Walnuts - Not All Nuts Are Created Equal

I used to have an office overlooking a parking lot bordered by a huge walnut tree. Now and then in autumn I would hear the tell- tale “bangs” of rock-hard walnuts dropping onto the roofs and hoods of the cars of unsuspecting clients who parked in that shady spot. A falling walnut can make a sizable dent in sheet metal, and I suspect might also leave a sizeable dent in your head too if your timing was unfortunate. But, that’s about the only negative thing I can say about walnuts because when it comes to healthy foods, walnuts make my “A-list.”

Health benefits of walnuts

The most unique quality of walnuts, other than their fabulous taste, is that they contain an omega-3 fatty acid similar to the ones you probably associate with fish (or fish oil). All nuts have fat (mostly healthy mono or poly unsaturated fats), as well as fiber, vitamin E, folate, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, and protein. But, walnuts also include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid.

Some of the potential benefits attributed to the omega-3 fatty acids include improving cholesterol profiles, stabilizing heart rhythms, reducing inflammation, regulating endothelial cell function (cells that line blood vessel walls), improving insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes, and enhancing immune response. That is an impressive resume’.

For walnuts in specific, studies have shown a positive impact on reducing cardiovascular disease risks and improving cholesterol levels by incorporating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day into your diet. A one ounce serving (1/4 cup) of walnuts contain 185 kcal and 18 gm of fat, and walnuts are great mixed with cereals or salads. Also, nuts make an especially good snack for people with diabetes because they are a non-carbohydrate food that can satisfy our appetite.

Head out today to get some delicious walnuts for yourself – just watch where you park your car.

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