The 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) urge Americans to reduce their sodium intake, replace saturated and trans fats with the "good" fats (poly and monounsaturated fats) and to lower cholesterol consumption. Walnuts just happen to be sodium and cholesterol free and a great source of "good" fat.
In addition to the specific recommendations, the new DGA remind consumers that there are no shortcuts to good nutrition. Portion control and a well-balanced diet that relies heavily on naturally whole foods are emphasized as important tools for maintaining health.
"People need to change the way they eat along with what they eat," states Dr. Brian Wansink who was responsible for overseeing the planning, development, review and promotion of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and author of Mindless Eating. He believes that too often consumers eat more than they need and have imbalanced portions of food because they are not paying attention to external cues. Your hand is one of his favorite portion control measuring devices. "Grabbing a handful of walnuts will give you approximately an ounce – a convenient and ideal portion-controlled snack AND the only nut chock-full of omega-3s,” states Dr. Wansink.
Unique among nuts, walnuts are the only nut that is an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 essential, polyunsaturated fatty acid, required by the human body. In addition to offering "good" fat, walnuts rank high in antioxidants and are a convenient plant-based source of fiber (2 grams) and protein (4 grams). These nutrient dense nuts are also an economical and versatile ingredient that can be used in salads, entrees and other tasty dishes.
As a natural, sodium free whole food, walnuts offer more. Over 15 years of clinical research has started to uncover numerous potential health benefits of walnuts involving heart health, diabetes, cancer, weight management and cognitive behavior.
California Walnut Commission