Nuts are known for being high in healthy fats and plant-based protein while being low in carbs.
Therefore, most nuts can fit into a low-carb eating plan, though certain kinds are particularly low in carbs.
For those following stricter low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet, sticking to lower-carb nuts can promote successful dieting.
Here are 9 nuts perfect for a low-carb diet.
Though often associated with sweets, pecans are healthy nuts that provide a host of nutritional benefits.
They’re not only low in carbs and high in fiber but also loaded with important nutrients like thiamine (vitamin B1), magnesium, phosphorus and zinc (1).
Pecans are very low in carbs, delivering a little over 1 gram of net carbs per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving.
Often referred to as digestible carbs, net carbs refer to the number of carbs in whole food minus the fiber content (2).
Because your body doesn’t easily absorb naturally occurring fiber in whole foods, it’s often subtracted from a food’s total carb content to reveal the number of net or absorbable carbs.
Fiber — especially the soluble fiber found in nuts like pecans — has been shown to reduce blood sugar and improve other blood markers linked to heart disease, including “bad” LDL cholesterol (3).
Adding 1.5 ounces (42 grams) of pecans per day to an unhealthy diet has been found to significantly reduce heart disease risk factors in overweight adults, including triglycerides, very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol and blood sugar (4).
According to a review of 12 studies, diets that include at least 2 ounces (56 grams) of tree nuts — including pecans — per day provide significant reductions in fasting blood sugar and HbA1c, a marker of long-term blood sugar control (5).
Pecans are healthy low-carb nuts that may help regulate blood sugar and reduce certain heart disease risk factors.
Macadamia nuts are low-carb, high-fat nuts that are well suited for low-carb meal plans.
They’re an excellent source of B vitamins, magnesium, iron, copper and manganese (6).
These buttery-tasting nuts are also a rich in monounsaturated fats.
Studies show that foods high in monounsaturated fats benefit heart health by reducing cholesterol levels and improving markers of inflammation in your body (7).
A study in 17 men with high cholesterol found that 40–90 grams of macadamia nuts per day significantly reduced several blood markers of inflammation and oxidative stress (8).
Following a diet high in flavonoid-rich foods, such as macadamia nuts, may reduce your risk of heart disease, cognitive decline, diabetes and certain cancers (9, 10).
Macadamia nuts are an excellent source of healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Including these low-carb nuts in your diet may boost heart health and reduce inflammation.
Brazil nuts are large, low-carb nuts that are loaded with important nutrients.
They’re renowned for their high concentration of selenium. Just one Brazil nut delivers over 100% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) (11).
Selenium is a mineral involved in many critical bodily functions like metabolism, DNA production and immune response.
It’s also essential for thyroid health and acts as a potent antioxidant, protecting your cells against free radical damage (12).
Studies have shown that eating Brazil nuts is effective in reducing multiple markers of inflammation and improving cholesterol levels (13).
Because Brazil nuts are extremely high in selenium, it’s recommended that adults keep intake to under four nuts per day to avoid surpassing the upper limit of 400 mcg (14).
Brazil nuts are low in carbs and one of the best natural sources of selenium, a mineral essential for health.
Walnuts are not only low in carbs but also loaded with nutrients, such as B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc, polyphenol antioxidants and fiber (15).
Eating walnuts on a regular basis has been shown to improve heart health, reduce blood pressure, promote brain function and even boost weight loss (16).
For example, a 12-month study in 293 people found that those who received dietary counseling and ate 30 grams or about 1 ounce of walnuts per day achieved significantly greater weight loss than those who received dietary counseling alone (17).
Walnuts are high in healthy fats, including a plant source of omega-3 fats called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Diets high in ALA-rich foods have been found to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke (18, 19).
Additionally, walnuts have been shown to improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes (20).
Walnuts are low in carbs and provide a rich source of the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid ALA. Adding walnuts to your diet may promote weight loss, improve heart health and benefit blood sugar control.
