Walnuts for healthy heart

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A recent scientific review published in Advances of Nutrition also suggests that food sources high in plant-based omega-3 ALA, such as walnuts, should be part of a heart-healthy eating pattern…writes N. LOTHUNGBENI HUMTSOE

In 2016, according to the WHO, India reported 63 per cent of total deaths due to non-communicable diseases, and 27 per cent were attributed to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Of those, heart attack and stroke are two of the most common causes of death in our country. Now those are pretty scary numbers, and they are only growing by the year.

Blame it on our family’s medical history or the fast-paced lifestyle that’s leading to complaints of high cholesterol, but you and I, too, are at the risk of developing heart disease. Fortunately, several factors help us lower our risk of CVD and take the high road to a healthy heart. In anticipation of World Heart Day, let’s deep dive into how you can lower the risks with Ryan Fernando, Celebrity Nutritionist and Founder of QUA Nutrition — Signature Nutrition Clinic

Q: How do walnuts help your heart health?


A: According to research, an important move is to consume a handful of California walnuts as part of a healthy, nutritious diet and couple it with physical activity. This may help lower your risk of heart disease and hence, deserves a spot on your plate. The polyunsaturated fats, aka good fats, and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) in these wonder nuts may improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure, which are two major contributors to heart disease risk.

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1,2. In addition, these nutrient powerhouses are known to help reduce inflammation and improve blood vessel function.

3. A recent scientific review published in Advances of Nutrition also suggests that food sources high in plant-based omega-3 ALA, such as walnuts, should be part of a heart-healthy eating pattern.

4. Not convinced yet? The American Heart Association (AHA) has found that including four or more servings of nuts, including walnuts every week and other foods, may help lower one’s risk of heart disease. And that’s not it, AHA has also certified walnuts as a heart-healthy food through its ‘Heart Check Mark’ programme.

Q: What is the ideal portion of walnuts one should consume?


A: A handful of walnuts, which is nearly 28 g, is advisable for daily consumption. This amount contains 2.5g of essential plant-based omega-3, 4g protein, and 2g fibre, all essential for overall wellness.

Q: What is the best time of the day to eat walnuts?

A: While walnuts can be eaten throughout the year, at any time of the day, I believe the best time to eat them is in the evenings. These contain PICO melatonin, which goes into your brain and increases serotonin levels, eventually promoting sleep.

Q: Five simple ways to include walnuts in your daily diet

A:

* Make snack time healthy with a handful of plain California walnuts, or you can amp up the flavour by sprinkling your favourite spice mix over them

* Mix coarsely grounded walnuts with a portion of hung curd and turn it into a delicious creamy dip

* You can also grind walnuts and add them to your curries, which are a good source of plant-based omega-3

* Poha, upma, or kachumbar, walnuts add a perfect crunch for any time snacks

* Walnuts are the perfect accompaniment for a low-calorie diet, and another great idea to consume is by blending them into your morning smoothie

We all deserve to choose what’s best for us. And for making such decisions, you need the right information. Now that you’ve read about the health benefits of walnuts, it’s time to go nuts about these nuts!

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