When you think about it, nuts are a very complicated food group, botanically speaking. Different types of nuts don’t say what they mean or mean what they say. For example, did you know that a peanut isn’t a nut? In fact, it’s a legume because it grows underground in a pod instead of on a tree. Cashews do grow on trees, but they’re actually a seed instead of a type of nut. This is because cashews grow attached to a Cashew apple, which is a fruit. Consider peaches. The peach pit is the seed because it’s just an accessory to the fruit.
Then you have to think about roasted nuts versus raw types of nuts. Both have very similar nutrients, but dry roasted or raw nuts are considered to be healthier to eat over wet roasted nuts because there is more oil. Also, you have a higher risk for oxidation due to the oil getting heated. Now that you know that telling the different types of nuts and seeds at a glance can be challenging, let’s dive in and find out more about them.
1. Brazil Nuts
First up is a type of nut called Brazil nuts. These are actually seeds that come from the Brazil nut tree. These trees originated in the rainforest, so they do very well in hot, humid, and wet environments. You could call them a tropical tree. This type of nut has a very buttery flavor profile to it, and they have a higher amount of the good dietary fat in each cup. You can eat them raw or you can blanch them. A cup of these nuts has roughly 16 grams of protein, 80 grams of fat, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of sugar.
Brazil Nuts by Marton Divenyi / CC BY-NC 2.0
Almonds are also technically seeds that come from the almond tree. They’re more sweet but very hard, and companies use them to create almond milk, almond flour, and even almond oil. You can chop them up very small and scatter them over your salad for an additional crunch. Almonds also go well sliced on vegetable sides like green beans. It’s also possible to candy this type of nut and use them to make breading or crusts. One cup has roughly 30 grams of protein, 71 grams of fat, 17 grams of fiber, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 1,048 milligrams of potassium, and 6 grams of sugar.
Almonds by HealthAliciousNess / CC BY 2.0
Hazelnut is probably the best known ingredient in Gianduja or Nutella, and this is a very round, small, and sweet type of nut that is very popular to cook with. Just like cashews or almonds, it’s possible to ground up hazelnuts and use them as a crust in seafood or in baked goods. They have a very thin brown skin that flakes off when you cook them, and they add a nice crunch to your dishes or desserts. A cup of hazelnuts has 82 grams of fat, 20 grams of protein, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of sugar, 918 grams of potassium, and 13 grams of fiber.
Hazelnuts by Oregon State University / CC BY-SA 2.0
4. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds exploded in popularity in recent years for their health benefits. They are extremely tiny seeds that offer up to 10 grams of fiber in two tablespoons. They also come loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, antioxidants, and minerals like magnesium, calcium, zinc, and iron. These small seeds are very easy to add to sweet or savory dishes and baked goods. You can easily sprinkle them whole or ground over vegetables, cereal, or yogurt. If you want to add them to cooked cereal, you can soak them in water first. It’s also possible to create a healthy chia pudding for dessert.
Chia seeds by Stacy Spensley / CC BY 2.0
This is a lesser-known type of nut, and it’s common for people not to recognize it straight away when they first see it. They look similar to almonds, but they have a smaller size with a slightly teardrop shape. When you taste them, this type of nut tastes a bit like pine nuts or sunflower seeds. This is a much lighter taste profile, so it makes sense that they do well in garnishes or salads. You can try lightly roasting them and snacking on them. A cup of these nuts has 12 grams of protein, 4.78 grams of carbohydrates, 95 grams of fat, 609 milligrams of phosphorus, 608 milligrams of potassium, and four milligrams of sodium.
Pili Nut (Sipocot, Camarines Sur) by Shubert Ciencia / CC BY 2.0
6. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a very healthy and tasty snack that offers up to 16% of your daily iron intake in ¼ of a cup. This same amount will net you up to 5 grams of fiber, and this is more than you’ll get in most types of nuts. Also, these seeds are an excellent source of protein, amino acids, and omega-3 fatty acids. They also have a good amount of magnesium, zinc, and other minerals. Fresh roasted pumpkin seeds are a very good snack, and you can enjoy them all year-round when you sprinkle them on oatmeal, mix them into smoothies, bake them into muffins, or add them to homemade energy bars and granola.
