It’s generally a good idea to start eating more nuts.
Nuts and seeds make up a massive proportion of many hunter-gatherer diets. The classic image of the noble savage living on red meat and eggs might be true in some remote parts of the world, but for most nomadic, non-agricultural peoples, nuts are a dietary staple.
This isn’t just out of necessity; nuts are extremely nutritious. They’re typically about 20-30% protein and 50% fat, the vast majority of which is usually monounsaturated. They are packed full of minerals too; in terms of nutrient density per calorie, few foods come close to the potency of nuts!
It’s no wonder so many studies have shown that diets high in nuts tend to increase lifespan. One fascinating study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in 2015, found that “Nut intake was related to lower overall and cause-specific mortality, with evidence for nonlinear dose-response relationships. Peanut butter was not related to mortality.” (ref).
This may be due to the fact that nut consumption is correlated with numerous mortality risk factors, such as hypertension and metabolic syndrome. It might also be due to the fact that nuts displace other foods from your diet, keep you full for longer (meaning lower calorie intake), or help you build lean muscle mass.
In all probability, it’s a combination of all of these explanations.
Whatever the mechanism, it’s clear that if you want to get a lean, strong, hunter-gatherer physique, then rebalancing your diet so you get more calories from nuts is a good way to start.
But are all nuts made equal?
Do some types of nut give you more bang for your buck than others?
Of course they do!
Let’s take a look at some of the nutrient profiles of different nuts to see how they can each benefit you in slightly different ways. You should definitely be incorporating these healthy nuts into your diet!
Healthiest Nuts To Eat
If you could only eat one nut for the rest of your life (and you aren’t a fan of peanut butter), then we’d say choose the almond.
This tree nut is native to the Mediterranean region, the Levant and areas of the Middle East. It features heavily in Turkish, Lebanese and Pakistani cuisine.
The nutrient profile of the almond is seriously impressive.
An Oz. of almonds (28g) provides:
- 6g of protein
- 9g of monounsaturated fat
- 3.5g of fiber
- 20% of your RDI of magnesium
- 6% of your RDI of iron
- 7% of your RDI for calcium
The best thing? You get all this for just 160 calories.
Few people eat hazelnuts on a regular basis. They might get some remnants in their Nutella or Kinder Buenos, but it’s rare for someone to actually eat the nut itself in its natural form.
This is a big shame; hazelnuts are one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet.
We wont spend too long talking this nut up. The nutrient profile speaks for itself. Here is a breakdown of what you get per 28g:
- 4.2g of protein
- 2.7g of fiber
- 12.8g of monounsaturated fat
- 24.4mg of omega-3 fatty acids
- 21% of your RDI of Vitamin E
- 12% of your RDI of Thiamin
- 8% of your RDI of folate
- 11% of your RDI of magnesium
- 24% of your RDI of copper
- 86% of your RDI of manganese
On top of this you get a smattering of vitamins and minerals in amounts ranging from 1-5% of your Recommended Daily Intake.
All of this is delivered in just 176 calories.
This is a no-brainer for us. While they aren’t as accessible or as easy to eat in their natural state as other nuts, it is definitely worth making the effort when it comes to hazelnuts!
The macadamia nut is most known for its exorbitant minibar prices. But it shouldn’t be; the macadamia nut is one of the most nutritious and delicious nuts in existence.
The macadamia nut differs considerably from other nuts in its nutritional profile. It contains much more saturated fat than other types of nuts. Some people think this is a negative, but if you eat a predominantly plant-based diet (maybe with some lean meat and fish thrown in from time to time), then you have nothing to fear from saturated fat. It is a necessary part of a balanced, healthy human diet!
However, it more than makes up for that with a massive serving of monounsaturated fats.
Here is a breakdown of the nutrient profile for 28g (or 1 Oz.) of macadamia nuts:
- 16.5g of monounsaturated fat
- 3.4g of saturated fat
- 57.7mg of omega-3 fatty acids
- 2.4g of fiber
- 2.2g of protein
Each serving is just 200 calories.
That may not look like an overly impressive nutrient profile. At face value, it looks as though cashews pack more of a punch. However, it isn’t all about how many vitamins and minerals you get per serving. After all, we think you should be eating ALL of these types of nuts, so they don’t all need to provide the same benefits.
The real strength of macadamia nuts is the high fat content. The vast majority of the calories from these nuts come from fats. This will keep you full for longer, and give you a nice, steady, slow energy release throughout the day. The result will be less hunger and better athletic performance.
If you’re trying to eat fewer calories, or quit snacking, then macadamia nuts can be a real ally.
Summary – Eat More Nuts
We think everyone should eat more nuts.
Or more accurately, we think everyone should rebalance their diet to get more of their calories from nuts, and fewer from meat and dairy.
The nuts listed above are some of the most nutritionally dense foods on earth. Many people call eggs nutritionally dense. But next to the hazelnut, the egg looks like junk food!
If you want to develop a lean, hard, powerful physique, and you want to live long enough to enjoy it, then getting more of your calories from nuts is the best way to begin the process.