Are Salted Nuts Healthy?
Limiting the amount of sodium in your diet plays an important role in your health, because high-sodium diets contribute to chronic diseases, including heart disease and stomach cancer. While your first instinct might be to avoid all foods with added salt, some salted foods -- such as salted nuts -- might not contain as much sodium as you think. In addition to their low-to-moderate sodium content, salted nuts offer lots of nutritional value, and they provide essential nutrients that support life-long health.
While it's important to limit your sodium intake for good health, you needn't worry too much about the sodium levels in salted nuts. An ounce of salted mixed nuts contains just 98 milligrams of sodium, which makes it a low-sodium food, according to Colorado State University Extension. Salted peanuts also count as low-sodium foods, at just 97 milligrams of sodium per serving. While salted almonds and cashews contain more sodium -- 184 and 179 milligrams per serving, respectively -- they won't blow your daily sodium budget. Aim for a total sodium intake of 1,500 milligrams, and don't exceed a daily intake of 2,300 milligrams, recommends the Institute of Medicine.
Benefits from Fiber
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Salted nuts offer several health benefits because of their fiber content. Fiber plays a key role in digestive health because it helps move stool through your system and keep you regular, and it also promotes colon health. In addition, foods high in fiber might help you lose or maintain weight by keeping you full between meals, and high-fiber diets lower your cholesterol levels to protect against heart disease. An ounce of salted mixed nuts offers 2.6 grams of dietary fiber -- 10 and 7 percent of the daily fiber needs for women and men, respectively.
Salted nuts also offer cardiovascular benefits because they come packed with healthy unsaturated fatty acids. The nuts' polyunsaturated fatty acids lower your levels of LDL cholesterol, which is the harmful cholesterol that contributes to cardiovascular disease. The monounsaturated fats in nuts are even more beneficial -- they not only lower LDL cholesterol, they also boost the amount of healthful HDL cholesterol in your bloodstream. An ounce of salted mixed nuts offers 8.9 grams of monounsaturated fatty acids and 3.1 grams of polyunsaturated fat. They're also low in saturated fat, at just 1.8 grams per serving, which makes them a good addition to a heart-healthy diet.
Incorporating salted nuts into your diet also boosts your vitamin and mineral intake. Nuts offer generous amounts of vitamin E, an antioxidant that also prevents blood clotting, relaxes your blood vessels to increase blood flow, and aids in cell communication. For example, an ounce of salted mixed nuts provides 3.1 milligrams of vitamin E, or 21 percent of your daily vitamin E needs. Salted nuts also contain copper, a mineral important for connective tissue strength, brain function and energy production. Each ounce of salted mixed nuts boosts your copper intake by 363 micrograms and provides 40 percent of your daily copper requirements.
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- Linus Pauling Institute: Nuts
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Nuts, Mixed Nuts, Dry Roasted, With Peanuts, With Salt Added
- HealthAliciousNess: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool
- Linus Pauling Institute: Sodium (Chloride)
- Colorado State University Extension: Dietary Fiber
- Colorado State University Extension: Dietary Fat and Cholesterol
- Linus Pauling Institute: Copper
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin E
- Colorado State University Extension: Sodium and the Diet
Sylvie Tremblay holds a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology and has years of experience as a cancer researcher and neuroscientist. Based in Ontario, Canada, Tremblay is an experienced journalist and blogger specializing in nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, health and biotechnology, as well as real estate, agriculture and clean tech.