If nuts aren't in your regular snack rotation, you're missing out on major disease-fighting nutrients that protect your heart, boost brainpower, and more.
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5/ Brazil Nuts: Potent Cancer Protector
Just one Brazil nut packs more than 100 percent of the daily value for the mineral selenium, which may help prevent certain cancers, including bone, prostate, and breast cancer. A recent study in the Journal of Medicinal Food suggests that the selenium found in Brazil nuts, along with soy, may help fight prostate cancer by inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells. However, don't overdo it on Brazil nuts: High levels of selenium can be harmful, so stick to a serving or less.
Serving info: 5 to 6 nuts = 185 cals, 18 grams fat
6/ Macadamia Nuts: The Most MUFAs
Although ounce for ounce they're one of the most calorie-dense nuts, macadamia nuts contain the greatest amount of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat (MUFA) per serving. "This 'good fat' lowers LDL 'bad' cholesterol levels and blood pressure," says Bauer. A Pennsylvania State University study (funded partly by the Hershey Company, which owns the Mauna Loa Macademia company) found that people who added macadamia nuts to their diets reduced their triglyceride levels, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol by nearly 10 percent.
Serving info: About 10 nuts = 200 cals, 22 grams fat
7/ Pistachios: The Skinniest Nut
Pistachios are the most slimming nuts, with less than four calories each. Their shells make them especially dieting-friendly: "Eating them in the shell automatically slows down your pace so the snack lasts longer and you eat less overall," says Bauer. They may also help you breathe easier: University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center researchers found that eating two ounces of pistachios daily may reduce lung cancer risk. Pistachios are rich in the antioxidant gamma-tocopherol, a form of cancer-fighting vitamin E. Pistachios are also packed with potassium, a mineral essential for a healthy nervous system and muscles, and are a good source of vitamin B6, which can lift your mood, fortify your immune system, and more.
Serving info: About 50 nuts = 160 cals, 14 grams fat
8/ Hazelnuts: More Than Just Coffee Flavoring
An all-around healthy nut, hazelnuts are notable for their high levels of monounsaturated fats, which can improve cardiovascular health and help to manage type 2 diabetes, according to Bauer. They're also rich in the antioxidant vitamin E, which may prevent cataracts and macular degeneration, maintain healthy skin, and reduce risk of dementia.
Serving info: About 21 nuts = 180 cals, 17 grams fat