Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews and pecans provide a great source of protein, minerals, "good" monounsaturated fats and other nutrients and they are also good for the heart.  In July 2003, the FDA approved the following health claim for nut package labels:


"Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of some nuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease."


It only takes a small handful of nuts to satisfy hunger and there are many types to choose from. Here are six of the healthiest along with nutrient benefits of each:


1. Walnuts-high in omega-3 fatty acids.

2. Almonds-rich in magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, vitamin E selenium and calcium.

3. Cashews-lower in fat than most nuts; rich in copper, magnesium, zinc, iron and biotin.

4. Pecans-an excellent source of over 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamins E and A, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, several B vitamins and zinc.

5. Brazil Nuts- nutrient-rich and contain protein, copper, niacin, magnesium, fiber, vitamin E and selenium.

6. Macadamia Nuts- high in protein, fiber, monounsaturated fats, potassium and magnesium.


Most importantly you must control your portions. Nuts are high in both calories and nutrients, so you only need a small handful daily. Eating a variety of nuts appears to be the best way to get all of the different potential benefits.

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