Walnuts are a winter wonder. Although available year-round, they are associated with the short, blustery days of December and January, as they are prominent features in hoards of holiday cookie recipes. And while you may not roast them like chestnuts, you toast them with fervor, sprinkling them in salads, chopping them for granola and stirring them into stuffing. Your festive season would not be complete without them. What a relief then to know that they are not only good for your taste buds but good for your body as well.
Walnuts are teeming with health. They are packed to the gills with monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids. One-quarter of a cup can provide you with more than 90 percent of your daily omega-3 intake. As such, they work to protect your heart and immune system, and prevent inflammation. They help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and, as part of a balanced diet, can help manage weight. And now, scientists believe that they may ward off the most debilitating effects of aging. When rats consumed walnuts as two, six or nine percent of their diets, the damage in the brain that causes age-related motor and cognitive deficits reversed. For humans, this could mean a delayed onset of Alzheimer’s, a more active old age and a healthier life.
So add walnuts to your holiday menu and your year-round pantry, mixing them in with everything from decadent baked goods to healthy morning cereal. You’ll find you’ve added a delightful crunch to your meals as well as a much-needed boost to your health.