Nuts!

School Of Nutrition Posted Jun 30, 2014 Future Fit Training


Not only are nuts one of the best sources of plant-based protein, they're also rich in fibre, anti-oxidants, phytonutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Nuts!

No wonder they have been shown to be effective in lowering the risk of heart disease. However, are all nuts the same?

Let’s look at some stats for a 1oz (approx. 28g) serving of the edible portion:

 

Almonds

Walnuts

Brazil Nuts

Pecans

Pistachios

Macadamia Nuts

Hazelnuts

Portion size

23 kernels

14 halves

6 kernels

19 halves

49 kernels

10-12 kernels

21 kernels

Calories

164kcal

185kcal

186kcal

196kcal

159kcal

204kcal

178kcal

Fat

14.2g

18.5g

18.8g

20g

12.9g

21.5g

17.2g

Omega-3 fats

Trace

2.6g

Trace

0.3g

<0.1g

<0.1g

Trace

Fibre

3.5g

1.9g

2.1g

2.7g

2.9g

2.4g

2.7g

Calcium

76mg

28mg

45mg

20mg

30mg

24mg

32mg

Vitamin E

7.3mg

0.2mg

1.6mg

0.4mg

0.65mg

0.15mg

4.26mg

Anti-oxidant Power (ORAC)

1,485 umol TE

4,514 umol TE

473 umol TE

5,980 umol TE

2,558 umol TE

565 umol TE

3,215 umol TE

Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Here are some highlights:

  • Macadamia nuts are highest in fat and calories, closely followed by pecans. If you are watching your weight, you might want to opt for pistachios instead, which is the nut lowest in calories.
  • Walnuts contain the highest level of the omega-3 fat alpha linolenic acid (ALA). ALAs have been shown to help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering LDL cholesterol and blood triglycerides as well as blood pressure. Pecans come in at a distant second.
  • If you are looking for a high-fibre snack, almonds are your best choice, with pistachios a second best.
  • Both almonds and brazil nuts are great choices for plant-based calcium.
  • Nuts are renowned sources of Vitamin E, which acts as an anti-oxidant, scavenging free radicals that can damage cells and contribute to cardiovascular disease and cancer. 23 almond kernels will provide half of your daily requirement for Vitamin E (15mg/day or 22.4 IU). Hazelnuts are also good sources.
  • ORAC is a scale that quantifies the anti-oxidant capabilities of various foods. The ORAC of 19 pecan halves is higher than that of a cup (200ml) of pomegranate juice (5,362 umol TE)! Walnuts are good runner-ups.

 

OUR WINNER: Almonds and Walnuts!

All nuts are highly nutritious. However, almonds scored high in fibre, calcium and Vitamin E, whereas walnuts’ omega-3 fat content is unparalleled.

One word of caution though: all nuts are also high in fat and calories, so keep to a maximum of 1.5 oz. a day and choose unsalted, unflavoured and dry-roasted varieties.

 

       

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