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The 11 Healthiest Nuts for Women

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By: Erin Coleman, B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

healthiest nuts

You may have heard that some nuts offer a lot of health benefits. But, what are the healthiest nuts for women?

You probably already know that nuts, nut butters, and seeds are good for you.

These superfoods are loaded with heart-healthy fats, protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and so much more!

But which are the healthiest nuts for women? Keep reading to find out!

Knowing more about these 12 key nutrition facts for women and healthy eating can optimize your health, wellness, and overall quality of life!

What Are the Health Benefits of Nuts?

Despite the fact that the healthiest nuts for women are high in fat and calories, they offer a variety of health and wellness benefits.

Studies show that adding nuts to your meal plan can reduce chronic diseases, improve blood cholesterol levels, optimize heart health, and reduce body fat without affecting body weight — despite the fact that nuts are high-calorie foods.

Nuts offer you the perfect satiating blend of heart-healthy fats, protein, fiber, and micronutrients.

They keep you full for long periods of time, reduce hunger, and can diminish cravings for less-nutritious junk foods.

If you haven't already, consider adding some of the healthiest nuts and seeds to your meal plan to maintain optimal health and wellness!

The 11 Healthiest Nuts for Women

Almonds

Almonds offer women numerous healthy benefits.

In fact, studies show that eating just one serving of almonds for six weeks can reduce your risk of heart problems and enhance abdominal fat loss.

Researchers found that eating almonds can decrease total cholesterol, bad cholesterol, blood sugar, and insulin resistance, while increasing good cholesterol levels.

The nutrition breakdown of a 1-ounce serving of almonds is as follows:

  • Calories: 160 calories
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Total Carbohydrates: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Fat: 14 grams

Almonds are also a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, copper, vitamin B2, and phosphorous.

Add almonds to salads, protein shakes, homemade protein bars, smoothies, breakfast cereals, oatmeal, and trail mix.

Or, eat a handful of almonds between meals to curb hunger.

Walnuts

Like almonds, walnuts are loaded with heart-healthy fats, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

They're also an excellent source of brain-enhancing omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3s help you maintain a healthy heart and are crucial for optimal brain functioning.

In addition to reducing high cholesterol and heart disease risks, studies show that consuming walnuts on a regular basis may improve cognition, reducing your risk of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease.

The nutritional breakdown of one serving of walnuts is as follows:

  • Calories: 185 calories
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Total Carbohydrates: 4 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Fat: 19 grams

Walnuts are also a good source of folic acid, copper, phosphorous, vitamin B6, manganese, and vitamin E.

Add walnuts to salads, smoothies, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, or Greek yogurt.

Eat them with other protein- or fiber-rich snacks between meals.

Add walnuts to homemade protein bars or shakes too!

Pistachios

Pistachios contain more protein than many other nuts and seeds.

They are versatile and have a distinct flavor, which works well in a variety of healthy recipes.

Studies show that healthy women who added pistachios to their meal plans for 12 weeks experienced improved nutritional profiles while maintaining their current body weights.

Additional research shows that pistachios can improve glucose metabolism, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and blood vessel functioning.

These nutritious nuts can reduce heart disease risks, inflammation, insulin resistance, blood pressure, and body mass index (BMI).

The nutritional profile of a 1-ounce portion of pistachios includes:

  • Calories: 160 calories
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Total Carbohydrates: 8 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Fat: 13 grams

Pistachios are also rich in potassium, phosphorus, thiamine, vitamin B6, copper, and manganese.

Add these nutrition nuts to oatmeal, yogurt, shakes, smoothies, protein bars, salads, or trail mix.

If you're in the mood for a sweet-tasting treat, try a nutritious pistachio ice cream recipe!

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Cashews

Cashews contain more iron, an important nutrient for women, than many other types of nuts.

That's just one reason why cashews are some of the healthiest nuts for women.

