NUTS: Benefits and properties [list]

NUTS: Benefits and properties [list]

What are the benefits of nuts?

More and more we tend to talk about 'nuts' and the benefits associated with their consumption.

The term 'nut' is often used incorrectly to indicate fruits in their shell, also known as oleaginous fruits or oily fruits. So, unlike fruit that has been dried in the true sense of the word and is commonly known as 'dried fruit', i.e. plums, apricots and raisins, all rich in carbohydrates that provide energy to our cells in the form of glucose (, oily nuts typically have high levels of unsaturated fatty acids, which are beneficial for the health of membranes and tissues.

With their high levels of fat and plant-based proteins, fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytocompounds (carotenoids, flavonoids, phytosterols and others), nuts are increasingly being recognised for their cardioprotective, anticancer, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Nut consumption is therefore important in alleviating disorders and preventing risks related to type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, hypertension, and metabolic syndrome - a group of pathologies that significantly compromise the cardiovascular system (

Let's now analyse in detail this very important food category: nuts. In-depth analysis can help us to better understand the reasons why a healthy diet could be helpful in supporting our body as well as living healthily.

Here is a list of nuts and their benefits:

  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios
  • Pine Nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Pecan Nuts


Almond oil is also well-known in cosmetics for its emollient and nourishing properties for the skin and hair.

The fatty component in almonds consists mainly of monounsaturated fats (MUFA) such as oleic acid and polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) from which omega-6s derive (E. Ros, 2010).

Consumption of unsaturated fats is preferable to that of saturated fats as it leads to a reduction in 'bad cholesterol' or LDL, which causes atherosclerosis and high levels of triglycerides in the blood. So if we're aiming at increasing our 'good cholesterol' or HDL, all we have to do is to consume the polyunsaturated fats that help us clean our arteries. Numerous clinical studies confirm that adding nuts, and particularly almonds, to our diet results in improvement of lipid profiles (DA Hyson et al., 2002) which have a cardioprotective activity.

A considerable source of fibre, which reduces cholesterol absorption and promotes detoxification of the gut, almonds contain alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), the main antioxidant in our body (Sing-Chung Li et al; 2010) that contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals.

They are also rich in minerals and trace elements such as magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, copper, zinc, phosphorus and manganese. Recent studies confirm that almond consumption improves blood sugar control and reduces the risk of complications in type 2 diabetes patients (Sing-Chung Li et al; 2010).


  • Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Promote intestinal motility
  • Possess antioxidant and anti-anemic properties
  • Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes


Also known as Avellane (in Italian), the name derives from Avella, a town in Campania in the south of Italy, which has been famous since ancient times for its hazelnut cultivation. Rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3), hazelnuts are an invaluable aid in preventing cardiovascular diseases.

In addition to their high mineral salt content, including selenium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus and calcium, hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol). The main function of vitamin E is to protect the body's cells from the harmful effects of free radicals, which are nothing more than 'waste' products formed inside the cells capable of causing premature ageing (oxidative process) of the tissues thereby encouraging the onset of serious diseases such as cancer and hypertension.

We can therefore safely say that vitamin E acts like a kind of 'free-radical scavenger', which blocks their activity. Hazelnuts are also an excellent source of B vitamins (B1, B6 and niacin) and fibre, whose chief characteristic is to pass through the gastrointestinal tract undigested and bind to debris and toxins, thus cleaning the gut and preventing constipation (A. Pourfarzad, 2017).


  • Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduce the risk of hypertension
  • Promote intestinal motility,
  • Provide a feeling of satiety,
  • Provide vitamins and minerals


The tree that produces cashews actually provides two types of fruit: a fresh fruit, from which it is possible to obtain a sweet and refreshing juice that is consumed especially in the countries where it is produced, known as cashew apple, and a seed, which is what we recognize as a cashew nut and is consumed all over the world.

Compared to other nuts, cashews contain less fat and are rich in vitamin B1 (thiamine) (J.Trox et al., 2010). They also contain appreciable levels of beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, precursors of vitamin A (required for the proper functioning of the immune system and for sight) (J.Trox et al., 2010).

Beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, vegetable pigments, perform a protective function against UV rays and oxidative stress (J.Trox et al., 2010). They also contain vitamins B3, B6 and E, mineral salts such as potassium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, manganese, copper and calcium.


  • Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Protect eyesight ,
  • Possess antioxidant properties,
  • Regulate cholesterol levels
  • Provide a feeling of satiety


Among nuts, pistachios are the richest in phytosterols (M. Ghaseminasab Parizi et al., 2015; E. Ryan et al., 2006). Phytosterols are fats with a chemical structure similar to that of cholesterol, which perform the same function in plants as cholesterol does in mammals: that is, they regulate the fluidity of cell membranes.

