Are Nuts Really Healthy?

Get smart about your body with Dr. Roizen and Dr. Oz. This month: Are nuts healthy?

By Michael F. Roizen | M.D. and Mehmet C. Oz from Reader's Digest | August 2006

Q: I don’t like the taste of raw nuts, so I snack on roasted. Will I get the same health benefits?


A: There are all kinds of nuts, and some are better than others. Nuts are certainly a healthier snack than chips or candy, but they may lose up to 10% of their healthy oils when roasted. And cooking at high temperatures may even cause the formation of chemicals that promote aging. Here’s a guide to nut snacking, from most healthy to least:

  • raw and freshly refrigerated
  • freshly toasted or dry roasted
    (in your oven)
  • roasted in their own fat and salted (in a package)
  • roasted in partially hydrogenated fat, and even worse if they’re sugared.

It takes only eight weeks to change your taste buds, so we urge you to give nuts another chance — especially since they’re linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer. Your best bet? Raw walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts: Walnuts rank highest in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Check expiration dates, since nuts can go rancid quickly, and store them in the fridge to keep them fresh.