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Wonderful Walnuts

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Walnuts are a superfoodWalnuts provide more than a nutty flavor. They are jam packed with heart-healthy fats which can help young hearts stay strong and may also reduce total and LDL cholesterol. That’s good new for parents and kids because it lowers the risk of heart disease. These super-nuts are also loaded with powerful antioxidants, which protect against cancer and diseases that occur with age.  New research suggests that the antioxidants in walnuts may slow the progression of dementia and aging among adults with neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s. So grandparents join in on the benefits and munch on walnuts with your grandkids.

And can you believe that all it takes is a small handful each day to reap these benefits? That’s only 7 walnut halves, or 1 ounce of nuts.

Walnuts are extremely tasty and versatile. Buy them in the shell and get crackin or go pre-shelled to save time. If you buy in bulk for added cost savings, store them an air tight container in the fridge, as the healthy fat in the nuts will go bad if left out too long. The best way to buy them is raw, without any added salt or sugar. Depending on where you live, you may even find them in a local farmers market.

Here are some fun ways to get a little nutty with walnuts:

  • Sprinkle a few chopped walnut halves on oatmeal or in 100% whole grain pancake batter for a bit of added protein and heart healthy fat at breakfast
  • Grab some walnuts and add them to a salad for great flavor and added crunch
  • Nibble on a small handful of raw walnuts as a snack between meals
  • Add walnuts to baked goods like banana walnut bread
  • Mix in with yogurt, fresh berries and cinnamon.
  • Add to salads with avocado, dried cranberries and chopped apple
  • Crush them for a nut topping on top of fish
  • Try these delicious Gluten Free Banana Walnut Oat Waffles

One word of advice: Like all nuts, walnuts are calorie dense (up to 190 calories per quarter cup which is 2 ounces or 14 halves), so be sure to enjoy them in moderation!

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About the Author

Dr. Rachel Blaine, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and nutrition professor at California State University, Long Beach whose research focuses on child feeding etc. She received her doctorate at the Harvard School of Public Health. She has years of experience supervising community health programs, freelance writing, conducting research, and developing nutrition educational materials and curricula. When she’s not working, Rachel loves experimenting in the kitchen with her family, and being active in her church and community.

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