Omega-3s…something we hear a lot about that we should consume more of, but why?
Long ago the human species evolved on a diet high in omega-3 rich foods like wild salmon, game meat and different nuts and seeds. This is part of the reason (a large part) why the diseases of our time were basically non-existent during those times. Now a day’s we are consuming approximately 15 to 25 percent more omega-6 than omega-3, compared to when our ancestors consumed a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio. A lot of the omega-6 we consume now mainly comes from vegetable oils, these can be highly processed and rancid which can lead to the formation of free radicals in the body causing inflammation and disease.
So how can we incorporate more omega-3 into our diets?
There are many great foods for this, some mentioned above ( wild salmon, wild game meat, etc) but there is one that sticks out in my mind when it comes to getting in more omega-3’s and an all around “superfood” with no preparation needed.
Eating walnuts (along with a balanced diet) can have a very positive impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Walnuts are not only a great source of omega-3’s, they also contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Walnuts are beneficial to brain health (have you ever noticed they kind of look like a human brain too?) - with mood boosting and cognitive benefits, heart health - improving circulation and has actually been found to reduce the formation arterial build up, they also help with controlling inflammation in within the body and are a great addition to your diet to help with balancing blood sugar (no more afternoon crash!). They are a known to be a calorie dense food, meaning its higher in calories for a smaller serving but you are consuming many essential vitamins, minerals and fats when eating it.
1/4 cup of walnuts (or 1 ounce , approximately 14 halves) eaten between meals or at the same time as a meal can help improve balancing blood sugar. Doing this can also help with overeating at meals or later in the day. Walnuts increase satiety and they are a great food to help curb cravings you may get for sugar or refined carbohydrates.
One last benefit about walnuts aside from the fact that they are a great source of omega-3’s I want to highlight is that, within this small serving of walnuts (mentioned above) you receive approximately 48% of your recommended daily adequate intake of manganese. This essential nutrient is involved in bone development, helps balance calcium levels and also when combined with other minerals such as calcium, zinc and copper - can help reduce bone loss. Combined with other supplements that help the joints (such as glucosamine) manganese can help reduce join inflammation in people with arthritis.
Some tips how to add these nutrient filled nuts into your daily life:
Always aim to buy raw and/or organic, unsalted nuts
Store them in an airtight container in the fridge, the oils in nuts when exposed to air can oxidize and become rancid
Eat them in between meals or with meals (as mentioned above)
… and last but not least a little bit more “fun” way to enjoy them…
Walnuts pair great with dark chocolate! I shoot for at least an 80% coco (organic) chocolate, this will up the level of antioxidants and make it more of a treat for you to enjoy!