Key ingredient: Walnuts

Key ingredient: Walnuts

Nuts often get a bad rap for their high fat content, but when eaten in the right quantities, most nuts pack some powerful health benefits.

Walnuts are no different. Eating a serving of walnuts a day (about 25g) can benefit your health in many ways. Here are a few examples of the health and nutritional benefits of walnuts.

Reduce risk of heart disease. Walnuts are a rich source of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids or ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) that may help in lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol. A diet rich in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids may reduce risk of heart disease and stroke. ALA has been linked to reduced risk of heart disease and heart attack in men.

Fight aging and disease. Walnuts are also a rich source of phytochemicals — such as melatonin, ellagic acid, vitamin E, carotenoids and polyphenolic compounds — known to be effective against cancer, aging, inflammation and neurological diseases. 

Daily dose of essential minerals and nutrients. Walnuts are packed with complex B vitamins and folates, as well minerals including manganese, copper, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.

Have you been missing out on the health benefits of this powerful little nut? Here are some suggestions to help you get more walnuts in your diet.

  • Rather than having cereal for breakfast, eat a handful of crushed walnuts mixed into yogurt.
  • Sprinkle them on low-fat ice cream.
  • Top sautéed veggies with a handful of walnuts. Try this recipe for blue cheese walnut green beans, which makes a great meal when paired with grilled steak or chicken.
  • For added crunch, stir them into cooked rice or chicken salad.
  • Top your salad with walnuts rather than croutons. This orange walnut salad with chicken is the perfect light, bright fare for a summer lunch.
  • Mix ¼ cup in a food processor until smooth and stir them into your morning smoothie.
  • Enjoy them as a snack while watching TV, rather than eating junk food like potato chips.
  • Make your own healthy trail mix by combining walnuts with dried fruit.
  • For a sweet treat, try this recipe for candied walnuts. These are delicious on their own or on top of your favorite dessert.

To get the freshest walnuts, buy the kind that come in their shells. Look for shells that feel heavy. If stored in a cool, dry place, walnuts (in or out of the shell) will keep for up to six months.

Check out other key ingredients for inspiration on new foods to add to your diet. If you'd like more information on building a healthy eating plan that's right for you, consult the expert dietitians at Goshen Health Nutrition Therapy.  

Posted: 6/27/2016 by Goshen Health
Filed under: healthy eating, nutrition

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