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Style: Folsom | El Dorado Hills

Placerville Expert on Health Benefits of Nuts

Mar 29, 2016 05:01PM ● By Kourtney Jason

Nuts are crucial for a healthy diet. According to Tamalisa Carlson, MPH, RD, a registered dietitian at Marshall Medical Center, these nutritional powerhouses are excellent sources of healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

“They help to reduce the risk for heart disease as part of a healthy diet pattern, especially when they replace sources of animal-based fats or sugars,” she says. “Nuts may also be beneficial in improving blood sugar response as a low-glycemic food choice.”

According to the recently released 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, individuals should consume between two to five servings of nuts per week (serving size equals one ounce) as part of a general healthy eating plan, she explains. Each one-ounce serving provides 160-200 calories, so portion control is also important.


“Almonds are a good source of calcium, magnesium and phosphorous, which makes them an excellent choice for healthy teeth and bones,” she says. They are packed with fiber and are very low in saturated fat, even as compared to other nuts. To enjoy, sprinkle slivered almonds in salads or yogurt.



Peanuts are actually legumes (meaning a member of the bean family), but their nutrition profile is very similar to other nuts. They are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats. Citing recent studies, Carlson explains peanuts have been shown to have a positive effect on controlling blood sugars. “Peanuts are also a good source of resveratrol, which is the same antioxidant found in wine, and may be protective against certain cancers, heart disease and stroke,” she says. To add more peanuts to your diet, you can make easy swaps. “Try replacing butter with peanut butter on bread, or on celery or apple slices,” she says. “Or add peanut powder to smoothies to boost the protein and health benefits.”


Pecans are a rich source of heart-healthy oils, vitamin E and ellagic acid, which is an antioxidant that protects cells from damage and cancers, she says. Enjoy toasted pecans by adding them to your oatmeal.


Pistachios provide the same heart-healthy benefits as other nuts; in addition, they’re an especially good source of copper and iron, which is important for cellular health.


Walnuts are one of the best-studied nuts. Not only are they especially high in omega-3 fats, which provide the same benefits found in oily fish, but they come in a more portable, on-the-go package too.

Carlson suggests keeping snack-pack sizes of roasted nuts in your bag, in your car or at your desk to help curb hunger cravings throughout the day. You can also enjoy warm roasted nuts within minutes at home. “To roast nuts for the freshest taste and to avoid added oils, place a single layer of nuts on a cookie sheet in a preheated 400-degree Fahrenheit oven for 6-8 minutes,” she says. “You’ll smell the delicious aroma of the toasted nuts when they’re ready. Add spices or seasonings as desired and enjoy.”

Article by Kourtney Jason. Photo © Natalia Merzlyakova/

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