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September 2, 2014 • Healthy Eating & Nutrition

The Nut to Always Have on Hand

walnutsAll varieties of nuts are off-the-charts great for you, but walnuts deserve especially enthusiastic praise. In fact, this remarkable nut is so special it is always available in my kitchen. Here are 6 compelling reasons to join me in including walnuts in your diet regularly:

1.Walnuts are one of the few foods and the only nut that provide a large dose of plant-based omega-3 fats.

2. Walnuts are uniquely high in a special form of vitamin E, gamma-tocopherol, revered for its heart health prowess.

3. All nuts provide robust, disease-protective anti-inflammatory power, but walnuts come out on top.

4. As nuts go, walnuts are home to the highest quality and highest concentrations of beneficial plant antioxidants, including some exceedingly rare and highly prized ones like juglone. Walnut’s supply of juglone is thought to explain the connection between walnut consumption and a lower risk of prostate and breast cancer.

5. Because of their highly unique “heart-healthy” and “brain-healthy” profile of nutrients (think lots of omega-3 fats, vitamin E, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, etc.), walnuts offer exceptional cardiovascular protection and brain-boosting power. I like to think of them as cardiac “miracle pills”. And of course there is a reason why they look like miniature brains!

6. Walnuts have also been linked to protection from type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, dementia, macular degeneration, and even stress.
Enjoy them raw or roasted. Throw some into your morning oatmeal, cereal or yogurt. Add them to your salad, rice, chicken, and quinoa dishes. Or enjoy a handful as your mid-afternoon snack. For the best value, buy them in bulk from the produce section of the grocer or from a wholesale grocer like Costco. Store them in the freezer or refrigerator to preserve their nutritional quality. And most importantly, eat more walnuts!