Diet & Nutrition

Walnut, a wonderful a nut

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Did you know a regular intake of walnuts has been associated with many positive health benefits including a reduction in LDL or "bad" cholesterol, reduced risk of coronary heart disease, protection against cancer and even help in the control of high blood pressure. In addition, walnuts may even have anti-inflammatory properties which could help to reduce the effects of arthritis.

When compared to other nuts, walnuts contain significantly higher amounts of a heart healthy fat, omega-3. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid which can be sourced only from certain foods. This is important as your body cannot make omega-3 and therefore it is essential that these food sources are included in your diet.

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids, which have been proven to reduce both cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels. In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts also contain many other beneficial nutrients including magnesium, dietary fibre and vitamin E.

Interestingly, in medieval times it was believed that walnuts had properties that could be used to cure head ailments, increase intellectual ability and have calming effects. This was due to the walnut's close resemblance to the human brain.

It has been shown that this was not such a strange notion as today the walnut is considered a great brain food. Why not try having a handful before an exam or important meeting?

Eating a small handful of walnuts a day can be enough to reap their health benefits. Walnuts are great to eat as a snack but can also be added to almost any dish. They add texture and flavour to salads, pastas and even desserts such as muffins, fruit crumbles and cakes and are delicious crushed and sprinkled onto ice cream.

For an interesting twist try toasting them and using them to dress up your family's favourite dish!

Your say: How do you include walnuts into your diet? Have you experienced any of the positive health benefits from consuming walnuts regularly?

This information is provided by the Sanitarium Nutrition Service.

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