A Handful of Walnuts Can Help Your Heart


A Rich Plant Source of Omega-3s

      
by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
March 9, 2014

walnuts

Walnuts are an important plant source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

A handful of walnuts a day could make a big difference to the health of your heart. In a new study in the journal Metabolism, German physicians confirm that walnuts can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. By eating just a handful of raw walnuts (43 grams/1.5 ounces) each day for eight weeks, subjects improved their blood lipid profiles, bringing about a significant six percent reduction in heart disease risk.

While this study joins previous research which shows that regularly consuming a small amount of nuts guards the heart and can reduce stroke and some cancer risks, walnuts are a protective food in a class of their own.

The explanation lies in the nut, or more accurately its composition. Each walnut is a nutrient powerhouse with 65 percent fat, 15 percent protein, and 7 percent fibre. The fat consists mostly of polyunsaturated linolenic acid (Omega-6) and alpha-linoleic acid (Omega-3). Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is one of the three types of Omega-3 fatty acids essential for normal metabolism. It is also the precursor in the human body of the other two vital Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, found in greater quantities in oily fish. In other words, walnuts are a valuable plant source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

English walnuts on the tree

English walnuts

In addition to these heart healthy fats and a significant amount of fibre, walnuts contain powerful polyphenols and tannins which provide 15 times the antioxidants of Vitamin E.

The good news from the German and other studies is that to enjoy the benefits of walnuts you only have to eat a small amount each day—perhaps 43 grams (1.5 ounces). Even in our weight conscious world it would be hard to find a healthier 250 calories in your diet.

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