Pecans aren’t only for topping desserts — they’re tops in terms of antioxidant activity as well.Pecans are the highest ranking nut on the ORAC scale, which measures how well different foods neutralize certain kinds of free radicals that can accelerate aging and DNA damage. Other research has found that pecans may dramatically lower blood cholesterol levels — perhaps thanks to both their ample unsaturated fats as well as their phytosterols. Pecans also rival walnuts in gamma-tocopherol content.
Peanuts, like the other nutritionally dismissed “p” food, the potato, too often hide their health benefits under a coating of fat and salt.Though not strictly a nut (they are in fact a legume), peanuts contain more protein than tree nuts. They also contain resveratrol — the potent antioxidant with potential cancer fighting properties.
Brazil nuts are perhaps the best source of selenium, a mineral needed for proper thyroid and immune function.Selenium may also protect against cancers of the prostate, liver and lungs.But keep in mind that just one Brazil nut provides 160% of the RDA for selenium — while anything above eight times the RDA could be harmful (leading, eventually, to selenosis, the symptoms of which include brittle hair and nails).How many Brazil nuts in 1.5 oz? Ten – which provide fifteen times the RDA, or twice the upper tolerable level of selenium.So munch with care.
Fat Phenoms (Good & Bad):
Hazelnuts are the top nut source of those heart healthy monounsaturated fats (see peanuts, above).
Macadamia nuts are the highest in total fats and calories and are therefore not really a good choice from a nutrition standpoint. They are, however, an excellent source of vitamin B1 (thiamin).
Published January 9, 2006