Every day there are new headlines about this food or that food being bad for you. Don’t eat a cheeseburger or you’ll get heart disease. Alcohol causes cancer. If you drink coffee you’ll get Parkinson’s diseases. So on and so on. I believe it is much healthier to have a balanced approach when it comes to nutrition and I follow the 80/20 rule. Hopefully 80% of the time you will find me making wise food choices and 20% of the time, well, let’s just say, I am enjoying a little indulging!
When researching healthy nutrition habits to incorporate into my diet after cancer treatment, I was so excited and a bit surprised when I learned that walnuts are so good for us.
Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids promote heart health, preventing or controlling high blood pressure, lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Omega-3s may also act as an anti-inflammatory, protect bone health, ease symptoms of depression, and boost cognitive function. During the U.S. 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, it was reported that 70 % of Americans are deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids and 20% of Americans have blood levels of Omega-3 so low they cannot be detected. Omega-3’s are important for everyone, including children as they continue to grow and develop.
Just a quarter cup of walnuts contains over 90% of your daily omega-3 requirements.
In some recent scientific studies, there was research that showed a 50% reduction in breast cancer tumors in mice who had consumed the equivalent of two handfuls of walnuts a day. (http://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/news/20090421/walnuts-fight-breast-cancer) Of course, keep in mind that walnuts are calorie dense, so as with everything, balance and moderation are key to any successful nutrition plan.
I purchase my walnuts in bulk from the local food coop. When I get home, I package them in single size servings, so this instant snack is ready to go when I am.