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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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I love nuts. One of my favorites is walnuts. Even though I don't usually eat walnuts plain as a snack, I love them in cereal, oatmeal, salads, casseroles, and lots of other dishes. They add a nice flavor to so many things it is hard not to love them. And when you hear about how incredibly healthy they are, they will be simply irresistible!

Of all the nuts, walnuts are the highest in antioxidant activity. They actually contain melatonin, which many of us know as a sleep aid. But melatonin is a powerful antioxidant and its presence in walnuts is what boosts the nutritional impact of the walnut. Melatonin may reduce risk of cancer and delay diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. They also contain ellagic acid and gamma-tocopherol (don't worry about these big words, just know they are good antioxidants).

The other big plus for walnuts is the high level of omega-3 fatty acids. They contain ALA, which is different than the omega-3 in fish, but still a good fat that may help reduce inflammation and reduce heart disease risk. Some studies shows promise for walnuts in helping blood sugar control for people with diabetes.

The facts:
1 oz = 14 halves
185 calories
4 g carb
2 g fiber
19 g fat
4 g protein

Even though walnuts are high in fat and calories, research shows that substituting walnuts in the diet for other fats do not produce weight gain. Because nuts contain fiber, fat, and protein, they are very satiating and keep you full.

Check out this recipe for Orange Apricot Chicken Salad with Walnuts and Gorgonzola Topping

For more tasty walnut recipes or information on walnuts, check out www.walnuts.org

Photo of walnut courtesy of loan sameli
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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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