I don’t know about you, but I feel like nuts don’t get enough credit. They are loaded with so many vitamins and minerals and are a fantastic source of protein. We are always hearing about this superfood, and that superfood, but it seems to me that nuts don’t make the cut nearly as often as they deserve. Sure they have a high fat content, but it is important to understand that we actually need healthy fats in our diet.

One of the greatest things about nuts is that there are so many different types and so many different ways to eat them. Pistachios, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews: all are packed full of benefits and some even help protect against cancer. According to the chart below, nuts can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, lower blood pressure, assist with weight loss, and even sharpen your memory.

While roasted nuts are absolutely delicious, you should be aware that during the roasting process many types of nuts develop a chemical known as acrylamide, which is carcinogenic. Whenever possible, buy your nuts in a raw organic form to avoid this issue and you will reap the most benefits from them. You can eat them on their own, on top of salad, in granola, in nut butter form, covered in chocolate, and more; the possibilities are endless.

Just a handful of nuts a day can stop your hunger in between meals because they are high in protein and dietary fiber. Because of their good fat content, they provide us with sustained energy throughout the day. They also contain many key vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants that you definitely wouldn’t be getting from a processed, sugary snack or soda. What is something you eat regularly that you know is not healthy for you? Try cutting it out and replacing it with the nuts of your choice and see how you feel.