The humble walnut is a key ingredient in classic dishes such as the walnut cake, types of pesto and the classic waldorf salad. Unless suffering from some kind of nut allergy, it’s likely you’ll have indulged in something walnut-y at some point or another.
But did you know, aside from being a flavorful addition to some of the worlds most enjoyed meals, walnuts pack a nutritional punch that would make even the most ardent of health obsessives take notice.
The benefits of walnuts
Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which, aside from its anti-inflammatory properties, is known to prevent the formation of blood clots. Those who make walnuts a regular part of their diet are 50 per-cent more likely to avoid heart failure.
The high amount of amino acid l-arginine found in the nut also helps with circulation, which, as a side-effect, has libido-enhancing properties in men.
Found in every walnut is a collection of brain-boosting vitamins, minerals, fats and anti-oxidants that can do everything from improve sleep to enhance mood and increase the general health of your brain. Vitamin E, as well as the anti-oxidants and the omega-3 found in walnuts, is believed to reduce oxidative stress experienced by the brain, decreasing the effects of aging felt over time.
While looking slimmer isn’t technically a health benefit, reducing the amount of body fat you have will improve your overall health.
Their high ‘healthy fat’ content, along with their respectable protein levels, makes walnuts the perfect snack for dieters who, on average, report feeling fuller and more satisfied when snacking on them, rather than on other sweet treats.
The Disadvantages of Walnuts
Compared to many other types of food, which have rather alarming general health profiles, walnuts come without much of the controversy that seems to surround eating nowadays.
Avoiding any problems associated with the consuming of walnuts generally involves using your common sense. Nut allergies can be a problem in people, although the walnut isn’t the most common of nuts to be allergic to. Still, if symptoms are displayed after eating a portion, consult your physician and avoid further consumption until further notice.
Levels of omega-3 and 6 need to remain in balance. If you eat a healthy diet, this is likely to be the case for you, so there’s nothing to worry about. However, in order to retain that balance, it’s important not to eat too much of either one, causing it to tip.
A small handful of walnuts is more than enough as a daily portion, however lovers of the food needn’t be too concerned. Indulging every now and again won’t be problematic.
How to Incorporate Walnuts into Your Diet
The great thing about nuts in general is how easy they are to eat. Munching on a few while at work, or in the office, is incredibly convenient. It’s what makes them a valuable and recommended healthy snack.
But if you’re the type of person who would like to incorporate walnuts into a meal, consider the following dishes, that are all healthy and better still, easy to make:
- Walnut Pesto
- Carrot and Walnut Cake
- Walnut Salads
- Pork Casserole with Apples and Walnuts
- Fruit and Walnut Flapjacks
- Mushroom and Walnut Risotto