What do your skin, hair, bones, muscles, and pretty much every part of your body have in common? Protein. This small but mighty chain of amino acids is what keeps us alive and well. There are over 10,000 types of protein in our bodies, and inadequate nutrition can lead to this scary word or a potentially fatal condition called kwashiorkor, or weakness in the muscles and immune system.
Thankfully, protein is packed in many of our favorite foods, like fruits and veggies, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and more. One of the healthiest and most natural sources of protein is nature's bite-sized golden nuggets, nuts. Whether nuts are your favorite snack, or you haven't tried any besides peanuts, find out which nuts have the highest anti-kwashiorkor abilities.
8. Macadamia nuts
Although they have the least amount of protein, it doesn't mean macadamia nuts aren't healthy. They can cut cholesterol and provide you with the same healthy fats that all nuts have.
Protein count: 2 grams per serving (about 10 macadamia nuts)
Protein count: 2 grams per serving (about 10 hazelnuts)
Walnuts are a great snack for good health and a happy heart. Studies show that they decrease cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, similar to macadamia nuts. Looking for the perfect fall dessert? Check out this recipe for cranberry walnut baked apples with Cinnamon Toast Crunch. You're welcome.
Protein count: 3 grams per serving (about 10 walnuts)
Your favorite Thanksgiving ingredient ain't so bad for you after all. Although they don't have the highest amount of protein, pecans are a great serving of healthy fats that your body needs, similar to those of an avocado or olive oil.
Protein count: 3 grams per serving (about 18 pecan halves)
Your daily dose of cashews contains 98% of your recommended intake of copper. It's weird to think about the benefits of copper in your body, right? This mineral is responsible for building red blood cells that contribute to give you that much needed, midday energy boost. Try making your own cashew milk to sip on that extra dose of copper.
Protein count: 5 grams of protein (about 16 cashews)
They may not have the most protein, but they do tie with almonds for a low-calorie count. Snack on these mighty greens for a boost of fiber, which balances your digestive system and makes you less hungry throughout the day.
Protein count: 6 grams per serving (about 49 pistachios)
You know what they say: second is the best, especially when almonds are low in calories and high in calcium. If you haven't tried pairing almonds with chocolate, you're missing out. Start by trying these dark chocolate almond walnut cranberry clusters. The chocolate will satisfy your sweet tooth, and the almond's omega-30 fatty acid will keep you full throughout the day. It's a win-win situation.
Protein count: 6 grams per serving (about 23 almonds)
To the peanut lovers, congrats! While these are classified as the most protein-packed snack, it's not hard to believe that they're also the most popular nut, responsible for over half of the nut consumption in the US. Finally, a type of food that's popular in the US that's not processed and is relatively healthy. Are you going nuts yet?
Protein count: 7 grams per serving (about 28 unshelled peanuts)