Gardening A-Z : Nuts

variety of nuts

Nuts are very diverse, although let’s note that peanuts are a legume, not a nut, despite their name. So how many different types of nuts are there? I have read there are 59 different types of nuts but 15 are the most common. However, there are a variety of different sites claiming how many are the most common.

Nuts are very nutritious, and all nuts contain fiber, fats, minerals, and protein, although in hugely different amounts. They have various minerals and vitamins in them. Thus, for a variety of reasons they are very medicinal. So let’s look at some of them and note how many medicinal issues are common between them due to their similarity in nutrients.

Almonds – interesting side note, they are a close relative to the peach and native to Southwest Asia and Middle East. With lots of Vitamin E and antioxidants and like most nuts, full of protein and fiber. They also have a prolonged shelf life. They make a snack, a milk, and a butter.

Health benefits: fiber – regulate stools, support good bacteria and help reduce sugar spiking; antioxidants – reduce free radicals; Vit E – antioxidant in cell membranes, lowers risk of cardio issues, cancer and Alzheimer’s; magnesium – involved in over 300 cellular processes; regulates blood sugar – diabetes and insulin resistance; helps lower blood pressure and regulate cholesterols and reduces oxidized LDL.

Brail nuts – from South America and some of the native trees in the amazon forest live for over 500 years!! They contain huge amounts of selenium as well as vitamins B1 & E, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. The thyroid has the highest concentration of selenium which helps the thyroid produce essential hormones involved in your growth, metabolism, and body temperature regulation.

Health benefits: fiber – regulate stools support good bacteria and help reduce sugar spiking; antioxidants (Vit E, phenols, gallic acid, ellagic acid) – reduce free radicals. Selenium – important in the synthesis of glutathione, but also important to the thyroid, immune system and cell growth, cardio health, mood disorders, infertility and preventing cancer; weight management, brain fog, fatigue; heart healthy fats – polyunsaturated fats which contain antioxidants, minerals and fiber and reduce cardio issues. Magnesium – involved in over 300 cellular enzyme processes; regulates blood sugar – diabetes and insulin resistance; helps lower blood pressure and regulate cholesterols and reduces oxidized LDL. Manganese is involved in brain and nerve function, lowering inflammation, creating connective tissue and bone strength, processing carbs and fat, and creating hormones and regulating blood clotting; needed to create an antioxidant called SOD. Zinc is necessary for DNA synthesis, immune cell function and signaling, cell growth, healing, protein synthesis.

Phosphorus is in every cell, like magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium. It is a micromineral and used to build teeth and bones, DNA and RNA, making energy – ATP, muscle contraction, heart rhythm and neurotransmitter transmission.

Cashews – another South American – Brazilian native but this nut grows at the tip of the fruit instead of inside the fruit. Contains vitamins B9 and C and small amounts of other B vitamins. It is one of the best sources of zinc and copper. But also has calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. Used as an alternative to dairy and used to make everything from cashew milk, butter, cheese, cream sauces and sour cream.

Health benefits: fiber – regulate stools, support good bacteria and help reduce sugar spiking; contain both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which help reduce excess LDL and prevents cardiovascular issues – stroke, heart attacks, vascular disease. Magnesium – involved in over 300 enzyme cellular processes; regulates blood sugar – diabetes and insulin resistance; helps lower blood pressure and regulate cholesterols and reduces oxidized LDL. Copper, along with magnesium and calcium – prevents bone loss – osteoporosis and helps maintain/repair collagen, elastin, and thus 29 different types of connective tissue in the body. Copper is also involved in neurotransmission, metabolism and RBC synthesis. Iron is used to make energy – ATP, is used in RBC for oxygen transport, the immune system. Phosphorus is in every cell, like magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium. It is a micromineral and used to build teeth and bones, DNA and RNA, making energy – ATP, muscle contraction, heart rhythm and neurotransmitter transmission. Zinc is necessary for DNA synthesis, immune cell function and signaling, cell growth, healing, protein synthesis.

Chestnuts – native to the Appalachian mountains. Each fruit contains several chestnuts. Unlike other nuts, this particular one is low in fat and protein and are bitter when raw but develop a buttery sweet flavor when cooked. A good source of Vitamins B1, B2, B6, B9, C and copper, manganese and potassium. They are used in stuffings, salads and soups.