Hazelnuts are rich in healthy fats, fiber, vitamin E, manganese and vitamin K (21).
They also contain numerous antioxidants which help fight inflammation in your body (22).
Additionally, these nuts are high in L-arginine, an amino acid that is a precursor to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a neurotransmitter that helps blood vessels relax and is important for heart health.
Hazelnuts are also rich in fiber and monounsaturated fats — both of which are beneficial for heart health.
Studies show that diets rich in hazelnuts help protect against heart disease by reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure and decreasing “bad” LDL cholesterol levels (23, 24).
Hazelnuts are an excellent source of antioxidants and also contain heart-healthy nutrients like L-arginine, fiber and healthy fats.
Sourced from pine cones of evergreen trees, pine nuts have a distinct flavor and buttery texture due to their high oil content.
They’re an excellent source of nutrients and particularly high in vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, vitamin K, zinc, copper and phosphorus (25).
Like many other nuts, pine nuts have been shown to benefit heart health by lowering cholesterol levels and preventing the buildup of plaque in blood vessels (26).
What’s more, people who consume tree nuts — including pine nuts — on a regular basis tend to weigh less than those who don’t (27).
Plus, frequent tree nut consumption has been linked to lower levels of insulin resistance, reduced blood sugar, decreased inflammation and increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol (28).
Try adding pine nuts to homemade trail mixes, sprinkling them on salads, toasting them or eating them raw for a healthy, simple snack.
Pine nuts are packed with nutrients and adding them to your diet may benefit heart health and help you reach a healthy weight.
Though peanuts are technically legumes, they’re commonly considered nuts and enjoyed the same way.
Peanuts contain a wide array of nutrients, including folate, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and copper.
They’re also an excellent source of plant-based protein, with a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving delivering an impressive 7 grams (29).
Peanuts are rich in antioxidants, including resveratrol, a phenolic antioxidant that has been shown to have protective effects against heart disease, certain cancers and cognitive decline (30).
Studies have shown that eating peanuts may promote weight loss and protect against heart disease (31).
Since they’re high in protein and have a pleasant, mild taste, peanuts make an excellent and filling ingredient that can be paired with various healthy foods.
Peanuts are high in protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Eating peanuts may benefit heart health and even promote weight loss.
Almonds are low-carb nuts that pack a powerful nutritional punch.
They’re an excellent source of vitamin E, magnesium, riboflavin, copper, phosphorus and manganese (32).
Almonds also happen to be particularly high in protein — delivering 6 grams per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving.
Research has shown that a diet rich in almonds promotes weight loss by significantly reducing hunger and curbing your desire to eat (33, 34).
Whole almonds pair well with a variety of foods and are a convenient option for snacking on the go.
Additionally, almonds can be made into other low-carb ingredients.
For example, almond flour is a popular substitute for traditional all-purpose flour and can be used to make low-carb friendly versions of recipes like pancakes, muffins and crackers.
Almonds are high-protein, low-carb nuts that can be added to your diet in a variety of ways. Almond flour is another popular way to incorporate almonds into a low-carb meal plan.
Aside from low-carb whole nuts, there are delicious nut butter options for those following low-carb meal plans (35, 36).
Natural nut butters without added ingredients like sugar provide the same nutritional benefits as whole nuts but can be used in different ways — for example, as a low-carb spread for fruits and crackers.
Nut butters can also be added to low-carb smoothies to provide a boost of protein and healthy fats.
Nut butters are convenient, low-carb ingredients that can be added to a variety of tasty recipes.
Nuts are highly nutritious and low in carbs.
They’re packed with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and powerful plant compounds that can benefit your health in several ways.
Adding more nuts to your low-carb meal plan may boost heart health, promote weight loss and keep blood sugar in check.
The best quality of nuts is that they’re delicious, versatile ingredients that can be added to almost any meal or snack.
The above article is courtesy of My EZ Health Guide and is intended for informational purposes only.