According to scientists, the health benefits of walnuts exceed all other nuts, and should be included more as part of a healthy diet. A research from the University of Scranton revealed that walnuts contained both quantity and quality of antioxidants, which help stop the chain reactions that damage cells in the body when oxidation occurs. So if you’re going to go nuts – go WALNUTS. Below are just some of the major health benefits of walnuts.
Improve Sleep – Having trouble getting a good night’s sleep? Not to worry. An antioxidant hormone found in walnuts called melatonin can solve your problems. Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced in humans by the pineal gland which helps regulate sleep. Make walnuts an evening snack and get ready to relax and snooze away.
Weight Loss – Due to the high packed omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fiber found in walnuts, eating just a handful will make you feel less hungry. Rather than watching your favorite T.V. night show with a packet of crisps or a bowl of ice-cream, go for a dozen of walnuts to snack away; the health benefits are incomparable.
Heart Health Benefits – By improving blood vessel elasticity and plaque accumulation, walnuts can reduce the risk of heart disease. Walnuts are a prime source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is popular for preventing and treating diseases of the heart and blood vessels by helping to maintain normal heart rhythm and heart pumping. ALA is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and multiple sclerosis (MA).
Diabetes Benefits – Apart from high levels of the minerals manganese and copper, almonds also contain an antioxidant compound called ellagic acid. This antioxidant helps block the metabolic processes which cause inflammation that can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. A study in the U.S. involving 140,000 women that consumed a 28 gram pack of walnuts at least twice a week showed that they were 24% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who very rarely or never ate them.
Boost Brain Power – Walnuts have a very high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids which are excellent for brain health. This is why walnuts are sometimes referred to as “brain food”. Pay close attention to the shape of a cleaned walnut and you will see that it is shaped like a miniature brain; coincidence? I think not!!
Just because walnuts have been labeled as a healthy food, which they are, it does not mean you can help yourself to unlimited amounts. Just like all other healthy “Superfoods”, they only remain healthy when included with moderation in your diet.
Herb and Honey Walnut Crusted Salmon
1 ½ lbs. salmon fillets
Freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil or tarragon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped California walnuts
4 cups baby arugula or spring mix greens
2 tablespoons each: extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 400°F and spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Remove skin from salmon and cut into 4 pieces.
3. Place on baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.
4. Stir together the mustard, honey, herbs and garlic and spread over the top and sides of the salmon.
5. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons walnuts over each fillet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the surface of the salmon flakes easily with a fork.
6. Toss greens with oil and vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.
7. Place on 4 plates and top each with a salmon fillet.
Pear-Walnut Coffee Cake
2 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, divided
1/3 cup fruit-based fat replacement, such as Lighter Bake
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 tablespoon canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 large egg
1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 small ripe but firm pears, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup dried cranberries, or golden raisins
1. Combine 1/4 cup flour, fruit puree, butter and oil in a food processor and process until smooth. Spread in a shallow pan, cover and freeze until firm but not stiff, about 45 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper.
3. Whisk remaining 2 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
4. Cut the chilled fruit-puree mixture into small pieces and work into dry ingredients with your fingers or a pastry blender until crumbly. Measure out 1 cup and mix with walnuts.
5. Whisk egg, yogurt and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth. Stir the egg mixture into remaining dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just moistened.
6. Fold in pears and cranberries (or raisins). Spread the batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the walnut mixture evenly over batter and press gently to help crumbs adhere.
7. Bake the cake until top is golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean 50 to 60 minutes.
8. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove pan sides and cool for 20 minutes more.
9. Serve warm.