Crack open a handful of these beauties for heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, essential minerals, and powerful antioxidants.
Hazelnuts. These pearl-shaped nuts offer abundant vitamin E, an antioxidant that supports heart and eye health. To remove hazelnuts’ bitter skins, bake on a rimmed sheet at 350 degrees for 10–15 minutes; place in a clean dish towel and rub vigorously. Make the Egyptian spice dukkah by blending hazelnuts, sesame seeds, cumin, coriander, and sea salt in a food processor. Dip pita into olive oil and dukkah for an exotic appetizer.
Brazil nuts. Just one of these crescent-shaped nuts— technically a seed from trees that grow in South America— provides nearly 100 percent of your recommended daily selenium, a nutrient that protects against oxidative damage and supports reproductive health. For an alternate take on pesto, substitute buttery Brazil nuts for pricier pine nuts
Almonds. Ancient civilizations embraced almonds as nourishing, portable sustenance; it’s believed that almond trees lined trade routes like the Silk Road. Today, we love almonds for their high magnesium content: 1 ounce offers nearly 76 mg, or 20 percent of your daily needs. Make your own almond butter by processing 2 cups roasted almonds in a food processor for 10–13 minutes, scraping sides as needed, until creamy.
Pecans. Too often buried inside high-calorie pies and desserts, these Southern staples are quite nutritious on their own: One handful delivers more than half of your daily dose of manganese, a trace mineral associated with osteoporosis prevention. Enjoy pecans’ lighter side in a spinach salad tossed with fresh apple slices, dried cranberries, and a rich balsamic vinaigrette.