Walnuts offer a natural way to get omega-3s

Oct 6, 2008 at 9:57 p.m. ET

Walnuts are applauded by health experts as the easiest way to incorporate omega-3 fatty acids into a daily diet since they can conveniently be enjoyed as a snack or included in any meal. They are recognized as a whole food alternative source of omega-3s, an essential nutrient our bodies cannot produce.

Walnut Heart

Walnuts are a whole food source of omega-3s

"Walnuts are an excellent plant source for omega-3 fatty acids, which makes them a good addition to your diet if you are interested in reducing risk of cancer and other chronic diseases," says Jeff Prince, vice president for education at the American Institute for Cancer Research.

Considered an essential food for good health, walnuts are a great alternative omega-3 source if you're a vegetarian or simply don't want to eat fish as frequently as recommended. With less than one ounce (a handful), walnuts provide enough omega-3s to meet the daily recommended intake of 1.6 and 1.1 grams for men and women, respectively, according to the National Academy of Sciences, and 1/4 cup has just 4g carbs, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

In addition, walnuts are protein-rich and have no cholesterol or trans fat. They are also packed with disease-fighting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Try these delectable recipes featuring walnuts:

Roasted Salmon with Walnut Sherry Vinaigrette
Beet, Feta and Walnut Quiche
Herbed Pasta with Toasted Walnuts

Blueberry Walnut Muffins
Lemon Walnut Sour Cream Poundcake