Many years ago in one of my first nutrition classes, one of the students asked what the best kinds of nuts were. The teacher answered with a clever little acronym: “All nuts are great,” she said, “but when in doubt, just think PAWs: pecans, almonds, and walnuts.”
Walnuts, especially, come recommended because they contain the highest amounts of omega-3 fats of any nuts. In addition to the other remarkable things omega-3s do for you—like help lower triglycerides and reduce arterial plaque formation—they also support brain function on a number of levels. One of those levels has to do with mood and feeling. In his excellent book The Omega-3 Connection, Harvard Medical School professor Andrew Stoll, MD, answers his own question, “Can eating more omega-3s really boost our mood?” with the statement: “The answer, based on the available scientific and clinical evidence, seems to be a cautious yes.”
Several studies have demonstrated greater attention, reduction in behavioral problems, and less “ADD-like” behaviors in school kids when they’re given omega-3s. Since it’s hard to get kids to eat fish—let alone carry it to school in a lunchbox—walnuts are a really smart idea for snacking.
Walnuts may also be a tool for weight management. According to experts at Loma Linda University (LLU), eating a few walnuts (say, four to six halves) before meals decreases levels of hunger and may cause people to eat less. “Walnuts help alleviate hunger and are naturally nutrientdense, meaning you consume many essential nutrients for a relatively small percentage of daily calories,” said
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