Out of all the nuts mother earth has to offer us, walnuts are definitely at the top of my list of favourites. Did you guys know walnuts are an exceptionally nutritious nut? They have higher antioxidant activity and significantly healthier omega-3 fats than any other common nut out there. This rich nutrient profile contributes to the many health benefits associated with walnuts, such as reduced inflammation and improved risk of heart disease.

Walnuts originated in the Mediterranean region and Central Asia and have been part of the human diet for thousands of years.  Most often eaten on their own as a snack yet it may be very useful to know walnuts can also be used as a fantastic meat replacement in many vegan and vegetarian dishes.

Here are my top 10 ways to use walnuts in your day to day cooking

  1. Sprinkled on leafy green or fruit salads.
  2. Finely ground in dips, pesto’s and sauces.
  3. Chopped and used in whole-grain breads and scones.
  4. Crushed to use as a gluten free coating on tofu or seitan.
  5. Served on top of porridge or yogurt.
  6. Chopped and added to wraps or pita sandwiches.
  7. Roasted and added to a homemade trail mix.
  8. Lightly browned in your favourite stir-fry recipe.
  9. Roasted, chopped and used on pasta or vegetables.
  10. As an oil in a vinaigrette dressing.

There are a few edible walnut species. The most common walnut sometimes referred to as the English or Persian walnut which is grown worldwide.

Walnuts are high in heart-healthy unsaturated fats that make them great for weight loss. 

Wooooowho !! Walnuts are also known for their amazing appetite-control power, thanks to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids, plant-sterols and vitamins that help suppress hunger, further helping in weight loss.

In a well-controlled study in 10 obese people, drinking a smoothie made with about 1.75 ounces (48 grams) of walnuts once a day for five days decreased appetite and hunger, compared to a placebo drink equal in calories and nutrients.  More info: Walnut Consumption Increases Activation… 

Additionally, after five days of consuming the walnut smoothies, brain scans showed that the participants had increased activation in a region of the brain that helped them resist highly tempting food cues, such as cake and French fries.

Like other nuts, most of the calories in walnuts come from fat. This makes them an energy-dense, high-calorie food. However, even though walnuts are rich in fat and calories, studies indicate that they don’t increase obesity risk when replacing other foods such as highly processed foods in your diet. Swapping out your high fat, empty calorie foods for high fat, nutrient dense foods you will find the calories may stay the same yet the nutrition benefits will be significantly increased. Therefore being highly beneficial for overall health and wellbeing not to mention the waistline.

Walnuts are also richer than most other nuts in polyunsaturated fats.

The most abundant one is an omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid. They also known as the only nut to contain a high percentage of the healthy omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).  ALA is considered especially beneficial for heart and brain health. It also helps reduce inflammation and improve the composition of blood fats. What’s more, ALA is a precursor for the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have been linked to numerous health benefits. Especially within vegan and vegetarian diets.

Walnuts are an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals. These include copper, folic acid, phosphorus, vitamin B6, manganese, and vitamin E.

What’s more, regularly eating walnuts may improve brain health and reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. As shown earlier with my top 10 ways to eat walnuts they are easily incorporated into your diet, as they can be eaten on their own or added to many different foods.

Simply put guys, eating walnuts may be one of the best things you can do to improve your health. So pop a bag in your trolley next time you’re out food shopping.