Pumpkin seeds by Niklas Morberg / CC BY-NC 2.0
7. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds come packed with a host of nutrients. Two tablespoons will give you up to four grams of protein and six grams of fiber. There are also higher amounts of alpha-linolenic acid, and this is an omega-3 fatty acid type. Eating this seeds could boost your cardiovascular health, and flax seeds also have lignans, and this can help shield your body from cancer. Adding this seed into your diet is very easy too. You can mix it into salads, bake it into muffins, or add it to smoothies, yogurt, soups, and cereal. You can use ground flax seeds as a substitute for eggs.
Golden Flax Seeds by Veganbaking.net / CC BY-SA 2.0
Despite not technically being a type of nut but a legume, peanuts made the list due to their popularity. Peanuts are very common meal ingredients, snack ingredients, and in peanut butter. You’ll also find peanuts used a lot in Asian cuisine and stir-fries because they add a light taste with a nice texture and crunch. Since peanuts have a slightly sweeter taste, they’re also great in a range of baked items. A cup of peanuts will give you 26 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of protein, 245 milligrams of magnesium, 6.89 grams of sugar, 1029 milligrams of potassium, and 71 grams of fat.
Peanuts by Erich Ferdinand / CC BY 2.0
9. Sesame Seeds
This is another tiny seed that packs in up to 20% of your daily recommended fiber and protein needs. They have higher amounts of the amino acids methionine and tryptophan, and sesame seed oil is very good on salads. It has higher amounts of oleic and linoleic acids, and these can lower your cholesterol. Ground sesame seeds is the main ingredient in hummus under tahini, and you can serve it as a nut-free substitute for people with food allergies. They add a nice crunch to stir-fry dishes or salads when you sprinkle the whole seeds onto them, or they’re popular in baking like on breads.
At a distance, your walnuts will look like smaller pieces of peanut brittle. They are pretty flowering trees too, and they have a misshaped and wild look to this type of seed. This is a softer type of nut with a slight crunch to it when you bite it, and you can use them to replace pine nuts in pesto. They also work very well in a host of Asian dishes like kung pao chicken, or you can chop them up and add them to slaws, salads, or a range of baked goods. You’ll get up to 80 grams of fat, 20 grams of protein, 12 grams of fiber, 16 grams of carbohydrates, and 80 milligrams of calcium in a single cup.
Walnuts by Pauline Mak / CC BY 2.0
Quinoa is another seed that has a very high protein content per cup at 8 grams of 15% of your daily recommended allowance. It also has vitamin E and amino acids with an antioxidant called quercetin. It’s a nutty-flavored seed, and you can easily add it to grain dishes in place of pasta or rice. You can make a very healthy breading that is gluten-free with it for those that have celiac, and you can eat it for breakfast instead of more traditional oatmeal for a filling meal. It has a softer texture that is very similar to rice.
Quinoa! By Ross Catrow / CC BY-SA 2.0
12. Tiger Nut
This is a lesser-known type of nut, and it’s very wrinkly looking and small. It looks very close to a chickpea, but it has more texture. They can resemble corn-puffed cereal at a glance, and they have a very earthy taste with a hint of sweetness. They’re also chewier than you may expect, and this makes them a pleasant switch from the crunchiness or hard feel you get with a lot of other types of nuts. You can eat this type of nut by itself as a snack, or it also mixes well into oatmeal or salads to introduce some texture. A cup of these nuts has 10.61 grams of protein, 52 grams of fiber, 100 grams of carbohydrates, 37 grams of fat, 1140 grams of potassium, 47 grams of sugar, and 159 milligrams of calcium.
Yellow Nutsedge by NY State IPM Program at Cornell University / CC BY 2.0
13. Wild Rice
Did you know that wild rice isn’t a type of nut, but it’s actually a grass seed? It has a higher protein content than almost any other whole grain, and it has up to 30 times more antioxidants than you’ll get with white rice. This is a great source of fiber, and it’s also packed with a host of nutrients like phosphorus, magnesium, folate, zing, manganese, niacin, and vitamin B6. It could be effective for helping you lower your cholesterol levels, and it’s a very versatile food. You can substitute it for white rice in any recipe that calls for it, and it can be a healthy addition to your soups or salads.
Wild Rice Stuffing by Mark Pesce / CC BY-NC 2.0
14. Pomegranate Seeds
The seeds of the pomegranate are small, red, and shiny. They’re called arils, and they come loaded with fiber and up to 40% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C per cup. You get a load of heart-healthy antioxidants when you eat them, too called polyphenols, including anthocyanins, tannins, and flavonoids. They’re a fun fruit tree to try in your garden, and it’ll produce larger, heavier fruit. You’ll get a low-calorie snack with them that is juicy and sweet, and you can easily have them mixed into yogurt, tossed into salads, and made into a sweet jelly.
Pomegranate seeds by Lindsey Turner / CC BY 2.0
15. Pine Nuts
Pine nuts are one of the smallest types of nuts on the whole list, and they’re excellent for toasting and adding to your salads. Toasting this type of nut will bring out the sweet, light flavoring. They have a very light color to them with an oily and soft texture. Pine nuts are also a necessary ingredient to have on hand when you’re making pesto. A cup of pine nuts will offer 92 grams of fat, 18 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 805 milligrams of potassium, 339 milligrams of magnesium, and 4.85 grams of sugar.
Pine nuts by wetwebwork / CC BY-SA 2.0
16. Poppy Seeds
When you think of poppies, you usually picture a vivid red flower with a dark center. However, poppy seeds are tiny seeds that give you up to 4% of your recommended daily intake of iron, calcium, and phosphorus. Phosphorus and calcium are essential nutrients that your body uses for healthy and strong bone growth. They’re also a great source of fiber, oleic acid, and omega-3 fatty acids. You can easily add these seeds to your salad dressings, muffins, whole wheat pancakes, or vegetable dishes just by sprinkling them on as you cook or right before you serve them.
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins by Katrin Gilger / CC BY-SA 2.0
Pistachios are one of the more rich-tasting types of nuts on the list with a very bold and strong flavor profile. This makes them fantastic for grounding down and adding as a crust to seafood dishes. However, it also goes well in desserts like pistachio ice cream. You get light brown shells with a bright green nut, and you discard the shells before eating this type of nut. Per cup, this type of nut will give you 55 grams of fat, 24.80 grams of protein, 13 grams of fiber, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 1261 milligrams of potassium, 9 grams of sugar, and 603 milligrams of phosphorus.
Pistachios! By Stefan Lins / CC BY-NC 2.0
18. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds have a higher healthy fat content, and they also come packed with fiber, proteins, copper, selenium, phytochemicals, and magnesium. Sunflower seeds are also one of the richest sources of vitamin E available. You can easily add them to salad toppings, and they go very well in bread or muffin recipes. Sunflowers pair well with stir-fries, vegetable dishes, and yogurt or cereals. You can crush up sunflower seeds to use them as a gluten-free, tasty coating for chicken or fish. Roasted and salted sunflower seeds make a very good snack, and you can get them unsalted too.
Girasol (Helianthus annuus) by Alejandro Bayer Tamayo / CC BY-SA 2.0
Pecans have a slightly funnier look than a lot of different types of nuts, and they’re slightly larger with a crinkled exterior. However, this is a very sweet type of nut that makes them a fantastic baking element on things like sticky buns or pecan pie. You can toast or glaze them to create a nice sweet snack, or you can add them raw to chicken salad or leafy green salads for more texture. You’ll get 9 grams of protein, 4 grams of sugar, 9 grams of fiber, 406 milligrams of potassium, 71 grams of fat, and 13 grams of carbohydrates in a cup of pecan halves.
Pecans by Leslie / CC BY-NC 2.0
20. Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are another type of seeds you can eat, and they are a fantastic source of heart-healthy omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. In two tablespoons of this small seed, you’ll get 10 grams of protein packed in. They have a very nutty, mild flavor to them that allows them to be very versatile. You can eat them by themselves, or they go well on top of yogurt or salads, and hemp milk is a good alternative to dairy. A cup of these seeds will give you 6.31 grams of protein, 1.73 grams of carbohydrates, 9.75 grams of fat, and 0.3 grams of sugar with 111 calories.
Hemp seeds by UnconventionalEmma / CC BY-NC 2.0
Almost most know this type of nut for the role it plays in enhancing sugary cookies, desserts, or brownies, this type of nut is very high in healthy fats. You can puree them into soups or add them whole or crushed into salads for a nice texture and taste. Turning this nut into nut butter is a great way to add it to your baked goods while cutting out traditional butter to make them more healthy. A cup of this type of nut will offer 101 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 492 milligrams of potassium, 7 milligrams of sodium, and 101 grams of fat.
