Walnuts are not only good for cooking - they are healthy nuts that can also help your heart.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recognizing the cholesterol-lowering properties of walnuts, accepted a petition filed by the California Walnut Commission in March 2004 to list the health claim that walnuts can aid in reducing cholesterol levels on product labels.
The discovery of the benefits of walnuts come from many clinical studies performed by various research institutions all over the world.
The results show consuming walnuts is beneficial in lowering cholesterol levels.
Walnuts are also noted for reducing the risk of heart disease and inflammation.
Walnuts demonstrate heart-healthy benefits due to the presence of high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and phytosterols.
Omega-3-fatty acids reduce triglycerides levels and slightly reduce LDL levels (low-density lipoproteins, also know as the bad cholesterol). In fact, walnuts contain the highest amount of omega-3-fatty acids in 1 ounce of nuts (i.e. one handful) in comparison to other nuts (2.5 g of omega-3-fatty acids versus less than 0.5 g found in other nuts).
Phytosterols appear to slightly lower LDL cholesterol levels, however, the mechanism by which it does this is not entirely known.
In addition to heart-healthy ingredients, walnuts also contain a wealth of other nutrients, including vitamin E, the B vitamins, fiber, and several minerals.
Many studies on walnuts suggest that you only need to consume a handful of walnuts each day to receive the cholesterol-lowering benefits of these tree nuts.
The FDA agrees with this health claim, which will be on every bag of walnuts you purchase and will state the following: "supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 oz of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
See nutrition information for fat [and calorie] content."