The total fat content of most nuts and seeds is high because, as the seed ripens, the fat store increases and its starch content declines. However, the amount of fat is quite variable, ranging from about 78% in the macadamia nut and 70% in the pecan to around 50-55% in nuts such as the almond, cashew, hazelnut, and pistachio, and as low as 3% in chestnuts. The fat content of the edible seeds is between 45 and 60%.

The different fatty acid fractions contained in these nuts and seeds are also quite variable, as shown in Table 3. The vast majority of nuts and seeds are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsat-urated fatty acids. However, in some nuts, such as the peanut, hazelnut, and macadamia nut, monounsaturated fatty acids predominate, whereas in the walnut and in sunflower seeds polyunsat-urated fatty acids predominate. The exception is the coconut, in which saturated fatty acids constitute the major fat fraction.

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