7 of the Best Nuts for Your Skin and Health

| Food & Drinks
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(Photo: iStock)

Next to fruits and granola bars, nuts are the most underrated nutritious snack. Accounting for less than eight percent of our daily antioxidant intake, studies report less than 40 percent of Americans eat nuts today. That’s just nuts — especially when Harvard discovered a handful is a key in helping you live longer.

We know they’re packed with protein, fiber and unsaturated fats, but it should also be recognized that they’re a phenomenal snack that aid in a glowing, more smoother looking complexion. It’s true! And we can give thanks to the vitamins and minerals, like copper, zinc, vitamin A, C, and E packed in each little nut that promote a healthy collagen production.

As we head into autumn and look for ways to keep our skin looking fresh, integrate nuts into meals or snacks for a glowing complexion that will improve the signs of aging.

Walnuts
Slightly bitter in flavor, these brain-friendly nuts are known best for being inflammation fighters thanks to its omega-3 fats. However, the journal Nutrients suggests a handful of these mood-busting nuts can help reduce stress and boost vitamin B levels, which is particularly great for your skin. Not only does vitamin B keep wrinkles and fine lines away, but its combination with zinc and vitamin E help to balance blood sugars, which support insulin function. When insulin spikes, this causes distressed skin and leads to acne or a reduction in collagen production.

Chestnuts
Don’t reserve chestnuts just for Christmas — eat them year round because they’re the only nut packed with vitamin C. The National Institute of Health suggests a quarter cup of chestnuts serve up an astonishing 30 percent of the recommended daily allowance. But how does vitamin C aid in a clear complexion? Registered dietician, Gale Malesky shares in his book, Nature’s Medicine that C is essential for the body to produce collagen and elastin — connective tissues that keep vein walls strong and flexible. Not only does it prevent collagen breakdown, but it also improves immune system function, which in turn helps heal broken capillaries for clearer skin.

Almonds
From salads to ice cream, almonds are perfect on everything and are packed with protein, essential fatty acids and fiber. But as an added bonus, they’re also the best natural anti-inflammatory as they reduce swelling and irritation. Packing a punch of vitamin E, almonds keep blood vessels dilated so skin stays hydrated, and defends the body against skin disorders like acne, psoriasis and eczema. A study in the Journal of Nutrition found almonds contain a high concentration of compounds that fight skin cancer and reverse the damage of oxidative stress caused by a poor diet, pollution and UV light exposure.

Pistachios
Not only are pistachios ideal for weight control, but they’re also filled with heart-healthy fats that promote a happy cholesterol. While the green nut has also been linked to controlling type-2 diabetes and contains resveratrol — the anti-inflammatory found in red wine — the University of Toronto suggests the impact of healthy glucose levels reduces stress and decreases the appearance of acne by controlling blood sugar that circulates the acne-causing hormone androgen.

Cashews
Founder of the paleo diet movement, Loren Cordain writes in his book The Dietary Cure for Acne that cashews are high in acne-fighting nutrients. While a diet consisting of primarily meat, vegetables, fruits and nuts help reduce the inflammation of acne, Cordain states cashews are one food that helps the most. High in selenium, these minerals act as an antioxidant with vitamin E, hydrate skin and reduce inflammation, like scarring. Moreover, the presence of zinc promotes immune function for healing and cell growth that can renew infected or damaged acne zones.

Macadamias
Regarded as the world’s finest nut, macadamias are packed with vitamin E, which help heal wounds, delay premature wrinkling and repair muscle and connective tissues. Buttery in flavor, these classy nuts are a rich source of iron, protein and vitamins B2 also known as riboflavin, which aids in maintaining healthy collagen levels for glowing skin and hair.

Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts might offer a ton of omega-3s like walnuts, but these ivory white nuts are abundant in selenium, which is responsible for improving the skin’s elasticity and relieving inflammation like pimples or redness from acne. High in this mineral, these nuts neutralize free radicals thanks to its production of glutathione to hydrate skin for a better consistency and reduction in acne. While they have also been said to fight certain cancers, these rich in flavor nuts are renowned for aiding in weight loss. 

Tania Hussain |

Tania Hussain is a native of Toronto and a Hoosier at heart, studying journalism at Ball State University in Indiana. She has a mad love for fine cheese, film, music, and meeting people upon her many travels. When Tania’s not writing at Womanista, she can be found going for long nature runs, rooting for the Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Cardinals, photographing sights and food, or writing for her online magazine, The Hudsucker. She is also a member of the Indy-based, Society of Professional Journalists—one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists.