So how many of us eat walnuts on a regular basis?  Well if you are aged somewhere around the 40-50 something category (or above) then you might want to reconsider. 

What’s so special about walnuts?

High in beneficial fats: many people think that the fat content of all nuts is scary. However, they are the only nut to contain a significant amount of omega 3 fats,

Antioxidant rich: they also contain some key antioxidant nutrients: ellagic acid and catechin.

What are the health benefits of walnuts?

It is the combination of the beneficial omega 3 fats and the antioxidants contained in walnuts that provides their important healthy ageing benefits: 

Healthy cholesterol levels:  research show that consuming walnuts on a daily basis may help to reduce levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol without increasing body weight.

Brain health: a study looking at the association between walnut consumption and cognitive function amongst adults showed improved cognitive scores amongst those with a small daily consumption of walnuts  (10-13 grams per day).   The study concluded that ‘these significant, positive associations between walnut consumption and cognitive function among all adults, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity suggests that daily walnut intake may be a simple beneficial dietary behaviour

So how can you eat more of them? 

  • 6-8 nuts make a perfect portable snack: fibre rich, high in protein so very satisfying
  • Crush a few up and sprinkle over a salad
  • Make a batch of walnut pesto: add to cooked vegetables, pasta or spiralled vegetables.  Try a Basil and Walnut Pesto or a Roasted Garlic and Walnut Pesto
  • Try using walnut oil instead of olive oil to make a salad dressing or just drizzle the walnut oil over cooked vegetable.
  • Mix crushed walnuts into some plain yoghurt along with some blueberries for a quick breakfast option
  • Make up a banana and walnut porridge
  • Whizz up a batch of red pepper and walnut dip

So walnuts are not just for Christmas – or is it just my family where it is compulsory to have a bowl of walnuts on the Christmas table? So for me it is a bit of a no brainer, keep a packet of walnuts in your fridge and find ways to include them into your daily routine.

(1) Sabaté J, Fraser GE, Burke K, Knutsen SF, Bennett H, Lindsted KD. Effects of walnuts on serum lipid levels and blood pressure in normal men. N Engl J Med. 1993;328(9):603-607.
(2) Arab L, Ang A. A cross sectional study of the association between walnut consumption and cognitive function among adult US populations represented in NHANES.J Nutr Health Aging. 2015 Mar;19(3):284-90.  
(3) Valls-Pedret C, Lamuela-Raventos RM, Medina-Remon A, et al. Polyphenol-rich foods in the Mediterranean diet are associated with better cognitive function in elderly subjects at high cardiovascular risk. J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;29(4)773-782.