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Big Debate: Which is the Best Nut to Eat?

Tree nuts are one of the oldest foods on earth, but they are enjoying renewed interest as evidence of their health benefits continues to accumulate. All are a good source of plant protein, provide many vitamins and minerals, and valuable phytonutrients. They have no cholesterol or sodium in their natural state and supply heart-healthy oils. Find out here which ones are tops in which nutrients, but don’t look for a winner. Eat the one – or ones – you like the best!


Walnuts: The Central Valley of California produces 99% of the U.S. supply and 75% of the walnuts eaten by the rest of the world.
Highest in omega-3 alpha linolenic acids and polyunsaturated fat.
One ounce = 12-14 halves.

Almonds: Believed to have originated in Central Asia,80% of the world’s supply now comes from California.
Highest in protein (with pistachios), fiber, calcium, riboflavin and vitamin E.
One ounce = 23 almonds.

Pecans: The U.S. produces 80% of world’s supply with Georgia the leading state for pecan production.
Contains over 19 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
One ounce = 19 halves.

Pistachio: The oldest edible nut, originating in the Middle East over 9000 years ago.
Highest in protein (with almonds), thiamin (with macadamia) and vitamin B6.
One ounce = 49 nuts.

Cashews: Originally found in Brazil near the equator, India, Vietnam, and Mozambique join Brazil as the principle producers today.
Highest in iron and copper and lowest in calories.
One ounce = 16 nuts.

Brazil Nuts: Native to the Amazon jungle, Bolivia, Brazil and Peru are the chief producing countries.
Highest in magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium and highest in saturated fat.
One ounce = 6 nuts.

Hazelnuts: Also known as filberts and cobnuts, Turkey, Italy, Spain and the U.S. are the biggest suppliers.
Highest in folate.
One ounce = 21 nuts.

Pine Nuts: Found inside pine cones, they are also called Indian nut, pinon, pinoli and pignolia.
Highest in manganese and zinc.
One ounce = 167 nuts.

Macadamia: Native to the Australian rainforest, they were introduced to Hawaii in 1882 and it has become one of the main growers along with Australia.
Highest in thiamin (with pine nuts), calories, total fat, and monounsaturated fat.
One ounce = 10-12 nuts.