Going Nuts For Walnuts, By Baraa El Sabbagh Dubai Dietician
All You Need To Know About Walnuts
As a dietitian, I’m always recommending walnuts and other nuts and seeds to my clients in Dubai. At the same time, we hear so much about nuts and seeds being high in calories, so people don’t know what a daily healthy portion is anymore. I’ve also noticed over the years in Dubai that people want to know why they should be increasing their nuts and seeds consumption, and that’s my favorite part: spreading awareness.
So I’m going to dive deep into the research on walnuts in specific, because there’s something very special about them that I want to share with you. My favorite part of my research is finding the many ways walnuts can elevate your usual recipes to become more delicious and nutritious.
Next time you’re in the supermarket in Dubai or wherever you may be, make sure to pass by the nuts aisle to get your supply. Turn your meal prep and healthy living around by reading up on walnuts below. I have a recipe for you that you don’t want to miss!
California Walnuts & The Power of 3
Before we get started, my favorite walnut suppliers in Dubai are California Walnuts. I will be joining them to raise more awareness on walnuts at the Beach Canteen from February 26 to March 14, 2020 in a global celebration of California Walnuts and the amazing Power of 3. I would love to meet you there!
The Science Stuff: Why Are Walnuts So Beneficial?
Why are walnuts so beneficial? Because they’re a “good fat” and not part of the trans “bad fats” that we recommend our clients to avoid. According to many sources including the US National Library of Medicine, foods like avocados, nuts, olive oil and salmon are filled with valuable nutrients and are considered healthy, unsaturated fats, which we should include regularly in our meals.
Are Walnuts A Rich Source of Omega-3?
Fish, edamame, kidney beans, flax seeds, and of course, walnuts, are great sources of omega-3. What makes walnuts extra special is they’re the only nuts high in omega-3 called ALA, which makes it an essential fatty acid crucial to healing and developing parts of the body. And since the body can’t produce omega-3 ALA itself, walnuts are one of the best sources to get your needs.
Here’s how walnuts can help out with your health:
- Great for diabetes patients or those with metabolic syndrome as it helps control blood sugar levels
- Walnuts positively impact your gut by increasing bacteria
- Reduces the chances for dementia and age related diseases (it’s brain food)
- Promotes a healthy heart and blood pressure (as certified through the American Heart Association)
- Necessary nourishment for a plant-based diets
- They’re an excellent addition to the Meditteranean diet
- Aids in weight management by substituting saturated fats with a good unsaturated fat
- Provides you with dietary fiber, promotes a healthy bowel function, and keeps you full for longer
- Reduces chances of cancer (according to the Dietary Guidelines of America)
Walnut Portion Control
How much walnuts should you be having per week? When following a healthy diet or a weight loss diet, the calories can add up quickly from nuts and seeds. That’s where portion control comes in! The optimal amount of walnuts is about 3 handfuls per week.
With one handful you are getting:
- 2 grams of fiber
- 4 grams of protein
- 45 grams of magnesium
- 2.5 grams of omega-3 ALA fatty acid
A quarter cup of walnuts contains ± 190 calories, which means if you have a half cup or more, you’re looking at 400 calories just from walnuts. Not super ideal if you’re going over your daily calorie needs, leading to a surplus.
Make sure you’re having the recommended portion, as it will give you the benefits without the extra calories.
Walnut Smoothie Recipe
Let’s say you want to include walnuts in your breakfast, here’s a smoothie recipe you’ll go nuts for.
- 1 cup coconut milk
- Frozen fruit, banana (1 medium)
- 1 scoop chocolate whey protein
- 1 tbsp natural cocoa powder
- Walnuts (of course)
Just blend everything together and enjoy a nice nutty smoothie to keep you full for a good portion of your day.
Turning Walnuts Into A Kitchen Staple
Picture preparing a meal, it’s on the table and ready to be eaten, but something’s missing that you can’t quite put your finger on. Maybe you’re looking for something with a crunch… easy, bring out your walnuts! You can easily add some onto the pasta, salad, or soup you made and voila! It can really add a kick whether it’s a traditional dish you’ve been making for years or a new one you’re trying out. You can literally make any meal using walnuts, from breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and last but not least, dessert!
How To Store Walnuts
Keeping California walnuts cold will maintain their fresh taste. Don't keep them exposed to warm temperatures for long periods of time, as they will go rancid. You'll know you have fresh walnuts if their smell is mildly nutty and their taste is sweet. When walnuts are exposed to heat, the fat within them changes structure, which creates the rancid odors and flavors, meaning it's time to throw them away.
The first thing to do with newly bought walnuts is to store them in the fridge or freezer. If you're going to be eating them soon, keep them in the refrigerator. Keep them in the freezer if you're going to store them for a month or more.
Do You Use Walnuts?
Let me know what recipes you’ve added walnuts to in the comments, it’s my new obsession and I cannot get enough!