5 Reasons I Love Walnuts!
As a functional medicine doctor and nutritionist, I always strive to use food as medicine. Walnuts are a wonderful food packed with so many necessary nutrients that keep us healthy and prevent disease. Here are the 5 reasons I love walnuts!
1. Walnuts are full of healthy fat. Walnuts are high in monounsaturated fats and are a good source of omega 3 fats. Monounsaturated fats help decrease your risk of heart disease, stroke, and improve good cholesterol. Omega 3 fats are another good fat that most Americans do not get enough of. Omega 3 fats help decrease inflammation in the body and a diet rich in these healthy fats has been associated with a lower risk of many diseases including heart disease and dementia.
2. Walnuts can decrease food cravings. Nuts are calorie dense, so some people worry that nuts will cause weight gain. Actually, studies have shown that people who consume nuts regularly weigh less than people who rarely consume nuts. This is because the healthy fat and fiber in the nuts help us feel satisfied when we eat them and therefore suppress hunger, unlike processed and sugar-rich foods. Adding nuts to a meal makes you stay full longer.
3. Walnuts are full of fiber. Fiber is your friend! High fiber foods slow the digestion of your food, stalling the absorption of your food and therefore the resulting insulin spike. We don’t want insulin to spike too high after a meal. A high level of insulin is associated with weight gain, diabetes and inflammation in the body. Eating foods high in fiber helps to prevent this insulin spike. Fiber also feeds all of the trillions of good bacteria that line our digestive system. These good bacteria are important for our immune system, digestion, and disease prevention. Walnuts are a great way to get fiber into your diet.
4. Walnuts decrease risk of disease. Regular nut consumption is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes and a better cholesterol profile. Because walnuts are full of healthy fats and fiber, they also prevent the insulin spike that has been associated with heart disease, dementia, cancer and diabetes. Walnuts are just as good as medicine!
5. Walnuts are yummy too! Walnuts, along with being full of magnesium, potassium, vitamin E, folate, fiber, and phytonutrients, are delicious! Add some walnuts to your meals. Get the raw, unsalted kind and keep them in your freezer for optimal freshness. I love putting them on my salad or just having them along with my shake in the morning. Here is a nice Roasted Beet Salad with Bacon, Figs and Walnuts from Dr. Mark Hyman for you to enjoy!
To Your Health,