Most nuts are good for your health if you eat them in moderation. Some, however, are better than others, especially if you have underlying health conditions or nut allergies.
- Nuts high in fats: Nuts that are high in added sugar, salt, oils, or fats can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and weight gain. Nuts are also calorie-dense and delicious, making them easy to overeat. So it’s important to opt for dry, roasted nuts over salted or fried varieties, and to eat them in moderation.
- Nuts high in oxalates: If you have kidney stones, you should avoid nuts that are high in oxalates, such as Brazil nuts and cashews. Oxalates can increase your risk of developing kidney stones.
- Tree nuts: If you are allergic to nuts, you should avoid tree nuts.
Are cashews bad for you?
In addition to being high in oxalates, cashews are also high in saturated fats. However, since the main saturated fat in cashews comes from stearic acid, cashews have neutral effects on blood cholesterol levels and may even be beneficial for your blood pressure.
Studies suggest that it is better to avoid consuming raw cashews because they contain a toxin called urushiol. This toxin can cause an allergic skin reaction similar to the one caused by poison ivy exposure. Hence, cashews are typically removed from their shells and roasted or steamed before they are sold in the markets.
What nuts to avoid if you have food allergies
Peanuts are one of the most common causes of nut allergies and can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Peanuts and other tree nuts contain similar proteins, meaning that people with peanut allergies may be allergic to other tree nuts as well.
The most common tree nut allergies include:
What are nut allergy symptoms?
Nut allergy symptoms vary from person to person, but the most common symptoms include:
- Trouble breathing
- Stomach pain or cramps
- Loose stools
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Hoarse voice
- Swelling over the face or mouth
- Pale skin
Some people may develop anaphylaxis, which is characterized by severe shortness of breath, chest discomfort, and fainting and requires urgent medical attention.
Which are the healthiest nuts to eat?
Nuts that are high in fiber, protein, and good fats include:
- Macadamia nuts
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Harvard T.H. Chan. Nuts for the Heart. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/nuts-for-the-heart/
American Heart Association. Go Nuts (But just a little!) https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/go-nuts-but-just-a-little
Godman H. Avoiding nuts and seeds for better gut health? You shouldn’t. Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/avoiding-nuts-and-seeds-for-better-gut-health-you-shouldnt-2019090317593
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