Walnuts—these crinkly little nuts are perfect for snacking, as a topping for baked goods, and for adding the perfect crunch to that salad. Many people love walnuts because of its instantly recognizable appearance that stands out in dishes, its versatility, its light yet distinct flavor and its crumbly yet crunchy texture. Sure, you’re thanking the universe for creating a nut so delectable to the palate, but did you know that its health benefits will give you so much more reason to love this nut?
Walnuts are rich in many nutrients which makes it an ideal plant food. Vegetarians especially can benefit from eating walnuts since it is one of the plant foods with the highest concentrations of protein, which vegetarians need as a substitute for proteins coming from meat. It is also rich in fiber, which our bodies need for good digestion, healthy gastrointestinal system and soluble fiber can lower bad cholesterol levels and promote better blood glucose levels. Walnuts are also rich in magnesium and B vitamins. Probably the most pronounced benefit of the walnut is that it contains high amounts of antioxidants particularly vitamin E and Omega 3. These antioxidants work to protect the cells and rid the body of free radicals that can cause cell damage and aging. In fact compared to other nuts, walnuts contain significantly higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids as well as alpha linoleic acids which lower the levels of bad cholesterols in the body.
Walnuts have been studied for a long time for its potential health benefits. It has actually been proven after more than a decade of exhaustive scientific research that regular consumption of walnuts can have a beneficial effect on the elasticity of the blood vessels and in preventing plaque formation which can cause a number of complications including hypertension. That being said, walnuts can actually help decrease the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular conditions when made part of your daily diet.
The following health claim has been approved by the FDA in 2004: "Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 oz of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease."
The FDA officially recognized in 2003 that nuts do play a role in lowering the risk of contracting heart disease. 7 nuts in particular were named because these nuts are the kinds that only contain less than 4 grams of saturated fats for every 50 grams in weight. These nuts are almond, hazelnuts, pecans, peanuts, some varieties of pine nuts, pistachios and of course, walnuts. There are many ways to incorporate walnuts into your diet, but of course since fats are generally high in fat they are best taken in smaller portions. For walnuts, the recommended daily consumption is at roughly about 20 nuts a day.