The King of Healthy Fats
By Chelsea Fisher
Walnuts are part of the tree nut family, which includes Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, and pistachios. All tree nuts provide phytochemicals and healthy fats, but walnuts are an especially good source of heart healthy monosaturated fats and Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to a number of health benefits including lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, and protecting against certain types of cancer, particularly breast cancer.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, recent animal studies have found that the consumption of walnuts, what would equate to two ounces a day for humans, appeared to significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer. In fact, the mice that regularly consumed walnuts were half as likely to develop breast cancer than those mice that ate none. One caveat: The study’s researchers point out that the results are likely combination of all the vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats in walnuts that provide the disease-fighting benefits, not just the healthy fats.
Remember that all nuts are high in calories, so it’s important to use nuts to replace other sources of protein in the diet rather than just add them. About a handful of walnut halves will provide all the benefits you need without bolstering your daily intake of calories too much.
Walnuts tend to spoil quickly so buy small amounts at a time and store them in the refrigerator or freezer.
Try walnuts in salads like our Roasted Grape and Walnut Salad, Kim’s Chicken Salad, or our Brussels Sprout Apple Slaw. They’re also great in sweets and snacks like our Walnut Banana Bread, Homemade Granola, or our Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies.