You can find the most interesting pages on Facebook, don’t you think? Just playing around with links to friends’ interests I stumbled upon the page, “WALNUTS LOOK LIKE BRAINS.” It turns out the site isn’t devoted to the love of walnuts, but it did get me thinking. Did you know that the Romans and the Ancient Chinese thought that since walnuts looked like a brain (who hasn’t thought that?) they must be GOOD for the brain! Well, their rationale might have been faulty, but they were certainly correct about the dietary brain boosting benefits of walnuts. Just this past week I discovered a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition concluding that walnuts contribute to improved cognitive function. Although much more research is needed to understand studies linking diet to the fine points of overall health, we do know that our bodies function better with good nutrition, so I am suggesting that eating a small handful of walnuts every day is a good idea.
One book I keep handy is Dr. Stephen Pratt’s book, SuperFoods RX and I try to ensure that the food items he promotes for their various health benefits are constant staples in our home. It’s not unusual for me to emphasize three or four on the list and forget some of the others–but now that it’s fall, walnuts have hit the top of the list and it doesn’t get much better for brain food than raw, unsalted walnuts!
Walnuts are also linked to helping control cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation. There is even a study providing evidence that adding a few walnuts to the Mediterranean Diet strengthens the positive correlation in overall metabolism and resorption status–contributing to good bone health and significant reductions in fasting insulin levels in adults with non-insulin treated diabetes. Sounds good to me!
Worried about calories? Good news! The calories in a small number of walnuts, (and the benefits are derived in eating only seven!) add up to more dietary efficiency than a bag of chips and are more cost efficient than any of the individually packaged snacks! And seven satisfying walnuts (have more if you’re not calorie conscious) add only 184 extremely beneficial calories to your daily intake, fewer calories than that bag of chips! So throw a few in with your lunch or a mid-afternoon snack and see what you discover for yourself.
Walnut oil is another delightful option. In Medieval France this delicate, light-colored specialty was often used as currency. And when was the last time you even thought of it? You might try drizzling walnut oil over baked acorn squash, whisking it lightly into fresh salad dressing, and it’s delightful added to beluga lentils. Yum! Walnut oil adds a nice finish to roasted root vegetables, too. Sounds like fall, doesn’t it? Walnut oil is best unheated, but with its many uses, strike up your culinary imagination!
And if good sleep is a problem for you, walnuts also seem to triple melatonin levels in the body. Maybe a pre-bedtime snack of walnuts will do you more good than that last “good-night” cookie?
I’d love to know how you use walnuts or walnut oil. What is your culinary style? Let me hear from you!
Here’s to well-being! …Debra
- Goats cheese and walnut salad (frenchsecrets.wordpress.com)
- SUPER FOODS – A Wealth of Health Found in Walnuts (juanfilpo.com)
- WHFoods: Walnuts.
- Walnut Oil: A Healthy Sub for Flax Oil — The Healthy Home Economist.