The walnut, delicious life insurance for the heart

The walnut is the healthiest nut, thanks to the balanced composition of its fats, which reduce cholesterol and are good for the heart. In addition, it provides valuable nutrients. Discover its flavor in delicious recipes.

The walnut has a well-deserved prestige that continues to grow. Almost all people interested in taking care of their health through food already know that five nuts a day are life insurance for the heart.

Fats in balance

It is one of the nuts with the most fat – 62% of its weight – but with proportions of fatty acids that make it very healthy. While in other nuts the proportion of omega-6 is much higher than that of omega-3 (40 to 1 in almonds, for example), which can promote inflammation if the disproportion is not corrected through other foods. In walnuts the proportion is 5 to 1, much more balanced.

Only 9% is saturated fat, 14% is the beneficial monounsaturated fat and 77% is polyunsaturated, of which 13% is from the omega-3 family. This is part of the secret of the most studied property of walnuts: their protective effect against cardiovascular diseases.

Insurance for the heart

Just 25 g of walnuts satisfy 91% of the daily needs for omega-3 fatty acids. These improve the relationship between good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL), and prevent erratic heart rhythms and, therefore, the formation of blood clots in the arteries, which is the first cause of heart attack.

Its benefits are so obvious that in the United States the Food and Drug Administration, the agency in charge of regulating food and medications in the country, recommends the consumption of 40 g of walnuts daily as part of a diet low in saturated fats aimed at reducing the incidence of cardiovascular diseases.

Who is it suitable for?

Walnuts are suitable for everyone but are especially recommended for people with cardiovascular conditions or risk of suffering from them (with high cholesterol or hypertension). If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, which is related to diet, the positive effects on cholesterol levels are more pronounced.

Due to their anti-inflammatory effect, walnuts help in cases of asthma, arthritis or skin diseases such as psoriasis.

For vegetarians who avoid fish, they constitute a valuable alternative source of omega-3.

The antioxidant substances in the walnut delay or reduce the severity of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's.

Its ellagic acid promotes the elimination of carcinogenic substances and helps block metabolic pathways that lead to the development of tumor cells.

It seems that a few walnuts in the salad are enough to prevent the appearance of gallstones.

They produce a satiating effect and it is advisable to include them in weight loss regimens that reduce total fat by avoiding foods rich in saturated fats: it must be remembered that the fat in walnuts does not make you fat in itself, what matters is the diet as a whole. .

Mediterranean recipes with walnut

Walnuts are very versatile in the kitchen: they can be added to salads and very diverse dishes (whole, chopped or chopped), they are also used to make sauces, and baking reserves them a place of honor for the preparation of biscuits, cakes, ice cream and other desserts.
They combine well with chocolate and miel but also with rice, blue cheeses, apples or pasta

The best time to purchase fresh walnuts is at the beginning of November, when the harvest is harvested in Spain.

To assess the quality of the nut, it is advisable to look at its flavor, which should never be bitter.

A recommendation: if walnuts are eaten raw, it is recommended to chew them well and carefully. In the case of children and the elderly, it is even preferable that they eat them crushed and served as porridge.

M. Núñez and C. Navarro (health)
Iker Larre (kitchen)