts are a legume but considered a nut from a nutritional and culinary standpoint. Like most legumes, they provide a lot of plant-based protein. In fact, peanuts have the highest protein content out of all commonly consumed nuts.

      How many almonds should I eat a day? ›

      23 almonds a day.

      When compared ounce for ounce, almonds are the tree nut highest in protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin and niacin. Just remember 1-2-3. 1 ounce of almonds, or about 23 almond nuts, is the ideal daily portion recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

      What is the best nut for diabetics? ›

      The most important nuts for people with diabetes are probably the ones that improve cardiovascular health: almonds, walnuts, and pistachios, namely. If you only incorporate a few nuts into your diet, choose these ones. But be sure to avoid the salted varieties.

      Are walnuts healthier than almonds? ›

      The scientists said that all nuts have good nutritional qualities but walnuts are healthier than peanuts, almonds, pecans and pistachios.

      What food is 100% protein? ›

      High Protein Foods by Nutrient Density (Most Protein per 100 Grams)
      1 Spirulina View (Source)100 grams115% DV (57.5g)
      2 Dry-Roasted Soybeans View (Source)100 grams87% DV (43.3g)
      3 Grated Parmesan Cheese View (Source)100 grams83% DV (41.6g)
      4 Lean Veal Top Round View (Source)100 grams73% DV (36.7g)
      6 more rows
      26 Sept 2022

      Which nut has the most calcium? ›

      8. Nuts - Nuts are one of the highest non-dairy sources of calcium, and almonds offer the most; 100 grams of almonds contains 254 mg which works out to 26% of the RDI.

      What nuts have the most potassium? ›

      Nuts with the Most Potassium

      All nuts contain some potassium, but pistachios have the most. If you eat a 1-ounce serving of pistachios, you'll get 291 milligrams of potassium, according to the University of Michigan Health System website.

      What nuts should you not eat? ›

      The number one worst nut to snack on, according to her, is also one of the most common: peanuts. "Peanuts are exposed to aflatoxin, which is a fungus associated with liver cancer," she adds. For context, aflatoxin is a toxic byproduct of a type of mold that falls under the Aspergillus species umbrella.

      What will happen if you eat 20 almonds every day? ›

      Get access to the much-needed nutrition: If you eat around 20 almonds every day, you would be able to incorporate different essential nutrients in the daily diet. These little nuts contain copious amounts of calcium, vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium.

      What will happen if you eat 4 almonds a day? ›

      Almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. The health benefits of almonds include lower blood sugar levels, reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. They can also reduce hunger and promote weight loss.

      Which nuts should diabetics avoid? ›

      Avoid nuts that are coated in salt — Dobbins notes that sodium is bad for your blood pressure — and sugar. More bad news if you love the sweet-and-savory combo: Chocolate-covered peanuts and honey-roasted cashews are high in carbs and not the best choice when you have diabetes, Dobbins says.

      Which nuts help lower blood sugar? ›

      The 5 nuts that are best for a diabetic person
      • Almonds. According to a study published in the journal, Metabolism in April 2011, Almonds manage the glucose level in a diabetic person. ...
      • Walnuts. Walnuts are high in calories but do not have any major impact on body weight. ...
      • Pistachios. ...
      • Peanuts. ...
      • Cashews.
      13 Jan 2019

      What nuts can diabetics eat freely? ›

      The study involved 16,217 men and women with Type 2 diabetes. Researchers found that the people who ate tree nuts such as walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts and pistachios saw the most benefit in terms of reduced heart disease risk, as well as overall death risk.

      Which nut is best for brain? ›

      Nuts. Nuts like almonds, pistachios and macadamias each bring something special to the table. Almonds help improve memory, pistachio nut oils help preserve fatty acids and prevent inflammation, and macadamias contribute to normal brain function. Yet, the top nut award certainly goes to the walnut.

      Which nuts are best for cholesterol? ›

      Almonds and other tree nuts can improve blood cholesterol. A recent study concluded that a diet supplemented with walnuts can lower the risk of heart complications in people with history of a heart attack.

      Which nuts have the most omega-3? ›

      For example, walnuts contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts and pecans also appear to be quite heart healthy.


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