8 Ways to Go Nut-Healthy This Holiday Season

Patient Expert
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Winter seems to be a time when people go especially “nutty.” Think pecan pie for Thanksgiving, pecan pralines as Christmas gifts and bowls of mixed nuts that are put out for nibbling at holiday parties. But what are the healthiest types of nuts?


Both dry-roasted and raw almonds have slightly more than 160 calories per one ounce. Almonds help lessen after-meal blood sugar spikes, thus protecting against diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Eating this nut also helps improve blood fat levels and can help you lose weight on a low-calorie diet. These nuts boost energy production and protect against gallstones.


Dry-roasted cashews have 163 calories per ounce. Cashews are a great source of copper, which supports elimination of free radicals and the development of bone and connective tissue.  Low copper intake can help lead to iron deficiency anemia, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, heart arrhythmia and increased susceptibility to infection. Cashews also have magnesium, which supports bone health.


One ounce of roasted chestnuts has 69 calories. These nuts are high in vitamin C, potassium, copper, magnesium, amino acids and antioxidants. Chestnuts serve as a tonic for the muscles, nerves and veins. They are an important part of a diet in treating hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and thrombophlebitis.


Also known as filberts, one ounce of these nuts – whether roasted or raw – has about 180 calories.   Hazelnuts offer numerous phytochemicals that support brain health, improve circulation and reduce allergy symptoms. They also are a rich source of vitamin E, which helps keep skin, hair and nails healthy. Plus, these nuts have B vitamins, which encourage cell and energy metabolism.

Macadamia nuts

One ounce of these nuts – whether dry roasted or raw – has 204 calories. These nuts have the most fat, but it’s the good kind (monounsaturated). Macadamia nuts are rich in protein, which helps build muscle and connective tissues, as well as the development of blood plasma. Also full of phytonutrients that help remove free radicals, these nuts may help protect against certain types of cancer.


One ounce of dry-roasted pecans has 201 calories. Pecans are a group source of antioxidants. They also help in weight loss by increasing the body’s metabolic rate and helping with satiety.  Pecans have a chemical compound derived from vitamin E that helps with respiratory and brain health as well as heart health. Ninety percent of the fat content in pecans contains unsaturated (good) fats.


A one-ounce serving of dry roasted pistachios has 161 calories. This nut is a great source of energy and an excellent way to consume antioxidants. Pistachios are rich in phytochemical substances that may protect against disease, cancer and infection. Furthermore, pistachios are high in vitamin E, which helps prevent cell damage. Pistachio oil is also one of the healthiest cooking oils.


One ounce of halved walnuts has 185 calories. Walnuts are exceptionally high in omega-3 fats and are a good source of copper and manganese. These nuts may help reduce metabolic syndrome-related problems and lower inflammation and oxidative stress, which are risk factors for cancer. Walnuts also support bone health and brain health, and may have a role in promoting sleep.