January 20, 2021

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All Things Delicious

8 High Protein Nuts to Add to Your Diet

5 min read

Nuts make a delicious, protein-rich snack or addition to meals.

They’re versatile, easy to eat on the go, and a good source of plant-based protein, especially for those who eat few or no animal products.

Eating nuts can help you meet your needs for protein, which is necessary for building bones, muscles, and skin. Protein also increases feelings of fullness, helping you stay satisfied and energized (1).

While all nuts contain protein, some provide more than others. This article reviews 8 nuts that are high in protein.

Protein: 7 grams per 1/4-cup (35-gram) serving of almonds (2)

Almonds are actually a seed. However, people often group them with nuts and consider them to be a high protein option.

In addition to being high in protein, almonds are loaded with antioxidants. These plant compounds protect the body from free-radical-induced oxidative stress, which can lead to aging, heart disease, and some cancers (3).

The brown layer of skin surrounding almonds contains the highest concentration of antioxidants, so it’s best to eat almonds with the skin for the most benefits (4).

To make a balanced snack with almonds, pair them with a piece of fruit.

Summary

Almonds provide 7 grams of protein per 1/4-cup (35-gram) serving. They’re also packed with antioxidant compounds that can help protect your cells from damage.

Protein: 4.5 grams per 1/4-cup (29-gram) serving of chopped walnuts (5)

Eating walnuts is a delicious way to boost your protein intake.

Walnuts are also a source of heart-healthy fats. Specifically, they contain more omega-3 fatty acids, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), than any other nut (5).

Some observational studies have linked ALA intake to a lower risk of heart disease (6).

With their fatty texture and mouthfeel, walnuts are a good addition to ground meats and can further increase the protein content of meat-based dishes.

Summary

Walnuts contain 4.5 grams of protein per 1/4 cup (29 grams). Adding walnuts to your diet is a good way to boost your intake of protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Protein: 6 grams per 1/4-cup (30-gram) serving of pistachios (7)

A serving of pistachios provides as much protein as one egg (8).

These nuts have a higher ratio of essential amino acids relative to their protein content, compared with most other nuts (9).

Essential amino acids are those that need to be obtained through the diet so that the body can use them to build proteins that are necessary for important functions (10).

For a fun way to eat pistachios, try blending them into a nut butter to eat on toast, apples, or crackers.

Summary

With 6 grams of protein per 1/4 cup (30 grams), pistachios contain as much protein as an egg per serving, plus a high amount of essential amino acids.

Protein: 5 grams per 1/4 cup (32 grams) of cashews (11)

Cashews are technically seeds. They’re not only high in protein but also contain several important vitamins and minerals.

A 1/4-cup (32-gram) serving provides about 80% of the Daily Value (DV) for copper. Copper is a mineral that supports immunity and aids the creation of red blood cells and connective tissue (11, 12).

Studies have also found a link between low copper intake and an increased risk of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weak and brittle bones (12).

Thus, getting more copper in your diet by eating cashews may be one way to help protect against this condition.

To enjoy more cashews in your diet, eat them as part of a balanced snack on top of plain yogurt with fruit.

Summary

Cashews contain 5 grams of protein per 1/4-cup (32-gram) serving. Along with protein, cashews contain essential micronutrients like copper.

Protein: 4.5 grams per 1/4 cup (34 grams) of pine nuts (13)

Pine nuts are the seeds of certain varieties of pine cones. They’re prized for their mild, sweet taste and buttery texture, which comes from their high fat content.

In addition to providing 4 grams of protein, a 1/4-cup (34-gram) serving of pine nuts has 23 grams of fat (13).

The fat in pine nuts mostly comes from unsaturated fats, which may help reduce risk factors for heart disease. One of the fatty acids in pine nuts may also exhibit anti-inflammatory effects and help prevent cancer from spreading (14, 15).

Toasted pine nuts are a delicious way to add some extra protein to salads, grain bowls, or vegetables. To toast pine nuts at home, cook them in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant.

Summary

Sweet, buttery pine nuts have more than just a delicious taste. They also provide 4.5 grams of protein per 1/4-cup (34-gram) serving, as well as healthy fats.

Protein: 4.75 grams per 1/4 cup (33 grams) serving (16)

Brazil nuts come from the seeds of a rainforest tree and are easy to spot in a bag of mixed nuts, as they’re usually the biggest ones.

Along with protein, they provide healthy fats, fiber, and an assortment of micronutrients. What’s more, Brazil nuts are one of the best food sources of selenium, an essential mineral that supports thyroid health and protects the body from infection (17).

Just one Brazil nut (5 grams) has almost 175% of the DV for selenium (16).

Try mixing Brazil nuts with other nuts and seeds, dried mango, and dark chocolate chunks for a protein-rich trail mix.

Summary

Brazil nuts contain 4.75 grams of protein per 1/4-cup (33-gram) serving. Eating Brazil nuts is an excellent way to add more protein to your diet and meet your daily needs for selenium.

Protein: 9.5 grams per 1/4-cup (37-gram) serving (18)

Peanuts are a legume but considered a nut from a nutritional and culinary standpoint.

Like most legumes, they provide a lot of plant-based protein. In fact, peanuts have the highest protein content out of all commonly consumed nuts.

Peanuts are also one of the best food sources of biotin, a vitamin that helps convert food into usable energy in the body (19, 20).

For a balanced snack that provides protein, fats, and carbs, combine peanut butter and bananas on their own, or assemble them on top of toast.

Summary

With 9.5 grams of protein per 1/4 cup (37 grams), peanuts beat out all other nuts on the list in terms of protein content. They likewise provide a healthy dose of biotin and other nutrients.

Protein: 5 grams per 1/4-cup (34-gram) serving (21)

Hazelnuts have a slightly sweet, buttery, and toasted flavor, making them a particularly delicious source of protein.

Studies have also found that adding hazelnuts to your diet may help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease (22, 23).

For a high protein snack, make some homemade “Nutella” spread. Blend 1 cup (135 grams) of hazelnuts with 2 scoops (60 grams) of chocolate protein powder, 1 tablespoon (6 grams) of cocoa powder, and two tablespoons (30 mL) of maple syrup.

Summary

Hazelnuts contain 5 grams of protein per 1/4-cup (34-gram) serving. In addition to boosting protein intake, consuming more hazelnuts may help improve heart health and lower the risk of heart disease.

Nuts are a healthy source of plant-based protein. They make a convenient snack, and you can add them to many dishes to boost their protein content.

The nuts on this list are all good sources of protein, with peanuts providing the most protein per serving.

If you cannot eat peanuts or want to try some different protein-rich nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, and Brazil nuts are a few interesting options.

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