I’m a big nut lover (keep it clean, people). In all seriousness, I love nuts: They have a wonderful taste that makes most dishes robust and flavorful. Nuts, in general, are wonderful for your health. And, if you are a vegetarian, are a great source of protein. This season, enjoy the powerful little nugget, as they offer tons of benefits:
- Omega-3 Dense: Although walnuts are also high in Omega-6s, one serving provides almost 91% of your daily value for Omega-3 essential fatty acids. This is important because our body can’t manufacture essential fatty acids on their own. Omega-3s are known to protect our heart, promote cognitive function and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Immune Booster: Due to its containing ellagic acid, an antioxidant, walnuts are wonderful in supporting the immune system.
- Decreases Cholesterol Levels: Due to their high content of monounsaturated fats, walnuts may be helpful in reducing cholesterol and as a result, can potentially reduce risk for cardiovascular disease.
- Supports Healthy Sleep: Walnuts contain melatonin in bio-available form, which is helpful in promoting a good night sleep.
- Increased Bone Health: Omega-3s help to prevent excessive bone loss, while the protein in the walnuts help to build muscle. Those with more muscle tend to have stronger bones than those who don’t.
- Weight Management: Studies have shown that those who eat nuts at least twice a week are less likely to gain weight than those who never or almost never do.
Ways to Enjoy Your Walnuts:
Remember that walnuts are still high in fat, so you don’t need to eat a lot to get the benefits. A recommended serving size is 1/4 cup. Walnuts are great in a variety of ways, try these to get in your daily dose.
- Oatmeal: Round out a bowl of oatmeal with one-quarter cup of walnuts, some fruit and a dusting of sucanat for a delicious start to your day.
- Salads: Salads can be a meal if you dress it right. Mix spinach, 2 oz. grilled chicken, red onion, fat-free feta, 1/8 cup of walnuts, 1/8 cup of raisins, and balsamic vinegar and olive oil for a tasty and filling salad.
- Chicken Salad: Take a grilled chicken breast and dice it up. Mix with a tablespoon of fat-free plain greek yogurt, 1/4 cup of apples (diced) and 1/8 cup of chopped walnuts. Salt and pepper to taste for a yummy chicken salad.
- Mid-Day Snack: Pair an apple with one-quarter cup of walnuts.
- Dessert: Bake an apple pie with walnuts in the filling; or add to your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Do you have any favorite ways to enjoy walnuts?