Nuts and seeds are a type of fruit that comes from a flowering plant. The nut or seed is encased in a hard shell that protects the edible interior. Nuts and seeds have many different purposes, such as being eaten whole, used in cooking or baking, or pressed for their oil.
Nuts and seeds are good sources of protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. They tend to be higher in calories and can help you maintain a healthy weight. Some studies have shown that eating nuts and seeds may help reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
This article discusses the benefits of incorporating nuts and seeds into your diet and shares the list of the best nuts and seeds to add to your diet.
Benefits of Nuts and Seeds
As nuts and seeds are healthy nutrient sources; they may help provide you with the following benefits:
Helps Reduce Diabetes Risk
According to a study, people who eat the most nuts and seeds have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. As per the study, each daily serving of nuts and seeds was linked to a 5% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
As nuts and seeds are a good source of fiber, they help with blood sugar control. They also contain magnesium which plays a vital role in insulin function.
Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels
Studies have shown that nuts and seeds can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels. This may be due to the healthy fats, fiber, and plant sterols in nuts and seeds. Plant sterols are compounds that can block the absorption of cholesterol from food.
May Improve Heart Health
Eating nuts and seeds has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease. One large study found that people who ate at least one ounce (28 grams) of nuts per day had a lower risk of dying from heart disease than those who didn’t.
Another study found that women who ate five or more servings of nuts and seeds per week had a lower risk of dying from heart disease than those who ate one or less per week.
May Help With Weight Loss
Because of their high nutritional value, nuts and seeds also make you feel full and satisfied. A study showed that people who ate a high-fat diet with peanuts lost more weight and body fat than those who ate a similar diet that didn’t include peanuts.
May Help Reduce Inflammation
Some nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and flaxseeds, are high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help reduce inflammation throughout the body.
May Lower Cancer Risk
Some studies have shown that eating nuts and seeds may help lower the risk of certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
Risk of Eating Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are generally safe for most people. However, some people may be allergic to them. For example, people with tree nut allergies may also be allergic to peanuts, as they are both legume family members.
People with nut allergies should avoid all nuts and seeds, as they can trigger an allergic reaction. Symptoms of a nut allergy include hives, swelling, trouble breathing, and anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction.
Some nuts and seeds, such as Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds, can contain high toxins. These toxins can build up in your body and cause serious health problems.
For this reason, limiting your intake of these nuts and seeds is important.
8 Highest Protein Nuts and Seeds
Out of many options available, these 8 are the best high-protein nuts and seeds you must incorporate into your diet:
Almonds have been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, pressure, and cholesterol. They are also a good source of magnesium, which is important for bone health. A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of almonds contains 6 grams of protein and 14 grams of fat.
Walnuts contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce inflammation. They also improve brain health since they are a good source of copper. A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of walnuts contains 4 grams of protein and 18 grams of fat.
3. Pumpkin Seeds
These are important for immune system function. They also contain high levels of antioxidants, which can protect against cell damage. A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of pumpkin seeds contains 5 grams of protein and 12 grams of fat.
4. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are known to provide fiber and calcium. They also contain high levels of antioxidants. A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of chia seeds contains 4 grams of protein and 12 grams of fat.
5. Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds provide you with iron, which is important for red blood cell function. They also contain high omega-3 fatty acids and GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), which can reduce inflammation. A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of hemp seeds contains 10 grams of protein and 16 grams of fat.
Flaxseeds provide you with fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain high lignans (phytoestrogens), which can reduce the risk of hormone-related cancers. A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of flaxseeds contains 6 grams of protein and 8 grams of fat.
7. Sesame Seeds
They are a good source of copper, which is important for brain health. They also contain high magnesium levels, which is important for bone health. A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of sesame seeds contains 5 grams of protein and 12 grams of fat.
Pistachios contain high levels of fiber and potassium, which can reduce cholesterol levels. A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of pistachios contains 6 grams of protein and 13 grams of fat.
How to Incorporate Nuts and Seeds Into Your Diet?
Nuts and seeds are a great addition to any diet. They’re packed with nutrients that can help boost your health.
There are various ways to include these high-protein nuts and seeds in your diet.
- Almonds: Add oatmeal, yogurt, or eat as a snack.
- Walnuts: Add to salads, baked goods, or eat as a snack.
- Pumpkin seeds: Add to yogurt, cereal, or bake into bread.
- Chia seeds: Add to smoothies, protein shakes, yogurt, or bake into bread.
- Hemp seeds: Add to smoothies, yogurt, or cereal.
- Flaxseeds: Add to smoothies, oatmeal, or bake into bread.
- Sesame seeds: Toast and add to salads or Asian dishes.
- Pistachios: Add to salads and rice dishes, or eat as a snack.
Nuts and seeds are a great way to add extra protein, fiber, and healthy fats to your diet. However, some nuts and seeds contain high levels of toxins. For this reason, limiting your intake of these nuts and seeds is important. When incorporating nuts and seeds into your diet, choose various types to get the most benefit.
- Asif, Mohammad. “The Prevention and Control the Type-2 Diabetes by Changing Lifestyle and Dietary Patterns.” Journal of Education and Health Promotion, vol. 3, Feb. 2014, p. 1. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.4103/2277-9531.127541.
- Spiller, Gene A., et al. “Nuts and Plasma Lipids: An Almond-Based Diet Lowers LDL-C While Preserving HDL-C.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition, vol. 17, no. 3, June 1998, pp. 285–90. Taylor and Francis+NEJM, https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.1998.10718761.
- Guasch-Ferré, Marta, et al. “Frequency of Nut Consumption and Mortality Risk in the PREDIMED Nutrition Intervention Trial.” BMC Medicine, vol. 11, no. 1, July 2013, p. 164. BioMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1186/1741-7015-11-164.
- Wien, M. A., et al. “Almonds vs. Complex Carbohydrates in a Weight Reduction Program.” International Journal of Obesity, vol. 27, no. 11, Nov. 2003, pp. 1365–72. www.nature.com, https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ijo.0802411.
- Spiller, Gene A., et al. “Nuts and Plasma Lipids: An Almond-Based Diet Lowers LDL-C While Preserving HDL-C.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition, vol. 17, no. 3, June 1998, pp. 285–90. Taylor and Francis+NEJM, https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.1998.10718761