Did you know nut eaters live longer than people who don’t eat nuts and have a lower risk of death from cancer and heart disease? That’s because nuts are nutritional powerhouses full of healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
So it’s perfectly fine – even encouraged – to eat a small handful each and every day. That being said, there’s probably a lot about nuts that you don’t yet know … like these seven nutty nut facts.
1. Cashew Shells Have Many Similarities to Poison Ivy
Cashews are in the same plant family as poison ivy and poison sumac, and their itch-inducing oil is contained in the shell. That’s why you won’t find cashews sold with the shells on the way some other nuts are.
2. Pistachios are a Fruit … and Share Similarities With Kale
Pistachios are classified as a fruit, and they get their green color from chlorophyll – the same pigment that makes kale green.
3. Walnuts are the Only Nut With Omega-3 Fats
This is important, since your body cannot make omega-3 fats on its own, which is why you should try to include omega-3-rich foods in your diet. Aside from helping to protect against heart disease and stroke, omega-3 fats have been found to offer protection against wide range of illnesses, from cancer and rheumatoid arthritis to inflammatory bowel disease and depression. Just one-quarter cup of walnuts gives you nearly 91 percent of the recommended daily value for this healthy fat.
4. Peanuts aren’t Nuts – and They’re Safe During Pregnancy
Peanuts are actually legumes, not nuts, and although they were long recommended to be avoided during pregnancy due to allergy concerns, this advice has recently changed. Recent research shows women who eat peanuts or other tree nuts during pregnancy actually have children born with a significantly lower incidence of nut allergies.
5. Almonds are Good for Your Gut
A specific type of fat found in almonds has been found to increase beneficial bacteria in your gut, helping to improve your gut flora. Almonds have also been shown to help you feel full without risking weight gain.
6. Macadamia Nuts Let Farmers Know When They’re Ripe
When a macadamia nut is ripe and at its peak for harvest, it falls from the tree. That’s why farmers usually harvest macadamia nuts only after they’ve fallen to the ground.
7. Brazil Nuts are Especially Good for Men
Brazil nuts are high in selenium, a mineral that supports prostate health, especially when it comes from dietary sources. Just a few Brazil nuts daily will provide plenty of selenium for most adults.