Cashews are also loaded with heart-healthy fats, protein, fiber, and numerous micronutrients.

Studies show that adding cashews to your meal plan can improve triglyceride levels and blood pressure, thereby reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Eating these nutritious nuts can also lower your risk of nutritional deficiencies.

The nutrition breakdown of 1 ounce of cashews is as follows:

  • Calories: 160 calories
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Total Carbohydrates: 8 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Fat: 13 grams

In addition to providing about 10% of the daily value for iron, cashews are also a good source of copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, selenium, vitamin K, vitamin B6, and thiamine.

Top salads, soups, stir fry, wild rice, quinoa, oatmeal, or yogurt with cashews.

Or, add them to homemade protein shakes and bars!

Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are rich in the mineral selenium, which is a disease-fighting antioxidant.

Additional health benefits associated with eating Brazil nuts include a lower risk of cancer, heart disease, and other chronic conditions, as well as optimal cognitive function, better blood sugar control, improved thyroid health, and a strong immune system.

The nutritional breakdown of a 1-ounce portion of Brazil nuts includes:

  • Calories: 185 calories
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Total Carbohydrates: 3 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Fat: 19 grams

In addition to being an excellent source of selenium, these healthy nuts for women are also good sources of potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, and zinc.

However, consuming too much selenium can lead to toxicity. The tolerable upper intake level for selenium is 400 micrograms per day for adult women.

Just one Brazil nut contains 68-91 micrograms of selenium, so eating just a few of these nuts per day is plenty.

Many Brazil nuts are sold in packages of mixed nuts, which makes it easier to limit your intake to a healthy amount.

Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are loaded with essential nutrients, including those rich in antioxidants, and offer numerous health and wellness benefits for women.

Research shows that adding hazelnuts to your meal plan may reduce your risk of heart disease and high cholesterol, without affecting body weight.

The nutritional breakdown of a 1-ounce portion of hazelnuts is as follows:

  • Calories: 175 calories
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Total Carbohydrates: 5 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Fat: 17 grams

Hazelnuts are also rich in vitamin E, thiamine, magnesium, manganese, copper, vitamin B6, folate, phosphorous, zinc, and potassium.

Add them to salads, soups, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, or protein smoothies!

Peanuts

It might come as no surprise that peanuts are some of the healthiest nuts for women.

These superfoods are rich in protein, fiber, healthy fats, and numerous vitamins and minerals — including antioxidants.

Studies show that peanuts contain all 20 amino acids, are a good source of coenzyme Q10, and can reduce your risk of developing common chronic diseases.

Additional research shows that consuming peanuts helps control blood sugar levels, reduces hunger, and increases satiety without causing weight gain.

The nutritional breakdown of 1 ounce of peanuts is as follows:

  • Calories: 165 calories
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Total Carbohydrates: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Fat: 13 grams

Peanuts are also a good source of phosphorous, magnesium, biotin, copper, niacin, manganese, folate, thiamine, and vitamin E.

Add peanuts to soups, salads, stir fry, quinoa, other whole grains, protein shakes or bars, and trail mix.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are rich in heart-healthy fats, which allows these nutritious nuts to boost satiety and curb hunger.

Studies show that macadamia nuts can improve blood cholesterol levels, which reduces your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

These healthy nuts are also loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants.

The nutrition breakdown of 1 ounce of macadamia nuts is as follows:

  • Calories: 205 calories
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Total Carbohydrates: 4 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Fat: 22 grams

They are a good source of magnesium, copper, thiamine, manganese, vitamin B6, and iron.

Because macadamia nuts are low-carb foods, they help control blood sugar levels and enhance healthy weight management.

Pine Nuts

Pine nuts offer heart-healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including iron, which is particularly beneficial for many women.

Studies show that pine nuts are useful for people with diabetes, as they help decrease blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance.