Health benefits: fiber – regulate stools; support good bacteria and help reduce sugar spiking; antioxidants (vitamin C, gallic acid, ellagic acid, tannins. Alkaloids, various polyphenols, lutein, zeaxanthin) – reduce free radicals, lutein and zeaxanthin are good for the eyes; gallic and ellagic acid good for the heart; Vit C, gallic acid, ellagic acid and polyphenols help reduce inflammation. . Manganese is involved in brain and nerve function, lowering inflammation, creating connective tissue and bone strength, processing carbs and fat, and creating hormones and regulating blood clotting; needed to create an antioxidant called SOD. Amongst other things, B1,2,&3 are used to make energy, B5 helps you to make fatty acids and store energy, synthesize cholesterol and make sex hormones, along with the heme in RBC. Vit B6 is important to access sugar, make DNA, new cell growth and produce neurotransmitters.

Ginkgo nuts – not popular but because it so unusual we will address it – the ginkgo tree has the oldest known DNA – awesome! The fruit smells like rotten cheese – ugh! And…the fruit is toxic – well so are the nuts unless heated! But sauteed ginkgo nuts are delicious and contain calcium, potassium, and Vit B1, B2, B3, B5, B6. B9 and C. they also contain the usual nut minerals: calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium and zinc but virtually no phosphorus.

Health benefits: fiber – regulate stools; support good bacteria and help reduce sugar spiking; used in TCM to breathing issues (asthma, bronchitis) and UTIs; Copper, along with magnesium and calcium – prevents bone loss – osteoporosis and helps maintain/repair collagen, elastin, and thus 29 different types of connective tissue in the body. Copper is also involved in neurotransmission, metabolism and RBC synthesis. Vitamins B1,2,3 are all involved in energy production in the mitochondria. B9 involved in DNA, metabolism, building RBC, reducing homocysteine and preventing liver disease, supporting adrenal function. Magnesium – involved in over 300 enzyme cellular processes; regulates blood sugar – diabetes and insulin resistance; helps lower blood pressure and regulate cholesterols and reduces oxidized LDL. Vit B5 is necessary for making RBC, energy, metabolize fats, proteins, and Coenzyme A; hormone synthesis and a healthy immune system.

Hazelnuts – can be eaten raw or cooked/roasted or added to baked goods, liqueur, coffee and chocolate products and made into butter. They contain vit B9 and other Bs as well as Vit E and fiber and monosaturated fats and various minerals – calcium, copper, iron magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc. Vitamins like B1, B3, B6, B9 and E and K1.

Health benefits: fiber – regulate stools; support good bacteria and help reduce sugar spiking; contain both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which help reduce excess LDL and prevents cardiovascular issues – stroke, heart attacks, vascular disease. Magnesium – involved in over 300 enzyme cellular processes; regulates blood sugar – diabetes and insulin resistance; helps lower blood pressure and regulate cholesterols and reduces oxidized LDL. Copper, along with magnesium and calcium – prevents bone loss – osteoporosis and helps maintain/repair collagen, elastin, and thus 29 different types of connective tissue in the body. Copper is also involved in neurotransmission, metabolism, and RBC synthesis. Vit E – antioxidant in cell membranes, lowers risk of cardio issues, cancer and Alzheimer’s. B1,2,&3 are used to make energy, B5 helps you to make fatty acids and store energy, synthesize cholesterol and make sex hormones, along with the heme in RBC. Vit B6 is important to access sugar, make DNA, new cell growth and produce neurotransmitters.

B9 involved in DNA, metabolism, building RBC, reducing homocysteine and preventing liver disease, supporting adrenal function. Selenium – important in the synthesis of glutathione, but also important to the thyroid, immune system and cell growth, cardio health, mood disorders, infertility and preventing cancer; weight management, brain fog, fatigue. Manganese is involved in brain and nerve function, lowering inflammation, creating connective tissue and bone strength, processing carbs and fat, and creating hormones and regulating blood clotting; needed to create an antioxidant called SOD. . Iron is used to make energy – ATP, is used in RBC for oxygen transport, the immune system. Phosphorus is in every cell, like magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium. It is a micromineral and used to build teeth and bones, DNA and RNA, making energy – ATP, muscle contraction, heart rhythm and neurotransmitter transmission. Zinc is necessary for DNA synthesis, immune cell function and signaling, cell growth, healing, protein synthesis.

Macadamia nuts – although native to Australia they are hugely grown in Hawaii. They boast the hardest nutshell and have a rich buttery texture and sweet flavor. They contain Vit B1& B6, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese.

Health benefits: fiber – regulate stools; support good bacteria and help reduce sugar spiking. Iron is used to make energy – ATP, is used in RBC for oxygen transport, the immune system. Magnesium – involved in over 300 enzyme cellular processes; regulates blood sugar – diabetes and insulin resistance; helps lower blood pressure and regulate cholesterols and reduces oxidized LDL. Manganese is involved in brain and nerve function, lowering inflammation, creating connective tissue and bone strength, processing carbs and fat, and creating hormones and regulating blood clotting; needed to create an antioxidant called SOD.

