March is National Nutrition Month, giving you an opportunity to use the month as a jumpstart for a year-long habit of healthier eating (or to revive those New Year’s diet resolutions). One way Americans are improving their diets is with walnuts. A study polling grocery shoppers conducted by Florida-based company Rose Research reports that consumers who are concerned about their health and the food they eat view walnuts as healthy, with nearly three-quarters of them buying walnuts for the omega-3 content and associated health benefits. Here are some omega-3-rich recipes featuring this healthy nut.
Health benefits of walnuts
Walnuts – like many other nuts – are chockfull of healthy fats associated with heart health, reported to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and stroke. Studies show that walnuts can also reduce your risk of depression and obesity.
In addition, walnuts can reduce your risk of cancer and provide anti-inflammatory propertieswhich can help reduce the symptoms or even the chance of getting asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
And if you are looking for an energy-boosting snack for your next workout, walnuts are a perfect health and fitness food, offering a nutritious crunch in every bite.
Walnuts offer stellar nutrition
Walnuts are not only an excellent whole food source for omega-3 fatty acids, they are also a beneficial source of vegetarian protein and packed with antioxidants and other essential nutrients.
A one-ounce serving, about 1/4-cup shelled walnut halves, provides about 180 calories, 18 grams of fat (16 grams being healthy unsaturated fats), 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of carbohydrates, and 4 grams of protein. Walnuts are a good source of copper, iron, potassium and magnesium. They also contain three percent of your recommended daily intake for calcium and are cholesterol-free.
Healthy walnut recipes
Walnuts are easy to incorporate into every meal.
Blueberry Walnut Scones
These hearty scones are a quick breakfast you can take on the go or bake for a leisure weekend breakfast. You can find dried blueberries at natural foods stores or next to the raisins and other dried fruit at most supermarkets. Add a 1/2 cup of cocoa nibs for a chocolaty treat.
1/2 cup oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
3/4 cup dried blueberries
2/3 cup buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine oats, flours, sugar, zest, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add butter and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to rub butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in walnuts and blueberries.
2. Lightly beat buttermilk and egg together. Stir into flour mixture just until evenly combined. Divide dough in half and form each half into a disk. Use a pastry cutter or sharp knife to cut each disk into 6 triangles. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until scones are cooked through. Cool on a wire rack.
Walnut Quinoa Salad
Serves 4 to 6
This is one of those versatile dishes that can be enjoyed any time of day. Enjoy a bowl for breakfast as a change-up from your usual oatmeal, have it for lunch in place of a sandwich, and serve it as a side-dish for your dinner entrée.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons sesame oil (or walnut oil)
1-1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Zest of 1 orange, minced
2 oranges, peeled, diced
1/2 cup dried cherries
3 green onions, thinly sliced (green and white parts)
1 stalk celery, finely sliced
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1/2 cup crumbled feta (optional)
1. Toast quinoa in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until the grains begin to pop. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar and orange zest. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer quinoa to the bowl and toss to coat. Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Adjust seasonings to your liking and serve.
A quick and simple dish featuring tender fish coated with a walnut-rich crunchy bite.
1 cup toasted walnut halves
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon curry powder
6 (5-ounce) tilapia fillets
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1. Combine walnuts, salt, pepper and curry in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a wide shallow dish. Coat tilapia fillets with nut mixture, turning to coat both sides.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. In batches, place fillets in skillet and cook, covered, for 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully turn with a spatula and cook, covered, for 3 to 4 more minutes or until fish is cooked through and just flakes when pressed with the back of a fork.