As one of the quickest, easiest and most versatile snack foods on the planet, nuts should be a staple of every bodybuilder's diet. They are great additions to breakfasts, protein shakes, exports, baked goods, salads and more and also make a great snack on their own. They can help satisfy salt cravings and tide you over between meals. Here are 6 of the healthiest, most nutrient-packed nuts to snack on:
At 13 grams per one-ounce serving, walnuts are one of the best sources of polyunsaturated fats. One of the beneficial kinds of dietary fat, polyunsaturated fats help reduce fat storage in the body and improve your insulin metabolism. They help counter the harmful, fat-storing effects of saturated fats found in baked goods and red meat. You can add them to oatmeal, cereal or baked goods, put them in salads or use them to make homemade granola bars.
Less common than the walnut, the Brazil nut probably is not the first thing to come to mind when you think of nuts or health foods. However, it is the richest known food source of an important mineral, which gives it a place of honor on this list. Brazil nuts contain more selenium-which is essential for regulating your metabolism and keeping your immune system stronger than than any other source. Just two Brazil nuts has a day's worth of selenium, as well as zinc, potassium, magnesium and other minerals. Try chopping them up and tossing them in yogurt or oatmeal.
Lower in calories than many other nuts, pistachios go further to satisfy your hunger without ruining your daily calorie count and because of this make a great snack. They're also loaded with manganese, potassium, copper, calcium, iron, vitamin E, antioxidants and many other beneficial vitamins and minerals. They also contain the vitamin B-complex group, which is important for vegetarians and vegans. You can toss them in salads or other dishes, but they're just as good eat plain as a snack between meals.
Pecans are higher in calories than the other nuts on this list, so portion size is essential, but they are packed with so many other benefits that outweigh the slightly higher calorie count. A one ounce serving has three grams of fiber and more than 20 vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and E, calcium, zinc and potassium. Pecans are also among the top 20 known food sources for antioxidant capacity per serving and have been shown to help reduce the risk of developing multiple diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and multiple forms of cancer.
Almonds are cheap, rich in protein and packed with full-body health benefits, almonds hit the health trifecta. With the same protein content as more expensive nuts like walnuts, almonds are also high in manganese and vitamin E but easy on the wallet. Scientific studies have also found that regularly eating almonds reduces your risk of developing heart disease and can also help lower elevated levels of bad cholesterol. You can eat them raw or toasted as a snack, put them in yogurt, oatmeal and baked goods, use them to make homemade granola or throw them in a protein shake for an extra boost.
They may taste like butter, but these little nuts are nutrient-rich and packed with vitamins. Make sure to measure out your portions before you start snacking, as the calories-163 per one ounce serving-can add up quickly with these little guys. However, that same one ounce serving also provides you with all your daily, recommended phosphorous as well as iron, zinc, thiamine, vitamin B6, magnesium and manganese. They're also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and each one ounce serving also has one gram of fiber.