Walnuts for Wellness

At this time of the year, I begin to feel slightly nutty. There are presents to be bought, Christmas cards to write, and my social calendar is fully booked. Ironically, I thrive in this form of insanity. I love the crazy hustle and bustle and the pleasure of reuniting with friends and family that I haven’t seen in months.

However, as the amount of events increase the time I have to eat and make something healthy decreases. There are moments where I am able to consume a healthy balanced diet, but more often than not I’m running out the door and looking for some quick energy boosters. In the past, this meant a lot of bagels and muffins. These foods were quick and easily accessible, and so were often my food of choice on the run. In the last two months, I have begun to add more nuts to my diet and I wonder why I waited so long.

Nuts for Weight Loss

Nuts have been given a bad rap. There were seen as healthy foods but high in calories and full of fat, so they became a dieting don’t. However, recent research has found that not only are nuts nutritionally beneficial they can actually help you lose weight. The high source of fibre in nuts provide you with a sense of fullness. The satiety that nuts provide will prevent you from eating additional calories resulting in a weight loss.

Walnuts Work for your Heart

One of the most nutritionally balanced nuts is walnuts. The Detroit News recently reported that walnuts not only help with weight loss, but may reduce heart disease and the chance of diabetes. These nuts have the highest levels of plant based omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants. They even have more phenol, an antioxidant, than a glass of red wine. Eating these highly enriched nuts not only adds protein to your diet but may reduce the inflammation in heart arteries and the level of artery clogging substances. Now if that isn’t a reason to add in a handful.

A Website to Worship Walnuts

Mollie Katzan has dedicated an entire website to the virtues of walnuts: www.walnuts.org. This site provides some excellent tips, recipes and reasons on how to easily add walnuts to any recipe. To reap all the possible benefits from these heart healthy nuts, choose raw nuts over prepackaged. The prepackaged varieties often have added salt or oil that can take away from the walnut’s overall health benefits.

Quick Tips to add Walnuts to your Diet

  • Add walnuts to a casserole, pasta dish, stirfry or cereal.
  • Mash walnuts into small pieces and add them to tacos or hamburger.
  • Use walnuts instead of pine nuts to make pesto sauce.
  • Substitute walnuts for breadcrumbs for your favourite casserole to form an antioxidant enriched crust.

Walnuts and nuts in general are one of the easiest foods to add into your daily diet. One my favourite walnut combinations is for a warm winter salad. I combine a nice gorgonzola or stilton cheese, with spinach and warmed pears. If you’re not a fan of gorgonzola, brie or camembert makes a nice substitute. Take some time over this holiday season and review where you can add in this super food into your daily diet. Your heart and your health will thank you.

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