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Nuts: which are best?


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Saul, I checked it again with cronometer. Except more meaty vegetables like tomato, pumpkin and zucchini (high calorie vegetables), most of the vegetables contain more methionine than whole grains per calorie. I think you consider methionine per protein, but to me calories are more determined factor than proteins in a diet. You have to satisfy your calories with calories anyway, so per calorie comparison is more accurate.

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my present strategy is based on diversification, which is a strategy many members of this forum are applying with other categories of food and probably nuts as well.

These are particularly amenable to diversification, since can be bought and kept for long periods without problems and can be eaten in whatsoever quantities without compromising their qualities.

Nuts are rich in phenolic compounds and phytosterols, but not extremely rich. Yet, they seem to provide pronounced health benefits which include protection from cancer.

So, single specific compounds (for example the naphtoquinone juglone and the sterol anacardic acid, or the terpene pinene in pine nuts) may be responsible for specific metabolic reactions, which at least in part may nclude hormetic and xenohormetic effects. Probably, some combination of phytochemicals also target specific genetic expressions.

The hormetic/xenohormetic effects may derive from not yet isolated compounds.


After the above conceptualization, I'm eating 50 to 125 grams (2 to 5 ounces) of nuts & seeds as a daily average.  80-90% of the total comes usually those which are more common and less costly in the middle latitudes. More recently I ate mostly:

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Cashew nuts

Regardless of price, I also include smaller quantities of the rarer and more costly varities, in the amount of a few grams or less per day:


  • pistachio nuts (the more affordable of the 'costly' category)
  • macadamia
  • pine nuts
  • pecans (rare in Italy)
  • Brazil nuts (not extremely costly but very Se-rich), I buy a brand with specified Selenium content. One nut per day.

I also include seeds, in the measure of one to three tablespoons (about 7 to 20 grams) each variety per day:


  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Sesame seeds

I'm goign to add Chia seeds and Hemp seeds soon.


Even though they are very rich in minerals and vitamins and other phytochemicals, I do not indulge with seeds seeds since I noticed that they tend to be heavy to digest, maybe because of some hormetic phytotoxins. But I can average 3 to 7 tablespoons per day (20 to 50 grams).


I tried to add some particular nuts like prunes pits, which contain cyanide compounds hence are most probably causing hormetic effects. Also peach pits and other fruit, but that's little practical.

I very rarely add some peculiar varieties like wild peanuts.


I'd like to add some exotic wild nuts like baru nuts from brazil. Amazon sells them but they do not ship to Italy. This appears like a pretty promising 'supernut', just for the fact of being harvested from wild trees.


Chestnuts are not oily nuts but when in season I'm going to add'em as often as I can to my diet.


I'm also thinking about trying acorn nuts from oaks, eaten by American Indians and Coreans (mainly as a flour) after leeching most of the tannins.


There are other rare nuts which I only heard about but never tasted, which are only found locally in restricted areas.

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Of course, liek in teh best tradition of these fora, I've been consulting a few reviews, liek the following ones. I have much more to do though, since I'd like to know if the researchers have pinpointed some particular phenolics as responsible of hormetic/X-hormetic properties, like they did with the EVOO secoiridoids.


Like the users of this forum are well aware, probably many of the beneficial, protective properties of plant-based food are provided by such phytochemicals.


Tree nut phytochemicals: composition, antioxidant capacity, bioactivity,
impact factors. A systematic review of almonds, Brazils, cashews, hazelnuts,
macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts
Bradley W. Bolling1, C.-Y. Oliver Chen2, Diane L. McKay2 and Jeffrey B. Blumberg2*
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This is the excerpt to the article posted above. Of course some class of phytochemicals, like catechins and epicatechins are prevailing in other foods like tea and cocoa more than in nuts. Also, phytosterols are prevailing in vegetable oils more than in nuts. But we all know the potential disadvantages of a non-modest use of vegetable oils. Besides, nuts & seeds have abundant macro and micronutrients. And again, some phenols and sterols/stanols are typical of nuts and of that peculiar kind of nuts...



Tree nuts contain an array of phytochemicals including carotenoids, phenolic acids, phytosterols and polyphenolic compounds such as

flavonoids, proanthocyanidins (PAC) and stilbenes, all of which are included in nutrient databases, as well as phytates, sphingolipids, alkylphenols
and lignans, which are not. The phytochemical content of tree nuts can vary considerably by nut type, genotype, pre- and
post-harvest conditions, as well as storage conditions. Genotype affects phenolic acids, flavonoids, stilbenes and phytosterols, but data
are lacking for many other phytochemical classes. During the roasting process, tree nut isoflavones, flavanols and flavonols were found
to be more resistant to heat than the anthocyanins, PAC and trans-resveratrol. The choice of solvents used for extracting polyphenols
and phytosterols significantly affects their quantification, and studies validating these methods for tree nut phytochemicals are lacking.
The phytochemicals found in tree nuts have been associated with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, antiviral, chemopreventive
and hypocholesterolaemic actions, all of which are known to affect the initiation and progression of several pathogenic processes.
While tree nut phytochemicals are bioaccessible and bioavailable in humans, the number of intervention trials conducted to date is limited.
The objectives of the present review are to summarise tree nut: (1) phytochemicals; (2) phytochemical content included in nutrient
databases and current publications; (3) phytochemicals affected by pre- and post-harvest conditions and analytical methodology; and
(4) bioactivity and health benefits in humans.
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Interesting posts, McCoy.    The "Tree nut phytochemicals"  article is good.   Here a few others from my files:


Nutrition attributes and health effects of pistachio nuts

[Compared with other nuts]



Nut Bioactives: Phytochemicals and Lipid-Based Components of Almonds, Hazelnuts, Peanuts, Pistachios, and Walnuts



Phytochemical composition of nuts




Nuts, especially walnuts, have both antioxidant quantity and efficacy and exhibit significant potential health benefits



Pistachios for Health What Do We Know About This Multifaceted Nut?


PMCID: PMC4890834


Pistachios Increase Serum Antioxidants and Lower Serum Oxidized-LDL in Hypercholesterolemic Adults

PMCID: PMC3140215
Effects of pistachios on cardiovascular disease risk factors and potential mechanisms of action
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Dr Greger based one of his presentation on the anti oncogenetic properties of nuts. According to this article, walnuts an pecans are first in the list of antiproliferative properties, followed by peanuts. Walnuts appear to be a very good choice with their high omega-3s, high antioxidants and pronounced antioncogenetic effects, not least their affordable price and availability from both hemispheres.

Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of common edible nut seeds
Author links open overlay panelJunYang1Rui HaiLiuLinnaHalim


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I've rapidly consulted the articles posted by Sibiriak on pistachios and they appear to be rich in phytosterols plus lutein and zeaxanthine, genistein and daidzein. Probably they contain anacardic acid since they belong to the anacardiacee family (like cashews). gamma-tocopherol prevais as in walnuts.


Again, every nuts has its own specific properties as far as macro and micro nutrients, lipids profile, antioxidants, phenolic compound and phyti/sitosterol plus other phytochemicals.


Diversifying the variety of nuts as much as possible is pretty easy and ensures a diversification of the beneficial properties of all the above specific aspects.

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