Nutty and nice: 8 High-protein nuts that will naturally boost your energy and improve heart health
01/19/2021 / By Rose Lidell / Comments
Nutty and nice: 8 High-protein nuts that will naturally boost your energy and improve heart health

Making changes to your daily habits is key to improving your overall well-being. You can start by eating more superfoods like nuts to help boost your energy levels.

Eating almonds and walnuts regularly can also help improve your heart health! Superfoods like nuts are rich in various nutrients, and both meat-lovers and those who prefer plant-based diets can enjoy their nutty goodness.

Nuts are mostly made up of fats, like monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6s, but they are also rich in protein. This means you can consume more nuts if you want to boost your protein intake and ensure that you’re following a balanced diet.

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Why is protein important?

Your body contains protein. It is in your skin, hair, muscles, bones and almost every other body part or tissue. The enzymes that facilitate chemical reactions inside your body are also proteins. Even hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to your organs, is a protein. About 10,000 different kinds of protein help your body function properly.

Protein is made from over 20 amino acids. These “basic building blocks” can’t be stored in the human body and you produce them in two different ways: from scratch or by modifying others.

You need to get nine essential amino acids, namely, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine, from the foods that you eat.

According to the National Academy of Medicine, the average adult needs a minimum of 0.8 grams (g) of protein for every kilogram body weight per day, or about 8 g of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight.

This means a 140-pound person requires 50 grams of protein each day. On the other hand, a 200-pound person needs at least 70 grams of protein daily.

Nutritious nuts

Below are nine nuts that contain high amounts of protein ranked from highest to lowest.

Almonds (6 g of protein per ounce)

Almonds are a great snack because they’re creamy and crunchy. They are often used to make non-dairy milk alternatives and are rich in vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, fiber and protein.

Experts say that eating almonds as part of a low-calorie diet can help promote weight loss and lower blood pressure, especially if you are overweight or obese.

According to a study, eating a meal containing one ounce (28 g) of almonds can help “lower the rise in blood sugar that happens after a meal” by at least 30 percent. Additionally, almonds can help lower inflammation in people with Type 2 diabetes.

Pistachios (5.8 g of protein per ounce)

Pistachios have anti-inflammatory properties and are rich in antioxidants. Health experts consider it one of the healthiest nuts because it contains almost six g of protein per ounce.

One ounce of unshelled pistachios is equivalent to about 49 nuts, which is more than six times as many nuts in the same serving of Brazil nuts.

One study has found that pistachios can help improve blood cholesterol levels. Consuming at least two to three ounces (56 to 84 g) of pistachios daily can help increase “good” HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels.

Pistachios can also help improve factors that influence heart disease risk, such as blood pressure, weight and oxidative status.

Oxidative status refers to blood levels of oxidized chemicals that are linked to heart disease.

Cashews (5.1 g of protein per ounce)

With 5.1 g of protein per ounce, cashews are only a gram shy of having the same protein content as one egg.

Cashews are soft nuts that are often used in green smoothies. If you want to make healthier snacks, make cashew pancakes or cashew “cheese” dip. Like almonds, cashews are also popular as non-dairy milk.

One study has found that a diet containing 20 percent calories from cashews helped improve blood pressure in those with metabolic syndrome. Meanwhile, results from a different study showed that cashews can also increase the antioxidant potential of this particular diet.

Walnuts (4.3 g of protein per ounce)

Consuming walnuts regularly can help boost your gut and heart health. According to Dr. Vincent Pedre, walnuts are also the best nuts to eat to help your body fight inflammation. Inflammation — the chronic kind — is linked to many chronic diseases.

One study involving college students has shown that consuming walnuts can increase a measure of cognition called “inferential reasoning.” This finding suggests that walnuts can also boost your brain health!

Brazil nuts (4 g of protein per ounce)

Brazil nuts are a natural source of selenium, a mineral that acts as an antioxidant. While selenium is needed for several bodily functions, you only need to obtain small amounts of it from your diet.

A one-ounce (28 g) serving of Brazil nuts offers over 100 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for selenium! Eat Brazil nuts moderately and aim for only one to three Brazil nuts per day.

Eating too much Brazil nuts can cause selenosis, which occurs when you consume too much selenium.

Hazelnuts (3.8 g of protein per ounce)

Hazelnuts are full of nutrients like calcium, magnesium and vitamins B and E. Studies have shown that consuming hazelnuts can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Aside from being a brain-protective food, studies also suggest that eating hazelnuts regularly can improve your cholesterol levels and increase the amount of vitamin E in your blood.

Pili nuts (3 g of protein per ounce)

Pili nuts are grown in the Philippines. Locals eat them as a natural source of fat and protein. Pili nuts have also become more popular with people following keto, high-fat and low-carb diets because the nuts have an ultra-low-carb count, with only one gram of carbohydrates per ounce.

Dr. Jess Cording explains that one ounce of pili nuts contains around 200 calories and 22 grams of fat, which can be broken down into 11 g of monounsaturated fat, 8 g of saturated fat and 3 g of polyunsaturated fat. Pili nuts are also rich in magnesium.

Pecans (2.6 g of protein per ounce)

Pecans contain only 2.6 g of protein per ounce, but they have the highest flavonoid concentration of all tree nuts.

In one study, scientists discovered that pecans can help lower “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol even in those with healthy cholesterol levels.

Pecans also contain polyphenols, which are compounds that act as antioxidants. In a separate four-week study, researchers found that participants who got 20 percent of their daily calories from pecans consumed enjoyed improved antioxidant levels.

Homemade honey-roasted nuts and fruit

You can eat a handful of plain nuts as a nutritious snack, but if you want to experiment, try this simple recipe that combines savory nuts and seeds with nutritious dried fruit.

Ingredients for 8 servings:

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seed kernels
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • A dash of ground cloves
  • Cooking spray

Preparation:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil then coat it with cooking spray.
  2. Heat the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the honey and cook for two minutes or until the mixture bubbles around the edges of the pan.
  3. Add the almonds to the pan, along with the hazelnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, ground cinnamon, salt, cardamom and cloves. Cook the mixture over medium heat for eight minutes or until the nuts are golden. Stir frequently to prevent the ingredients from sticking to each other. Finally, stir in the raisins.
  4. Immediately spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and let everything cool completely.

Keep your heart healthy and boost your energy levels naturally by snacking on tasty superfoods like almonds and walnuts!

Sources:

MindBodyGreen.com

HSPH.Harvard.edu

Healthline.com

MyRecipes.com

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