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What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Nuts Every Day

RDs explain the amazing benefits that come from incorporating nuts into your daily diet.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

You've heard by now that nuts are healthy. Regardless of the type—Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, pecans—every kind of nut is packed full of nutrients. In general, nuts provide fiber, protein, and healthy fats, which make them filling, satiating snacks. Beyond that, the other benefits of nuts come from the powerful vitamins, minerals, and natural plant compounds that these snacks carry.

You'll find that all nuts generally contain similar vitamins and compounds, but some have higher levels of certain ones. For instance, almonds have the highest amount of vitamin E, even though Brazil nuts and cashews have high levels as well. You'll also find that walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, and Brazil nuts have the highest concentrations of healthy fats, but most nuts still contain good amounts.

Even though all nuts are different, we've listed out the general health benefits that can come from eating nuts daily. Read on, and for more healthy eating tips check out What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Berries.

Nuts can give you a boost of antioxidants.


When you're snacking on nuts, you're also giving your body an antioxidant boost.

For instance, "One study conducted by Cornell University and published in the journal Nutrients found that pistachios have a high antioxidant capacity," says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN. "In fact, the antioxidant capacity of pistachios rivals that of popular antioxidant-containing foods, including blueberries, pomegranates, cherries, and red wine.

Why are antioxidants important? Manaker adds that "Antioxidant-rich foods may help protect healthy cells from free radical damage in the body."

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Eating nuts may help people eat more nutrients.

pouring nuts as snack out of glass jar

Nuts can help you get more nutrients throughout your day, something that many experts say Americans fall short of.

"The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans indicate that the inadequate intake of nutrient-dense foods, like plant-based foods coming from fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, has resulted in the under-consumption of some nutrients, including fiber," says Manaker.

For many people, adding nuts into your daily diet would do wonders for your nutrient intake. Manaker says, "In a study published in Nutrients, researchers examined the potential nutrient intake and diet quality benefits of replacing some meat in the diet with walnuts."

It was found that "Incorporating walnuts into the diet improved the overall nutrient profile, including increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and several vitamins and minerals, with significant decreases in cholesterol and vitamin B12," adds Manaker. "Notably, the study found that replacing just 15% of meat intake with walnuts was enough to achieve these benefits."

They may improve your brain health.

mixed nuts in a wooden bowl

According to Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, eating nuts as a regular part of your diet can contribute to better brain health and may reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

"Nuts are beneficial for brain health because they are rich in essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin E, which can help protect brain cells from oxidative stress and inflammation," says Best.

She adds, "Nuts are a good source of various minerals, such as magnesium and zinc, which play a role in cognitive function and memory."

All nuts have different levels of these nutrients. For example, walnuts have the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, while almonds and brazil nuts are typically the highest in vitamin E.

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Nuts are associated with better moods.

happy women eating nuts

In recent years, researchers have finally been able to link mood, specifically depression to diet. The landmark SMILES trial was able to show that following a modified Mediterranean diet can improve symptoms of depression. The intervention group consumed one serving of nuts per day, which ended up showing marked improvement in depression symptoms.

Another study looked at diet's role in depression among young adults. For this study, participants were told to consume two to three tablespoons of nuts and seeds per day along with other dietary modifications. Similar to the former study, this showed improvement in depression symptoms and episodes.

There are many reasons why nuts can improve mood. Two of them include the amino acid profile of nuts which are beneficial to the brain as well as omega-3 fatty acids which are neuroprotective.

They will make your meals more satiating.

yogurt with nuts and seeds

We've all been there, you have a bowl of plain yogurt begging for a crunch or a vegetable soup that may be packed with nutrition but is lacking texture and excitement. This is where a handful of nuts will not only improve the mouthfeel of your meals by adding a satisfying crunch but will boost satiety by adding fiber, healthy fats, and protein.

Satiety is a measure of how long you stay full after a meal and it is influenced by the hormonal and blood sugar changes after eating a meal. The key to a satiating meal is including fiber, fat, and protein. Though small, nuts pack a mighty nutritional punch by being full of all three: fat, fiber, and protein.

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Nuts are associated with decreased inflammation.

eating almonds

Consumption of nuts has been linked to lower markers of inflammation. Nuts, especially almonds, are rich in vitamin E, providing about 48% of the recommended daily intake in one serving. Vitamin E functions as an antioxidant and protects cells from oxidative stress which in turn, helps lower inflammation.

Nuts are cardio-protective.

holding mixed nuts and forming heart shape

An important part of a heart-healthy diet is including more foods that are rich in mono-unsaturated fats and poly-unsaturated fats. Nuts are rich in both and they are an especially good source of the polyunsaturated fat known as omega-3 fatty acids.

One way to decrease high triglyceride levels, which are a risk factor for cardiac events, is by increasing omega-3 fats. In addition, consuming these types of healthier fats is associated with higher HDL cholesterol levels and lower LDL cholesterol levels.

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They will help regulate your blood sugar levels.

nuts variety

Blood sugar is influenced by the amount of protein, fat, fiber, and carbohydrates that are present in food. Eat a juicy apple on its own for a snack and you will likely be hungry again in 30 minutes, and you might even experience sugar cravings, an energy dip, or feel shaky.

But apples are healthy, so why is this? Well, an apple on its own is mainly carbohydrates, which will increase and then decrease your blood sugar quickly. Now, pair a handful of nuts or nut butter with the apple and you will have less of a blood sugar spike and crash, otherwise known as an elongated blood sugar curve.

When blood sugar curves are less "spikey," our snacks will keep us fuller longer and will lead to fewer energy dips and cravings.

A previous version of this story was published on April 13, 2022. It has been updated to include additional copy and proofreading revisions, additional research, and updated contextual links.

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha
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