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Eat This Today: Walnuts

Posted Nov 17 2009 12:52pm

 

Most foods that are considered a “snack” are unhealthy or high in unnecessary carbohydrates.  Even if you follow the healthy route of yogurt, a nutritional bar or fruit, you are likely still adding excess carbs to the typical American’s carbohydrate rich diet.   Nuts are a good choice of snack food that is low in carbohydrates and still satiating.  Almonds and peanuts tend to get most of the attention in the nut world, leaving the best nut you can eat behind.

Walnuts are likely the most health-supporting nut of all and are highly underrated.  The issue may be because they are higher in fat than most nuts, but the fat is extremely beneficial to your health.  In fact without the fat in walnuts, they wouldn’t make it into an “Eat This Today” and wouldn’t really be healthy for you.  Underneath that hard shell is a super food so powerful that you should keep stock of them at all times.

Why So Good?

Walnuts actually contain the highest amount of omga-3 of any nut.   Walnuts are very nutrient dense in fiber, protein, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese (about half the Daily Value) and magnesium.  They are host to l-arginine, which has been shown to help lower the risk of hypertension.   L-arginine is converted into nitric oxide. This helps allow the blood vessels to relax by keeping the inner walls smooth.

Walnuts are similar to salmon in the fact that they contain a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids.  In fact, a quarter cup of walnuts can net you 90% the daily recommended amount of omega-3’s.  The fatty acids are extremely good for the heart, helping to reduce plaque build up and lower triglycerides.

The human brain consists of mare than 60% structural fat, which is primarily made of omega-3’s.  Consuming high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids helps improve brain function on a number of levels.  Mood is enhanced, making depression and a number of other psychological issues less likely.

The list of health benefits from eating walnuts goes on and on.  A few other benefits are better sleep, lower risk of gallstones, better bone health and weight control.   Walnuts are also high in antioxidant and antioxidant building enzymes, making them a complete super food.  Forge beyond the nutritional facts label that shows you they are high in fat.  The monounsaturated fat in walnuts is the key player in all of the health benefits you will receive.

How To Eat?

A big reason walnuts are under eaten is because the hard to crack shell.  However, already cracked walnuts can be purchased from the store and used in a number of different meals.  A great time to get in your daily walnuts is to throw them in when you are eating a salad.  If you are making cookies, health them up a little by chopping up some walnuts and mixing them in.  Of coarse, they can always be eaten alone for a mid day snack.

Be careful when choosing walnuts, the white-fleshed kind should be chosen instead of ones that show yellow flesh.  If there is a choice, go for black walnut as opposed to the English walnuts because they have more protein.  Try to eat walnuts at least a few times a week to cash in on all of the health benefits available.

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