What’s so super about them?
Walnuts have the highest antioxidant activity of all nuts, which means they provide good protection against cancer. They are brimming with vitamin E, which is excellent for heart health. Studies have shown that eating them can reduce the risk of a heart attack from between 15 and 51 per cent.
Rich in cholesterol-lowering plant serums and omega 3 oils, walnuts have a very high ratio of polyunsaturated to saturated fats. They have similar benefits to oily fish in terms of reducing cholesterol levels, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition last year. Regular consumption can also guard against diabetes.
Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that improves heart health and cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of sudden death from abnormal heart rhythms. They are also a good source of protein and dietary fibre. In the US, packs of walnuts carry an official health endorsement from the Food and Drug Administration.
Do they boost brainpower?
Yes, by warding off depression. The Mental Health Foundation recommends walnuts for their omega 3 oils, powerful mood boosters that increase serotonin levels. They also contain folic acid, which is similarly beneficial, and zinc, which is a brilliant defence against stress.
Will they make me look gorgeous?
Yes, as omega 3 makes skin radiant. If you want instant results, take a quarter of a cup of plain yoghurt and a quarter of a cup of very finely-ground walnuts and mix together for an exfoliating facial scrub.
How many calories?
Pretty high at 180 per ounce. If you add walnuts to your diet, be sure to reduce your intake of less healthy fats.
How much do I need to eat?
Around one ounce, or seven shelled walnuts, five times a week.
How should I eat them?
Sprinkle walnut pieces on cereals or add them to salads. A classic Waldorf salad contains apples, walnuts, celery, mixed salad greens, mayonnaise, lemon juice, a spoonful of sugar and a dash of salt. Walnut oil is also healthy. Add to a stir fry or pasta after cooking, or use it in salad dressings.