I Am Going Nuts About Nuts Nutrition (Part 1)

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Do  you love nuts? Almonds, macadamias, pistachios, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts…

There is a nice variety and they are a perfect primal snack. Not great for a main course, but when you are truly hungry and you are not ready to make a meal, then grabbing a handful of nuts will tie you over for at least an hour or so. But, which ones are the best?

Is it possible that almonds, macadamias, and a few others are far superior to other nuts such as brazilnuts and walnuts? Continue reading to find out Primal Toad’s take on nuts. I did a little research this time.

My favorite site to look up the nutrition data on any food item is Nutrition Data. Fit Day is perfect for tracking your foods and finding out your caloric and macronutrient intake. But, Nutrition Data includes sugar as well as omega 3 and omega 6 content where as Fit Day does not. I gathered nutrition information and decided the following…

Top 4 Nuts to Eat (no particular order)

Nuts to Avoid

I believe there is no nut to avoid completely. They all have a lot of nutrition. But, walnuts have a sick amount of omega 6′s coming in at 10 grams per a 1 oz serving. Macadamia nuts on the other hand have only 36 grams. That is a HUGE difference as far as omega 6′s are concerned.

You may then counter and tell me that Walnuts also have 2.5 grams of omega 3′s which is the highest among any nut (as far as I know). That is true. But, it is not the EPA & DHA that I worry about. I get my omega 3′s from fish and supplement daily with fish oil from Mark’s Primal Essentials Kit. ALA from plants is important, but you can get enough from veggies, fruits, and healthier nuts.

How I am Breaking It Down

I am now going to break it down, nut by nut, so you can find out why I believe these are the 4 nuts you should consume if you choose to eat nuts as a snack. For polyunsaturated fat, omega 3 is listed first, then omega 6 and they are both in grams.

I will list the vitamins and minerals that have at least a 10% daily value for each nut. All data is taken from Nutrition Data. You can learn more about each nut by clicking on the blue link associated with each nut. For correct information, change the serving size to 1 oz.

Macadamia Nuts

  • 4 g Carbs, 2 g Protein, 21 g Fat
  • Amino Acid Score: 4
  • 16.5 g Monounsaturated Fat
  • .4 g Polyunsaturated Fat: .06 vs .36
  • Vitamins: 22% Thiamin
  • Minerals: 58% Manganese, 11% Copper

Almonds

  • 6 g Carbs, 6 g Protein, 14 g Fat
  • Amino Acid Score: 54
  • 8.6 g Monounsaturated Fat
  • 3.4 g Polyunsaturated Fat: .002 vs 3.4
  • Vitamins: 37% Vitamin E, 17% Riboflavin
  • Minerals: 19% Magnesium, 14% Phosphorus, 14% Copper, 32% Manganese

Hazelnuts

  • 5 g Carbs, 4 g Protein, 17 g Fat
  • Amino Acid Score: 55
  • 12.8 g Monounsaturated Fat
  • 2.2 g Polyunsaturated Fat: .02 vs 2.2
  • Vitamins: 21% Vitamin E, 12% Thiamin
  • Minerals: 11% Magnesium, 24% Copper, 86% Manganese

Pistachios

  • 8 g Carbs, 6 g Protein, 12 g Fat
  • Amino Acid Score: 109 (Contains ALL 9 Essential Amino Acids)
  • 6.5 g Monounsaturated Fat
  • 3.8 g Polyunsaturated Fat: .07 vs 3.7
  • Vitamins: 16% Thiamin, 24% Vitamin B6
  • 14% Phosphorus, 18% Copper, 17% Manganese

Final Notes

Again, just because I listed these 4 and not the others does not mean you should avoid walnuts, brazilnuts, cashews and other nuts. In fact… I am looking over these other nuts and finding that they all truly have their own unique properties. Brazilnuts have 767% Selenium but close to 6 g Omega 6 which is why I feel the above 4 are better. I also just realized that cashews contain all 9 essential amino acids as well.

I am strongly considering doing another post just like this with the other common nuts. I think it will be worth it so you can choose what nuts you want to eat more often than others since we all have different taste buds and nutrition needs based on the other food we eat. I look at the omega 3 content vs omega 6 content the most because I get all the nutrition I need from veggies, fruits, meat, fowl, fish, eggs.

Nuts are low carb, high fat, moderate protein and are easy to gather which makes them 100% primal. How about that? Just be sure to eat them as a snack or as a topping on other foods.

Are you looking for more nuts information?

For more information then please check out the articles via nuts search on MDA. And don’t forget to simply go to NutritionData.com and just input the nut you want to look up and bam! You have all the nutritional info you need right before your very eyes. It is where I got the nutritional information for this post.

How often do you eat nuts? Are they your go to snack? What is your favorite nut? Does this post alter your opinion on nuts and what ones you may eat down the road?

This post has been shared at Real Food Wednesday blog carnival.

