The Ultimate Guide to Nuts

Medically reviewed by Natasha Zervaas
Medically reviewed by Natasha Zervaas on February 10, 2021
Naturopath, Health and Mindset Coach
Updated on February 15th, 2021

Nuts are one of Mother Nature’s wonder foods as they are (in comparison to their size) nutritional powerhouses loaded with a wide range of essential nutrients. Nuts are filled to the brim with healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, are low on the glycaemic index scale, and as such is an excellent addition to a healthy, whole food diet.

An average serving size (28 grams) of mixed nuts contains:

  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Carbohydrate: 6 grams
  • Fat: 16 grams, including 9 grams of monounsaturated fat
  • Magnesium: 16% of the RDI (recommended dietary intake)
  • Selenium: 56% of the RDI
  • Vitamin E: 12% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 13% of the RDI
  • Copper: 23% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 26% of the RDI

Besides being highly nutritious, nuts have the ability to reduce numerous risk factors for many serious conditions such as a heart attack or stroke. Nuts may help to lower your cholesterol levels, inflammation within the body, as well as your overall blood sugar.

The fiber they contain may even help you to lose weight by reducing what is known as Metabolic Syndrome. 

Here is a quick guide to the main health benefit of each nut:

1. Almonds

 Mineral-rich, particularly calcium – an important nutrient for strong and healthy bones – perfect for those looking for a vegan calcium alternative. This nut is a great all-rounder to include in your daily diet.

[Read: Reasons to Eat Almonds]

2. Brazil nuts

Rich in the antioxidant mineral selenium, which is crucial for a healthy Thyroid, fighting free radical damage and lowering inflammation.

[Read: Benefits of Brazil Nuts]

3. Cashews

Packed full of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, iron, copper, selenium, phosphorus, and vitamins B6, E, and K, plus essential fatty acids fantastic nut for brain and overall health.

4. Hazelnuts

High in fiber, which helps to keep you full after a meal, reduce your absorption of calories, plus promote the growth of beneficial bacteria within your gut for a healthier digestive system.

5. Macadamias

Australia’s very own native nut can help lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and promote ‘good’ HDL cholesterol levels.

6. Pecans

A study published by the Journal of Nutrition found that 2–8 hours after consuming whole pecans, participants experienced up to a 33% drop in their levels of oxidized ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol — a major risk factor for heart disease.

7. Pistachios

These fiber-rich nuts may help to reduce your overall cholesterol levels. Most worthy of note, however – alongside Almonds, Pistachios may assist your weight loss efforts and reduce those excess centimeters off your waistline by lowering blood sugar levels – perfect for those with what is known as Metabolic syndrome [1].

Research has shown our bodies don’t absorb as many calories also – so sign me up for the nut diet please!

8. Walnuts

A powerful ‘brain food’ – rich in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that combats oxidative stress within your cells, thereby protecting your cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Pro tip: Nuts are best enjoyed raw, not roasted, as heating them to high temperatures can destroy the delicate oils they contain.

[Read: Benefits of Black Walnuts]

Here are four ways you can include more nuts into your day:

  1. Swap your traditional morning coffee for an almond milk latte and reducing your dairy consumption with this heart-healthy swap – plus, its delicious!
  2. Substitute in recipes – replace refined wheat flour for almond or hazelnut meal for a flavor and nutrition boost.
  3. Add to salads for additional crunch and texture, or sprinkle mixed nuts into your morning cereal.
  4. Create quick and tasty snacks that you can grab on the go, such as celery sticks spread with almond butter, or for a fantastic antioxidant hit, pack small snack bags with walnuts, blueberries, and at least 70-80% dark chocolate.

One of my favorite snacks that I often recommend to my clients is a nut butter such as ABC (almond, brazil, and cashew nut spread), which is available at most supermarkets stuffed into dates because with just two ingredients, they are a super quick and easy option to satisfy those afternoon energy slumps and the perfect sweet/salty combination! Simply split a date down the middle and spread with your nut butter spread of choice.

You could whip up a batch of these protein balls in around ten minutes on the weekend, and you will be all set for snacks throughout your busy working week – enjoy!

Quick and Easy Lemon Bliss Balls


  • 1 cup of raw cashews
  • 1 cup of desiccated coconut
  • Zest of two lemons
  • Juice of one lemon
  • ½ a teaspoon of natural vanilla extract
  • Pinch of Himalayan salt
  • Two tablespoons of maple syrup
  • Extra desiccated coconut for rolling in


  1. Place all the ingredients into your food processor in the order listed above and blend until the mixture resembles a sticky crumb.  
  2. Use your hands to shape the mixture into balls. 
  3. Roll the balls in the extra coconut and place them into the fridge to set.

Note – try not to over blend the mixture if you are using a high powered food processor, or you may end up with butter as opposed to a mixture that you can roll into balls.

About The Author:

Natasha ZervaasNatasha Zervaas is the Founder of the Green Secrets Holistic Health Clinic and School.  Natasha is a degree qualified Naturopath, Health and Mindset Coach specializing in Adrenal Fatigue (stress and anxiety), Thyroid, hormonal and digestive disorders.

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