The dominant phytosterols in the world of nuts are beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol, which form mixed micelles with any cholesterol present during digestion thus reducing its absorption. (S.Azadmard-Damirchi et al.; 2011). Like the other varieties of nuts, pistachios are also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and contain generous quantities of carotenoids (alpha and beta carotene), lutein, vitamin E, mineral salts such as phosphorus, calcium, iron, magnesium and in particular potassium.

A pistachio-rich diet will therefore reduce 'bad' cholesterol (LDL) and prevent the onset of cardiovascular diseases. (M. Ghaseminasab Parizi et al., 2015).


  • They reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Source of mineral salts and vitamins
  • They have antioxidant properties
  • They carry out an anti-inflammatory action
  • They provide a feeling of satiety


They have higher polyunsaturated than monounsaturated fatty acid content (E. Ros, 2010). Like pistachios, they are rich in phytosterols (S.Azadmard-Damirchi et al., 2011).

The simultaneous presence of all these nutrients means that the consumption of pine nuts reduces the risk of the onset of cardiovascular diseases. Consuming pine nuts, within a healthy diet, enables the regulation of hormones that regulate the sense of hunger by providing a feeling of satiety.

They are rich in mineral salts including manganese, iron, zinc ( ), calcium, potassium, and phosphorus; they also supply vitamin B1, which intervenes in the transformation of glucose into energy, and folic acid (vitamin B9), which is indispensable for the production of red blood cells and useful in pregnancy for the correct development of the embryo's nervous system and bone marrow.


  • They reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • They provide a feeling of satiety
  • Source of vitamins B1 and B9


Among nuts, walnuts are those that contain the highest percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic (omega-3) (E. Ros, 2010; JA Vinson et al, 2012). The latter (linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid) are also called essential fatty acids, the fundamental building blocks for all types of body lipids.

They are defined as 'essential' because the organism is not able to produce them itself and so they need to be ingested as part of the diet, which is also the only source. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) also has an important anti-inflammatory action on the body.

It should be remembered that most of the antioxidant substances in nuts are found in the external cuticle. Since they are always consumed as they are, walnuts maintain their antioxidant capacity (E. Ros, 2010). Furthermore, they are also an excellent source of group B vitamins (B1, B6, and folic acid) that are involved as coenzymes in all metabolic and food transformation processes, of vitamin E, due to its powerful antioxidant action, and of important mineral salts such as iron, calcium, and magnesium. The low carbohydrate content and the high fat and protein content means that if we consume walnuts as a snack or during a meal (in addition to salad, bread, soups, etc.), these will have a lower overall glycemic impact.

Foods consisting mainly of proteins and fats, have a lower glycemic index, provide a feeling of satiety and slow the onset of the hunger stimulus.


  • They reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • They contrast hypertension
  • They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
  • They provide a feeling of satiety


Brazil nuts are a good source of nutrients including protein, fibre, selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, thiamine, niacin, iron, potassium, zinc and copper (J.Yang, 2009). Their composition includes both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. However, compared to other nuts, they also contain quite high amounts of saturated fatty acids and so should be consumed more sparingly by those who are overweight.

Brazil nuts are also one of the foods which is most rich in selenium, a mineral that regulates the body's production of essential antioxidant enzymes and can affect various metabolic functions (E. Colpo et al., 2013). A single Brazil nut (about 5 g) supplies 174% of the recommended daily selenium requirement (C. Alasalvar et al., 2015).

Compared to other nuts, Brazil nuts have a much higher content of squalene, a chemical compound in which livers of sharks - from which it gets its Italian name ('squalo' = shark) - are particularly rich. In humans, squalene acts as a precursor in the production of steroid hormones (E. Ryan et al.; 2006), cholesterol and sebum (the oily patina which helps keep the skin soft and defends it from external agents).


  • They reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • They regulate blood cholesterol levels
  • Excellent source of selenium
  • They have an antioxidant action


These nuts were discovered over 500 years ago by Australian Aborigines, which is why they are also known as Queensland Nuts. They have a higher fat content than any other nut (75-80%) (C. Alasalvar et al., 2015), and so they are not suitable as part of a low-calorie diet.

Macadamia nuts are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, in particular palmitoleic acid (E. Ros, 2010), and omega-3. A study has shown that, despite their high-fat content, adding macadamia nuts to a healthy, balanced diet leads to an improvement in the lipid composition of the blood in people with hypercholesterolemia (ML Grag et al.; 2003). This is due to the fact that the intake of unsaturated fatty acids, compared to those of saturated fats, improves the lipid profile and leads to a reduction in 'bad cholesterol' (LDL).

