Go Nuts for This Nutrient-Packed Party Snack

Party grazing doesn’t have to be a lost cause, health-wise.

Medically reviewed in January 2021

Updated on September 30, 2021

Whether you're a health nut or just a nut lover, you've probably heard that these hard-shelled seeds have a slew of health benefits. Not only can they help you maintain a healthy weight and optimal cholesterol levels, but they may also help keep cancer at bay and your heart in hardy shape. But do you know your filberts from your macadamias, your walnuts from your almonds?

Here are the specific benefits of each, plus what to know when navigating nut bowls and party platters.

Almonds
Coping with holiday stress? Reach for almonds. Crunching down 24 of them will give you 35 percent of your daily value of vitamin E, which is quickly depleted when you're under pressure. (Eat them with the skin on to get the biggest dose.) You'll also score some calcium, magnesium, and riboflavin.

Macadamia nuts
These creamy white treats are loaded with monounsaturated fats—the good kind, which lower LDL, aka “bad” cholesterol. Just one ounce (10 to 12 nuts) has 17 grams of the heart-healthy stuff. Plus, they're a good source of thiamin, a B vitamin that helps keep your muscles, nerves, and digestive system humming.

Brazil nuts
Not crazy about brazil nuts? You only need to eat one to meet your body's daily need for the antioxidant mineral selenium. You'll also be munching down a complete protein—Brazil nuts have all the essential amino acids in one neat package—while getting a healthy dose of zinc.

Walnuts
You can meet your daily value for heart-protecting omega-3 fatty acids in about 14 walnut halves (or 1 ounce). Walnuts are also stuffed with disease-fighting antioxidants: Studies have consistently ranked them tops among nuts in antioxidant content.

Hazelnuts
Also known as filberts, these slightly smoky, buttery nuts are packed with tryptophan, an essential amino acid that contributes to healthy nerve cell signaling. They’ve got 20 percent of your RDA in every ounce (about 20 nuts).

Peanuts
Okay, peanuts aren't technically nuts. They're legumes (cousins to peas, lentils, and beans). But they’re still rich in three key B vitamins—folate, niacin, and riboflavin—so you know you’re getting a healthy dose of nutrition when you grab a handful. Ounce for ounce, they pack the same protein punch as beef (7 grams), minus the saturated fat.

If you’re noshing on nuts, just remember to stick to small handfuls. As nutritious as they are, they pack anywhere 160 to 200 calories per ounce.

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