View as List Test Your Nut Knowledge

  • Test Your Nut Knowledge?>

    Nuts are often regarded as a snack food, but they're actually much more than that. Nuts have served as an important source of nourishment throughout human history. They provide a wide range of nutrients, are versatile cooking ingredients, and can be processed into nut butters, ground into flour, and pressed into oils. (And, yes, they make a delicious snack too.) How nut savvy are you? Take our quiz to find out. Some questions have more than one correct answer.

  • 1

    People who eat nuts regularly

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    (a) have lower blood cholesterol

    (b) are at lower risk of heart disease

    (c) are more likely to develop problems related to diverticulosis

    (d) are less likely to develop diabetes

    (e) live longer, on average, than people who don’t eat nuts.

  • 2

    Answer: (a), (b), (d), and (e).

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    Studies have consistently linked all kinds of nuts to a reduced risk of heart disease, largely because nuts have a favorable effect on blood cholesterol. Nuts may also help keep blood vessels healthy and have other cardiovascular benefits. Back in 2002, a major study found that women who ate nuts (an ounce at least five times a week) had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. It’s a myth that nuts increase the risk of complications of diverticulosis (small pouches in the intestinal wall that can become infected). Studies have even linked nut consumption to increased longevity.

  • 3

    What substances in nuts may explain their health benefits?

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    (a) unsaturated fats

    (b) potassium

    (c) arginine

    (d) fiber.

  • 4

    Answer: All.

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    At least three-quarters of the calories in nuts come from fat, which is mostly unsaturated (monounsaturated or polyunsaturated), the kind that can improve blood cholesterol levels. Other healthful substances in nuts include potassium, copper, magnesium, fiber (much of it soluble), arginine (an amino acid that helps relax blood vessels), sterols (which also help lower cholesterol), and various antioxidant compounds. 

  • 5

    Which nuts are highest in calories?

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    (a) almonds

    (b) macadamia nuts

    (c) walnuts

    (d) chestnuts.

  • 6

    Answer: (b).

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    Macadamia nuts have 205 calories per ounce; chestnuts have the least (70 calories). Other nuts range in calories from 160 to 200 calories. Dry-roasted nuts have as many calories as oil-roasted.

  • 7

    True or false:

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    Nut eaters tend to weigh more.

  • 8

    Answer: False.

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    People who eat nuts regularly tend to weigh less than those who don’t—or at least they don’t weigh more, studies show. The protein, fat, and fiber in nuts help make you feel full longer, so you are less hungry—and presumably eat less—later. Some studies also suggest that nuts may slightly increase calorie burning, while other research has found that some of the fat and protein in nuts is not absorbed by the body because it passes through the intestines undigested (unless the nuts are ground into butter).

  • 9

    Which is true about peanuts?

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    (a) they are not true “tree” nuts

    (b) they are less healthful than other nuts

    (c) they supply resveratrol

    (d) they have more protein and arginine than other nuts. 

  • 10

    Answer: (a), (c), and (d).

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    Peanuts are technically legumes (like dried beans) but are classified with nuts because of their shared nutritional (and physical) qualities. They contain resveratrol (a potentially bendeficial compound also found in grapes and red wine), are richest in arginine, and have the most protein of all nuts. Studies have found that peanuts, like tree nuts, are associated with a range of health benefits

  • 11

    True or false:

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    Nuts are naturally high in sodium. 

  • 12

    Answer: False.

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    Nuts naturally contain little or no sodium. But salt is usually added in processing so that an ounce of nuts can contain 200 milligrams of sodium or more. Unsalted varieties are widely available. 

  • 13

    Which nuts are the best source of omega-3 fats?

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    (a) pecans

    (b) cashews

    (c) hazelnuts

    (d) walnuts.

  • 14

    Answer: (d).

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    Walnuts are richest in heart-healthy alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid related to those found in fish.

  • 15

    True or false:

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    Nut butters have the same nutritional advantages as nuts. 

  • 16

    Answer: True.

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    But some commercial nut butters may still contain trans fat because of the partially hydrogenated vegetable oil added to keep the nut oil from separating. Even though the amount of trans fat is tiny, no amount is healthy. Many nut butters also have added sugar and salt. Check the ingredients.

  • 17

    True or false:

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    Almond and peanut skins are good for you.

  • 18

    Answer: True.

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    Though you’re not likely to get much, the skin contains antioxidant compounds and fiber. Almond skins, for example, are rich in flavonoids, including catechins. A paper from the USDA (and the Almond Board of California) found that these compounds in the skin interact with vitamin E in the nuts to protect LDL (“bad”) cholesterol against oxidation. Oxidized LDL is more damaging to arteries. 

  • 19

    How many Brazil nuts does it take to reach the daily recommended intake for selenium?

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    (a) 1

    (b) 5

    (c) 10

    (d) 25.

  • 20

    Answer: (a).

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    Brazil nuts are the single best dietary source of selenium. Just one nut provides more than the daily requirement, which is 55 micrograms. But don’t eat too many—a safe upper limit for selenium is only 400 micrograms a day for adults. Doses of more than 1,000 micrograms a day can cause nausea, vomiting, hair loss, and other problems.

  • 21

    True or false:

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    Almonds help you meet your calcium needs. 

  • 22

    Answer: True.

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    Almonds contain the most calcium of all nuts—75 milligrams per ounce, which is nearly 8 percent of the Daily Value. 

  • 23

    To get the heart-health benefits of nuts, how much do you need to eat?

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    (a) ½ ounce a day

    (b) 1 to 3 ounces a day

    (c) 2 ounces a week

    (d) about a handful a day.

  • 24

    Answer: (b) and (d).

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    Studies have generally found benefits in people eating 1 to 3 ounces of nuts a day. For example, an analysis of 25 studies, in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2010, found that people who ate about 2 ounces of nuts a day had a 7 percent decrease in LDL cholesterol. The FDA allows nut labels to display a “qualified” health claim saying that eating 1½ ounces of nuts a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. A handful of nuts is about an ounce. This web page will tell you how many nuts are in an ounce and how they stack up in terms of nutrients.