There are a lot of nuts out there. Between the culinary nuts we use in baking to the ones we just enjoy as a raw snack, grocery stores are often loaded with a wide variety of nuts.
We're here to explore the more popular types of nuts with you. Everything from their health risks and benefits right down to their texture. We also provided nutritional information for these types of nuts, and the numbers are based on a serving of about 50 grams.
Easily one of the most common nuts out there, peanuts are well-known to just about everyone. They're small, packed with flavor, and seemingly in everything.
Peanuts can come in a variety of ways, from different cooking times to varying flavor added. But, peanuts in their purest form, are smooth and easy to bite into. However, when they're still in the shell you can expect a larger, bumpier exterior.
The texture and taste will shift based on whether the peanuts are salted or have added flavoring like chili or sea salt.
Without any added preservatives or sweetener, peanuts are beneficial to our health. They're actually a great source of protein and studies have shown that they're low in carbs. This makes them a good food for those on a keto diet or anyone suffering from diabetes.
Peanut butter is also being used to help diagnose Alzheimer's disease. Jennifer Stamps, a graduate student in the University of Florida (UF) McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste explained to Medical News Today that the ability to smell is often one of the first functions to decline when Alzheimer's takes form. Stamps added that peanut butter is a "pure odorant" that's only detected by the olfactory nerve, which helps determine if people are developing the condition.
Almonds are delicious on their own; we can munch on a handful as a snack or buy flavored packages for the road. They're also considered to be a superfood (so long as you're not eating raw bitter almonds...)
The almonds we know and love from the grocery store are relatively sweet and can be made into a healthy snack. They're on the smaller side, though larger than peanuts, with a crunchy and crisp exterior. Depending on how you eat them (dry roasted for example), they may become even crunchier.
Almonds are a superfood. Not only are they packed with calcium, magnesium, and fiber, studies have proven how almonds can lead to weight loss. Additional studies concluded how almonds actually possess the power to fight skin cancer by reversing the effects caused by unhealthy eating. These types of nuts have also been linked to lower cholesterol and insulin levels.
However, they're quite high in calories and fat, so it's important that you not stock up on these guys too often. A handful or so is more than fine, though.
How many times have we seen a recipe call for crushed walnuts? These types of nuts can add a good amount of crunch and flavor to certain baked goods, or enjoyed on their own.
You'll definitely need a nutcracker to break these guys out of their shell. The shell can be tough and bumpy, but the nut itself is about the size of a quarter, misshapen, and easy to eat. They're not as crunchy as almonds, but they do possess some crispiness.
Much like other types of nuts, walnuts have a lot to bring to the table. They're packed with essential fatty acids and polyphenols, which when ingested by humans, can potentially lead to reduced inflammation and properties that can help fight certain diseases such as cancer or cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that along with peanuts and almonds, the consumption of walnuts can protect women from developing breast cancer. Walnuts have also been linked to curbing hunger and helping to control weight.
Hazelnuts give us a lot to be thankful for. Yes, they're delicious on their own, but the hazelnut graced us with Nutella. Let's face it, our lives would be much sadder without Nutella.
Hazelnuts are a bit on the larger side both in width and length. When they're still inside the shell, you'll be looking at a brown casing that's smooth and round. Hazelnuts plucked from the trees will have the brown shell but a bit of fuzz on either end. The hazelnut itself it more in the shape of a shallot and an off-white color.
You can prepare hazelnuts in many ways, but they become more flavourful with a subtle taste when they're roasted as opposed to eating raw.
A creamy hazelnut spread brings enough joy to our lives, but hazelnuts do more for us than just bettering desserts. These types of nuts have lots of protein, magnesium, iron, and vitamins. These types of nuts are also well-known for their high level of antioxidants, which contribute to a lower risk of contracting chronic diseases and promotes better health overall.
Just like with walnuts, pecans are often sought after in baked goods or can be enjoyed as a healthy snack. While some of the nuts on this list (ahem, almonds) can be a tad expensive in stores, pecans are usually on the more inexpensive side.
Pecans sort of look like a nut that's folded in on itself. They're about the length of a quarter and have a crumbly texture. They're sweeter, just like almonds, and more on the tender side as opposed to ones that are very crunchy.
Munching on a handful of pecans can give you quite a few health benefits. Studies have shown that a pecan-rich diet leads to a "reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, mortality from type 2 diabetes, and all-cause mortality." Additional studies have also proven pecans possess anti-cancer properties and help with controlling weight.
As great as nuts can be, there are thousands of people who suffer from allergies. Those with nut allergies experience symptoms due to the immune system misinterpreting the protein in the nut as harmful invaders. So, as opposed to welcoming the protein, the immune system tries to fight and this causes an allergic reaction.
Typical symptoms of nut allergies are:
For the most part, anyone suffering at the hands of various nuts have dealt with the phenomenon since childhood. Epi-pens and shots are typical methods to cure any allergic reactions, as well as staying away from nuts in general. However, if you do experience any of the above symptoms and haven't been diagnosed with a preexisting condition, you should see your doctor immediately.
The nutritional value of these types of nuts shows just how calorie dense they are. That's not even counting the ones we didn't mention! The fat can soar on some nuts as well, which is why you should be mindful of how many you're eating. Be sure not to have more than a handful or so at a time.
Nuts can also be tough to digest sometimes, leading to bloating or stomach cramps. The big reason why they're so tough to digest is due to the high fat content. Additionally, even when people aren't allergic, nuts can lead to nausea in some due to their tannins (an organic substance). Almonds don't have such a high amount, but raw pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts do.
These popular types of nuts are the ones more typically found in bulk or sought after for recipes. They each bring something different to the table in terms of health benefits, but they all share similarities in the risks. Those suffering from nut allergies should avoid any of the nuts that trigger reactions or visit their doctor should they experience any symptoms after consumption. It's also important not to eat too many at a time due to the high level of fat and calories.