They are rich in magnesium, calcium, selenium, and phosphorus and are a good source of mineral salts. They contain vitamin A, which is very beneficial for bones, skin, hair and the reinforcement of the immune system; vitamin B1 (just a handful of macadamia nuts provides 30% of the daily requirement of thiamine); and vitamin B2 (riboflavin), folates and flavonoids which act as antioxidants.


  • They reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • They improve the lipid profile of the blood (by lowering the LDL index)
  • They have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action


Pecan nuts are the fundamental ingredient of the famous American Pecan Pie, which is eaten on special occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. As with other nuts, the lipid composition of pecan nuts is mainly made up of monounsaturated fatty acids.

Among the polyunsaturates, linoleic acid is most prevalent, an essential fatty acid precursor of the whole class of omega-6 fatty acids (E. Ros, 2010). Pecan nuts have a large amount of fibre (30 g of pecan nuts provide 10% of the daily consumption of fibre recommended for an adult). In combination with phytosterols, they help reducing the sensation of hunger, promote regular intestinal transit, and reduce cholesterol absorption (

Pecan nuts are an excellent source of mineral salts such as phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, and copper. They are also rich in flavonoids and gamma-tocopherol, which have an antioxidant action (C. Hudthagosol et al., 2011). Research has shown that consumption of pecan nuts can slow down age-related muscle degeneration (Suchy et al, 2010).


  • They reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • They regulate cholesterol levels
  • They provide a feeling of satiety

For many years, nuts have been demonized because of their high-calorie content and thus used to be banned from balanced diets.

Currently, with increasing scientific evidence on their content including good fats, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, nuts are now claiming their rightful position as food that is healthy and promotes health - so much so that the NRV (UK), RDA (US), and the FDA recommend regular daily consumption of 30 g.

On Nuturally you can buy Nuts online without salt and without additives. Just natural Nuts.

Sources and insights:

Euro Company Quality and Laboratory Department [Nuturally]

Azadmard-Damirchi et al.; Nuts composition and their Health Benefits; 2011; 5(9)

Ros; Health benefits of nuts consumption; Nutrients; 2010; 2:652-682.

J.A. Vinson et al.; Nuts, especially walnuts, have both antioxidant quantity and efficacy and exhibit significant potetial health benefits; Food & Function; 2012; 3:134-140.

D.A. Hyson et al.; Almonds and almond oil have similar effects on plasma lipidis and LDL oxidation in healthy men and women; The Journal of Nutrition; 2002; 132:703-707.

Sing-Chung Li et al.; Almond consumption improved glycemic control and lipid profiles in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus; Metabolism Clinical and Experimental; 2010.

Trox et al.; Bioactive compounds in cashew nut (Anacardium occidentale L.) kernels: effect of different shelling methods; Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry; 2010; 58(9):5341-6.

E.Ryan et al.; Fatty acid profile, tocopherol, squalene and phytosterol continent of brazil, pecan, pine, pistachio and cashew nuts; International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition; 2006; 57(3/4): 219-228.

Pourfarzad et al.; Health benefits of hazelnuts; EC Nutrition; 2017; 8.3:101-105.

Arya et al.; Peanuts as functional food: a review; Journal of Food Science and Technology; 2016; 53(1):31-41.

Ghaseminasab Parizi et al.; A rewiew on pistachio: its composition and benefits regarding the prevention or treatment of disease; JOHE; 2015; 4(1). Yang; Brazil nuts and associated health benefit: a review; LWT-Food Science and Technology; 2009; 42:1573-1580.

Colpo et al.; A single consumption of high amounts of the Brazil nuts improves lipid profile of healthy volunteers; Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism; 2013.

M.L. Garg et al.; Macadamia nut consumption lowers plasma total and LDL cholesterol levels in hypercholesterolemic men; The Journal of Nutrition; 2003; 133(4):1060-1063.

Hudthagosol et al.; Pecans acutely increase plasma prosprandial antioxidant capacity and catechins and decrease LDL oxidation in humans; The Journal of Nutrition; 2011; 141:56-62.

Rajaram et al.; Nuts, body weight and insulin resistance; British Journal of Nutrition; 2006; 96(2): S79-S86.

Alasalvar, B. W. Bolling; Review of nut phytochemicals, fat-soluble bioactives, antioxidant components and health effects; British Journal of Nutrition; 2015; 113, S68–S78



Silvia Marconi, MA in Health Biology

Elena Ronchi (#cucinasalutarenaturale)

Our nuts

Related posts

Share this content

You added: You removed:

Updated order tot. (incl. shipping): ( products)