Pecans – with more than 1000 varieties, they are native to Mexico and Southern US. Again, they have vitamins A, B1, B5, B9 and E along with iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc.

Health benefits: fiber prevents blood sugar spiking; support good bacteria and help reduce sugar spiking. Potassium lowers blood pressure; fiber regulates cholesterol and stool transit; prevent breast cancers. B9 involved in DNA, metabolism, building RBC, reducing homocysteine, and preventing liver disease, supporting adrenal function. Iron is used to make energy – ATP, is used in RBC for oxygen transport, the immune system. Phosphorus is in every cell, like magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium. It is a micromineral and used to build teeth and bones, DNA and RNA, making energy – ATP, muscle contraction, heart rhythm and neurotransmitter transmission. Zinc is necessary for DNA synthesis, immune cell function and signaling, cell growth, healing, protein synthesis.

Pine nuts – of all the pine trees, only 29 species produce pine nuts. They contain fiber, Vit E and K, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.

Health benefits: fiber – regulate stools; support good bacteria and help reduce sugar spiking; Vit E – antioxidant in cell membranes, lowers risk of cardio issues, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Magnesium – involved in over 300 cellular enzyme processes; regulates blood sugar – diabetes and insulin resistance; helps lower blood pressure and regulate cholesterols and reduces oxidized LDL. Potassium lowers blood pressure; fiber regulates cholesterol and stool transit; prevent breast cancers. Phosphorus is in every cell, like magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium. It is a micromineral and used to build teeth and bones, DNA and RNA, making energy – ATP, muscle contraction, heart rhythm and neurotransmitter transmission. Zinc is necessary for DNA synthesis, immune cell function and signaling, cell growth, healing, protein synthesis. Manganese is involved in brain and nerve function, lowering inflammation, creating connective tissue and bone strength, processing carbs and fat, and creating hormones and regulating blood clotting; needed to create an antioxidant called SOD.

Pistachios – they look like cashews and are native to Central Asia and the middle East. They are used in salads, sauces, breads, and other baked goods. They are full of antioxidants, minerals – copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and vitamins – B1,2,3, 5, 6 and B9

Health benefits: fiber – regulate stools; support good bacteria and help reduce sugar spiking. B1,2,&3 are used to make energy, B5 helps you to make fatty acids and store energy, synthesize cholesterol and make sex hormones, along with the heme in RBC. Vit B6 is important to access sugar, make DNA, new cell growth and produce neurotransmitters.

B9 involved in DNA, metabolism, building RBC, reducing homocysteine, and preventing liver disease, supporting adrenal function. Magnesium – involved in over 300 cellular enzyme processes; regulates blood sugar – diabetes and insulin resistance; helps lower blood pressure and regulate cholesterols and reduces oxidized LDL. Manganese is involved in brain and nerve function, lowering inflammation, creating connective tissue and bone strength, processing carbs and fat, and creating hormones and regulating blood clotting; needed to create an antioxidant called SOD. Potassium lowers blood pressure; fiber regulates cholesterol and stool transit; prevent breast cancers. Phosphorus is in every cell, like magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium. It is a micromineral and used to build teeth and bones, DNA and RNA, making energy – ATP, muscle contraction, heart rhythm and neurotransmitter transmission. Zinc is necessary for DNA synthesis, immune cell function and signaling, cell growth, healing, protein synthesis.

Walnuts – a good brain food. They are grown in the northern hemisphere with three most common species: English, Japanese and the American black walnut. Walnuts are rich in antioxidants (Vit E, melatonin, polyphenols (ellagitannins)), highest of the nuts in ALA – alpha linolenic acid; minerals (magnesium), amino acids (arginine); vitamins B6, B9, and E and minerals magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus. They are used in baking, oatmeal, pastas, savory dishes, salads, and soups.

Health benefits: fiber – regulate stools; support good bacteria and help reduce sugar spiking; support bacteria that produce butyrate (nourishes gut health); ellagitannins that convert to urolithins – anti inflammatories. Walnuts help regulate blood sugars thus reducing A1C levels. ALA is an important essential fatty acid. Magnesium – involved in over 300 cellular enzyme processes; regulates blood sugar – diabetes and insulin resistance; helps lower blood pressure and regulate cholesterols and reduces oxidized LDL Manganese is involved in brain and nerve function, lowering inflammation, creating connective tissue and bone strength, processing carbs and fat, and creating hormones and regulating blood clotting; needed to create an antioxidant called SOD. Potassium lowers blood pressure. Phosphorus is in every cell, like magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium. It is a micromineral and used to build teeth and bones, DNA and RNA, making energy – ATP, muscle contraction, heart rhythm and neurotransmitter transmission.