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Comments

  1. says

    I eat nuts at least once or twice a day. It’s my go-to late afternoon snack when I’m hungry for dinner but it’s too early. I love Cashews but I know they’re not “The Best” to eat so I have a few of those and make sure I have a few almonds and macadamia. Paired with a few cherries or prunes and I’m satiated well into dinner time!

    This was a great post and very interesting. I’d love to see another with other nuts like you mentioned – cashews, pecans, etc.

    Although I have to tell you, Cashews must have crack in them. That’s the only explanation. ;)

  2. Marisa says

    I’m curious to hear about pecans too. I’m definitely an almond person (natural or lightly seasoned by myself) but I used to eat natural pecans much more. Cashews are a little too “greasy” tasting for me personally, but I like to have a couple every week or two :)

    • says

      I think most primal/paleo people enjoy almonds. I will more than likely be doing another one of these posts next week so check back then ;)

  3. says

    We eat mostly almonds – nuts, butter, and use meal in recipes. I like most nuts, but usually choose almonds for their carb/fiber #’s. They are also just plain delicious. I had a whole bunch of marcona almonds yesterday. So oily, so salty, so GOOD! I am allergic to pecans and walnuts, have been for years. I lurv hazelnut in my coffee and chocolate. Pistachio’s are a wonderful indulgence when I’ve got the money or my Mom paid, LOL. Hubby and I both love cashews. They are the sweetest nut, IMO. Macadamia’s I just can’t seem to eat plain. In dark chocolate would be ok. I used to get them in c o o k i e s, pre-PB, of course.
    And, I know they aren’t a nut per se, but we avoid peanuts now.

    • says

      Almonds seem to be a winner for all forms for primal/paleo people. For nut butters it is close between macadamia nut butter and almond butter for me. Same with the nut itself I think. I have never had a nut meal/flour outside of coconut flour.

  4. Madeline says

    I pack nuts, seeds & dried fruit in my purse before going out. Almonds, macadamians, walnuts, brazilian & a few cashews. Pecans & pinenuts are also healthy in omega 3. Lots of people to this day still eat peanuts thinking they are also nuts which technically is a legume & can be very allergenic.

    • says

      Yes, peanuts are one of the most allergenic foods. Pine nuts and pecans might have a decent amount of omega 3, but they are high in omega 6 too. And, its the omega 3 from fish and seafood that we need more of. Enter fish oil :)

  5. Simon says

    Great post! I took a look at the Nutrition data website and entered my food for today – 359% of RDA for saturated fat and an Inflammatory Factor of -464! I’ve been following PB for a few months with a decent amount of fat loss, but I could get scared by some of these figures! Any thoughts? Maybe I should ask Mark Sisson for his thoughts on the Inflammation Factor as a low carb diet is supposed to anti-inflammatory!

    • says

      What foods are you eating? Most of the paleo/primal foods are anti-inflammatory. Some of there foods are out of whack for the IF in my opinion. I wouldn’t really follow that number. Just eat the foods you know you are supposed to eat and you should be fine.

  6. says

    I enjoy just about all nuts. I don’t get too many hazelnuts but that could be my favorite is pistachios and tend to overlook the others when buying nuts. Now I can’t reacll where for the life of me, but I recalla recent article that was pumping up the pecan as the healthiest nut out there. It was supposed to be the king nut for lowering blood pressure and general heart health. True or not, I have no idea. I eat them all, yes more pistachios than the others, so I figure I am covered for the benefits nuts can provide.

    • says

      Pecans as the healthiest nut? I will have to look more into that. That article must have been written by a pecan lover, lol. I think it is very tough to say what is the healthiest as it just really depends on what the individual needs more of. If one is lacking selenium then a brazilnut might be the best choice. I enjoy all nuts too.

  7. says

    Peanuts are my favourite how come you didn’t include them. haha just kidding. No I love Macadamia nuts and almonds. They also make the perfect ‘grab’ snack as you said.

    • says

      Haha. I must admit… I still grab peanuts once in a while… but trily ONCE IN A WHILE. My parents ALWAYS have them on hand and when I visit my bro he, well, does not have much food, especially primal food, but he ALWAYS has peanuts… not true nuts.

  8. says

    I LOVE NUTS! I eat them every day. I eat a mix of dry roasted unsalted nuts. I eat about 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup a day, often with a fruit on the side like an apple. So good!!!!

    • says

      I do agree – they are quite tasty. I would say 1/4 to 1/3 cup is a good amount and adding a fruit like an apple definitely sounds great right now!

  9. says

    I love Macadamia Nuts!
    So High in good fats and extremely satisfying with only a handful! Built-in portion control in my opinion!

    Almonds are my go-to nut because most of the time macadamias are really pricey when you still have to buy diapers..:) I can only eat my nuts when my 6 year old is not around or at night because she is severely allergic to them all.