The nutritional content of 1 ounce of pine nuts is:

  • Calories: 190 calories
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Total Carbohydrates: 4 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Fat: 19 grams

Pine nuts are a good source of magnesium, phosphorous, and iron.

Sprinkle them on salads, chicken, fish, cooked whole grains, stir fry, or any other main dish!

Top yogurt with pine nuts or add them to a blended protein smoothie!

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Pecans

Pecans are packed with heart-healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.

As with other nuts and seeds, studies show these superfoods reduce heart-disease risk factors in overweight men and women.

They can boost satiety to help curb cravings for junk food.

The nutrition breakdown of 1 ounce of pecans is:

  • Calories: 190 calories
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Total Carbohydrates: 5 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Fat: 20 grams

Pecans are also a good source of copper, thiamine, zinc, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous.

Add them to just about any dish, especially salads, oatmeal, smoothies, and yogurt!

Soy Nuts

In addition to noting that soy nuts are packed with essential nutrients, they contain estrogen-like compounds.

Because of this, studies show that consuming soy nuts several times daily decreased hot flashes in women by 45%, and reduced unpleasant menopausal symptoms.

Soy-rich diets may also lower your risk of developing certain types of cancers.

The nutrition breakdown of 1 ounce of soy nuts is as follows:

  • Calories: 130 calories
  • Protein: 11 grams
  • Total Carbohydrates: 8 grams
  • Fiber: 5 grams
  • Fat: 7 grams

Soy nuts are a good source of iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, calcium, selenium, and B vitamins.

These nutritious nuts are higher in protein and fiber than many other types of nuts, and much lower in calories.

Therefore, soy nuts are often beneficial for healthy weight management.

Omega-3 fatty acids present in soy nuts can improve cognitive functioning, enhance brain health, and reduce your risk of developing dementia.

What About Seeds and Nut Butters?

Like nuts, seeds and nut butters are packed with fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients.

But you might be wondering if these alternatives to nuts are just as nutritious?

Seeds

Seeds are often just as healthy as nuts, as their nutritional composition is very similar.

Examples of some of the healthiest seeds for women include:

  • Flax seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Hemp seeds

In fact, seeds (or seed butters) might be the preferred option if you or someone in your family has a nut allergy.

Mix seeds with nuts in trail mix or add seeds to salads, soups, yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, cereals, or other whole grains.

Nut Butters

While nuts and seeds are often considered the healthiest option, peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower butter, cashew butter, and other natural nut butters are very nutritious too.

However, they may contain less fiber or more sugar (and calories) than nuts and seeds.

For this reason, opt for natural nut butters whenever possible and read nutrition facts labels.

Add nut butter to sandwiches, whole-grain toast, banana or apple slices, celery sticks, or whole-grain crackers.

These 7 principles of nutrition are always true, no matter what your diet consists of. Find out what you should — and SHOULDN’T — be eating.

How to Add Nuts to Your Meal Plan

There are several ways you can add nuts to your daily meal plan.

Aim to eat at least 1 serving of nuts, seeds, or natural nut butter (or seed butter) most days of the week.

  • Add nuts to soups, salads, yogurt, oatmeal, quinoa, whole-grain couscous, stir fry, pasta dishes, or any other favorite main course.
  • Add nuts, seeds, or nut butter to protein smoothies, along with almond milk and protein powder.
  • Mix nuts with homemade protein bar ingredients.
  • Add nuts or seeds to trail mix, or eat a handful of them between meals to curb hunger.
  • Spread nut or seed butter on sliced fruit.
  • Top celery sticks with natural peanut butter plus raisins (optional).

For more information about planning healthy meals, losing weight, building muscle, or improving your overall health and wellness, consider the Fit Mother Project.

Upon joining you receive health coaching support from medical experts, custom meal plans for women, fat-burning workouts, motivational support, and much more.

In addition to eating the healthiest nuts for women on a regular basis, try a free Fit Mom Jumpstart today!

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Erin Coleman

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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