Macadamia Nuts by Richard Ashurst / CC BY 2.0
People love to roast and eat this type of nut, and the chestnut tree is a pretty flowering tree option to add to your yard to spruce up your landscape. You’ll get a very soft, spongy texture with them once you cook them by boiling, but you don’t want to eat the skin or shell. This type of nut tastes more grainy than nutty, and you can easily compare them to how sweet potatoes taste. Once you cook this nut, it’ll give you a buttery texture like a potato. A cup of chestnuts has 1.88 grams of fat, 2.45 grams of protein, 3 milligrams of sodium, 66 grams of carbohydrates, 60 milligrams of vitamin C, 45 milligrams of potassium, and 727 milligrams of potassium.
Chestnuts by Zaytsev Artem / CC BY 2.0
The salty and buttery taste of this type of nut makes it very hard to stop eating them once you start, and it’s common for companies to make them into nut butter or cashew milk as a dairy alternative. Outside of eating them raw as a snack, you can add cashews into stir-fries as a welcome garnish, and they work very well in homemade granola. A cup of cashews has 52 grams of fat, 20 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 344 milligrams of sodium, and 4 grams of sugar.
Cashews by Jutta M. Jenning / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
24. Marcona Almonds
This type of nut is called the Queen of Almonds, and they get imported from Spain. These almonds look very similar to macadamia nuts. You may have had these almonds with cheese on a charcuterie board, or they’re common to get eaten roasted with a seasoning on them. The sweetness of this type of nut makes them a very healthy and delicious snack. A cup of this type of nut has 24 grams of protein, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 88 grams of fat, 12 grams of sugar, 16 grams of fiber, and 560 milligrams of sodium.
Marcona Almonds by Jonathan Pincas / CC BY 2.0
Coconuts are a type of nut that gives you a summertime feel, but you can do so much more with the dried coconut meat than you can with it raw. You can purchase coconut shredded or desiccated, or it comes in flakes of the unsweetened and sweetened variety. Coconut pairs very well in crusts, salads, baked goods, and oatmeal. A cup of coconut that is dried and shredded will offer 313 milligrams of potassium, 244 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams of fiber, 33 grams of fat, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 2.68 grams of protein, and 40 grams of sugar.
How to Store Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are relatively straightforward and easy to store if you can’t or don’t want to eat all of them at one time. By following the tips below, you can easily keep them fresh and ready to go for months at a time.
Buy Them Fresh
Try to purchase the freshest seeds and nuts that you can find. One place to look is in bulk bins because they tend to have a very fast turnaround time that requires them to get restocked often. If it’s possible, taste the different types of nuts and seeds before you buy them. Also, only buy what you need if it’s possible. It may be tempting to load up on cashews, walnuts, and peanuts in a single trip, if you don’t need all three right away, pick up only what you plan on using before you come back for another shopping trip.
Buy Raw, Whole, Nuts and Seeds
Raw, whole seeds and nuts will stay fresher for longer periods. This is because when you toast, chop, or ground them into meal or flour, the nuts release their oils. The oils are then exposed to more oxygen, and this makes them go rancid quickly. Try to get into the habit of toasting the seeds or nuts yourself and grinding them down for meal or flour if you need it. Doing these things on your own will guarantee how fresh they are, but it can also make your toasted pecans, flaxseed meal, or almond flour taste better.
Seal the Jars
Transfer each type of nut or seed into an airtight container for storage. Mason jars are a great option, or anything works that you can create an airtight seal on. This blocks the air from getting in, and this means that you get fresher seeds and nuts. It also stops exterior odors from seeping in, and this could easily be absorbed by your nuts and seeds to change the taste.
Store Them in a Cold Place
Putting your types of nuts and seeds into airtight containers is just step one. It’s more important to store them in a cold place. If you plan to use them in the next few days, you can store them in a cool, dark spot in your cupboard or pantry in an airtight container. However, they’ll only last at room temperature for a few months. Ideally, you’ll store them in your freezer or refrigerator to keep them fresh for longer. Doing so will prevent them from being impacted by the fluctuating temperatures in your kitchen. Generally speaking, seeds and nuts will stay fresh for up to six months when you put them into the refrigerator or up to a year in the freezer. The sturdier your container is, the less likely they are to absorb smells from food stored near them.
These 25 types of nuts and seeds all make healthy additions to your diet, and you can easily store them for months until you want to use them. We’ve outlined several great options with different flavors that make excellent complements to several dishes or baked goods, and you can experiment for yourself and see which ones work best for your tastes.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.