Nuts are fun and healthy to eat. But are they always keto-friendly?
If you are not eating nuts you are missing out. They are delicious and packed with nutrients. In fact, a handful of nuts is much better than a chocolate bar for snacking even though they may have the same calories.
However, many experts don’t recommend eating nuts on a keto diet because they are high in carbs. A handful of Pistachio, for example, contains at least 22g of carbs which is over the maximum daily intake on keto (20g).
On the other hand, there are still several keto-friendly options for nuts. You just have to be careful with it. Exactly like vegetables, some are low while others are high in carbs and those should be avoided.
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How Nuts Fit Into The Diet
A handful of low-carb nuts per day is the ultimate amount recommended, but how much is a handful? Hands come in different sizes and shapes.
We can say that the average hand can hold 30g of nuts. It is perfect for keto. You get the sufficient amount of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, calcium…) while carbs are less than 7g or, in optimal cases, less than 1g.
However, this requires a lot of self-discipline and resistance because nuts are delicious and they can get out of your control.
Take for example Brazil nuts. They are the lowest in carbs (4g) but if you eat a handful when you are hungry it won’t fill that void. What is the solution then?
Be Creative. Nuts can fit in every meal. They are portable and, most of them, don’t require any special cooking. It can be a keto cereal bowl or a roasted mix. There are plenty of ideas, the sky is the limit.
Nuts’ Health Benefits
As we mentioned before, nuts are packed with nutrients but they are not distributed equally. In fact, some nuts are higher in some nutrients than others. For example, pecans are a great source of vitamin A and they are low in carbs which make them perfect for keto.
Added to that, we know how important antioxidants are to fight stress and to free the body from excessive waste. Well, nuts are loaded with antioxidants.
In a recent study, researchers have shown that polyunsaturated fatty acids in walnuts have a larger antioxidant capacity than fish.
Other than that, nuts can also help with weight loss, lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation and overcome cravings…
A lot of varieties of nuts are salted. They make it even more delicious which is tempting. There is no harm in adding salt to nuts, the problem is that you can end up eating more. Considering the caloric density of nuts, you may gain more weight instead of losing it.
To make sure you get the reward of salted nuts without gaining too much weight, there are some simple tricks that you can apply.
For example, select precisely what you will eat and avoid any distractions while eating like TV, your phone… Also, you can cut back on nuts if you realize you are not losing weight.
Top 5 Keto Nuts
Here is our list for best keto nuts from the most keto-friendly (contains fewer carbs than the others):
One ounce of pecans provides 196 calories, 20g of total fats, 2.6g of proteins and 4g of carbs of which 2.7 are fibers. They are an excellent source of minerals like manganese which helps the metabolism to function properly.
Fats that come from pecans are mostly monounsaturated fats which are healthy fats. They help reduce bad cholesterol levels in the blood, as a result, lower risks of heart diseases and stroke.
Also, pecans are rich in flavonoids, which are a type of antioxidant hardly found in any other type of nuts. Apart from reducing the risk of chronic diseases, this antioxidant also helps with weight maintenance.
In fact, a 2016 study proved that the increasing consumption of flavonoids substances is strongly associated with weight maintenance.
#2 Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are so large in size. A simple serving can consist of just 3 pieces but very nutritious. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one serving of Brazil nuts provides 99 calories, 2.15g of proteins, 10.06g of fats and 1.76g of carbs of which 1.1g are fibers.
Not to mention that Brazil nuts are considered the richest source in selenium among other nuts, an essential trace mineral that is important for cognitive function, immune system and reproduction.
Because they are rich in dietary fibers and healthy fats, Brazil nuts help reduce bad cholesterol levels in the blood and lower the risk of chronic diseases like stroke and obesity.
#3 Macadamia Nuts
With 204 calories, 23g fats, 2g proteins and 1g of net carbs in one ounce, macadamias are one of the most calorie-rich nuts. High in healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Macadamia nuts are loaded with antioxidants such as flavonoids and tocotrienols (A form of vitamin E with antioxidant properties). They fight inflammation and protect against cancer and brain diseases.
Also, the high amounts of antioxidants in macadamias neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause cellular damage.
Furthermore, they can also help with weight-loss despite being rich in calories. That can be explained by the number of nutrients they contain.
In fact, in a 3-week study, researchers have shown that macadamias can boost weight-loss more effectively than butter or coconuts.
Just like other nuts, Hazelnuts are rich nutrients, fibers, healthy fats, and proteins. They are sweet and can be eaten in many different ways.
One ounce of hazelnuts (28 grams) contains 176 calories, 17g of fats, 4.2g of proteins and 4.7g of carbs in which 2.7g are fibers.
Nutrients in Hazelnuts are vitamin B6, folate, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Not to mention that they are also a great source for mono and polyunsaturated fats.
A handful of hazelnuts is not only nutritious but may also be good for your heart. It normalizes blood pressure due to the amount of healthy fats they contain.
Also, researches have shown that Hazelnut supplementation enhances plasma antioxidant potential and lowers plasma cholesterol levels.
Walnuts provide 200 calories of energy, 3.89g of carbs 2g of it are fibers, 5g of proteins and 20g of total fats per ounce (28grams).
Just like the other nuts, walnuts help reduce cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of several heart diseases.
However, other researches have shown that walnuts, especially, can benefit endothelial function which is linked to lower stress levels.
Consuming walnuts can help you lose weight while rest. In fact, in a study, it was shown that it can boost weight loss by boosting fat-burning because it is considered an energy-dense food due to the amount of calories it holds.
The Bottom Line
The common thing for all nuts is that they are loaded with nutrients which makes them the best option for a snack.
Although we don’t recommend snacking on keto, whenever you feel hungry between meals, you can eat nuts. However, try to use the 5 nuts in the list above because other nuts can be high in carbs and that can easily get you out of ketosis if not consumed in moderation (Pistachio, Cashew, Pine…).
Wondering what to eat on a keto diet?
We provide you a 7-day keto plan with our top picks dishes. We made sure that you will get low-carbs and high-fat meals with the most tasty flavors. And, of course, we want it to be for everyone, that is why it is a Plan on Budget.