    Anyone ever try Sunbutter? I was curious how it was. I think it would be good for her. She has no probs with sunflower.

    • says

      Almonds and macadamias… these seem to be the favorites among primal/paleo folks for good reason.

      Sunbutter… Well sunflower seeds do have a lot of 06 so I would not eat a lot of them. But, once in a while would be fine. They do have a lot of other nutrition.

  10. says

    I’d like to read a similar article that includes a comparison of the anti-nutrients in each variety of nuts. I think that should be part of the discussion, too.

    • says

      Hi Tedd! Welcome to my blog!

      I agree with you 100%. I am not the one who does a lot of research as I enjoy more blogging about my personal experiences. I LOVE nuts so I decided to do a little easy research this time. But, I think the antinutrients are very important so I will be working on that and will do a follow up post before July is over.

      Part 2 is due out this week – nutritional information on the other 4 nuts.

  11. gharkness says

    @Julie, I get ya on the sun butter! I make my own despite the omega 3/6 ratio because it’s not worth having other nuts in the house, due to the allergy issues. Sun butter tastes the closest to peanut butter of all the nuts butters, IMO. BTW, the reason I don’t buy it already made is because 1) it’s pretty expensive and 2) all I’ve seen has sugar in it. Bah.

    Also, I am surprised that no one mentioned that – while a food of the gods – cashews are seeds, NOT nuts.

  12. Amanda J. says

    I eat about 2-3 oz of mixed nuts and seeds (pecans, walnuts, almond, sunflower seed and pumpkin seed), each work day. Due to the seasonality of nuts I try not to eat them on the weekend. I started my paleo journey in April also and have been reading up on comments of only eating nuts in the fall/winter. Well for now, for me, its nuts 4-5 days a week! Look forward to more nut info and your thoughts on seeds.

    • says

      That’s a lot of nuts! Are you taking an omega 3 fish oil supplement and/or do you eat a lot of fish? It just is a lot of omega 6 fatty acids…

  13. Michael says

    I ditched nuts…solely for the high n-6 contents
    may have it occasionally as part of a curry or as a base for something…but generally you won’t see me snacking on any :)

    • says

      Glad to hear that! I avoid them soley because of the omega 6 contents as well. I probably average 1 oz. a day, but it may be .5 oz soon. There is more nutrition in other primal foods.

  14. Joy says

    Good morning :))
    I would love more info on Nuts. I’m a huge nut fan.
    I did eat walnuts this past week, but have been eating Mac- nuts which I never did eat.
    Just stocked up on Marcona Almonds, Raw Cashews, Mac- nuts and I do enjoy Pitashios:)))
    thanks again for the great info :))

    • says

      Your welcome Joy!

      More information is on its way for Wednesday. I will do a follow up post again 1-3 weeks later.

      What are MARCONA Almonds? I LOVE pistachios and macadamias too.

    • says

      Another almond lover. Hazelnuts are excellent as well. I have never enjoyed almond pancakes – I love my coconut pancakes!

      • says

        I tried them last Sunday and they were great. It takes some getting used to when cooking. It’s not the same as the wheat pancakes. Still, aside from the texture which was more like a waffle and less like the bready pancake, they were pretty much the same. Just more nutty which I loved. Topped off with some honey and my mouth is already watering…

          • says

            Tell me how it goes. Twitter @LinkTwit. I’ll give you the same advice I gave a friend. Medium heat, flip when you see bubbles all over and flip confidently. Otherwise they break apart ;)

          • says

            Well, one problem… I do NOT have almond flour and have never purchased it. I am not sure when I will since I love my coconut flour and don’t really bake much. I will try it in the future but it might be a while.

            Remind me in 2011 ;)

          • says

            I just grinded some almonds in the food processor for a while and it worked like a charm. You can get blanched almonds if you find the taste of unblanched too bitter.

  15. Julie says

    I came to you via Kelly’s site. Thanks for the info on nuts. I have tried cooking with coconut flour and find I just don’t like it. I don’t know if I need more patience with it or if the recipes were just not to my liking. However, I love almond flour. It is tasty. I have only made almond cookies with them, and they disappear as fast as they come out of the oven. The flour I get is from blanched almonds, (I understand that the phytates are in the skin–am I right or am I wrong here?).

    • says

      I don’t cook with coconut flour outside of coconut pancakes. I love these to death. I have heard it is hard baking others stuff with coconut flour so that is where almond flour comes into play. I will probably use it in the future, but not often since I just don’t like to eat a lot of nuts.

  16. says

    The thing I usually worry about with nuts is that most of them that aren’t bought raw contain a bunch of crappy vegetable oils: cottonseed, soybean, corn, canola, peanut.. Make sure you read ingredient lists!

  17. Edison says

    Would you say it’s beneficial to eat 1 or 2 Brazil nuts per day (not servings or ounces, just 1 or 2 nuts total) so you can meet the daily selenium for your body?

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