February is Heart Month both in the US and Canada, and unfortunately, most of us know someone who has had heart disease or stroke. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; one in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke, equal to 2,200 deaths per day. And in Canada, heart disease and stroke take one life every 7 minutes and 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor. Scary stats indeed and so it seems timely to look at some foods that can indeed help fight heart disease.
tells us about -
A small handful of walnuts (1.5 ounces) a day may lower your cholesterol and reduce inflammation in the arteries of the heart. Walnuts are packed with omega-3s, monounsaturated fats, and fiber. The benefits especially come when walnuts replace bad fats, like those in chips and cookies -- and you don't increase your calorie count.
Tip: A handful has nearly 300 calories. Walnut oil has omega–3s, too; use in salad dressings.
shares some interesting facts and trivia about walnuts:
- It would take 1,051,818,240 walnuts laid end to end to circle the equator.
- Walnuts are the oldest tree food known to man, dating back to 7000 B.C. The Romans called walnuts Juglans regia, 'Jupiter’s royal acorn.' Early history indicates that English walnuts came from ancient Persia, where they were reserved for royalty. Thus, the walnut is often known as the 'Persian Walnut'. Walnuts were traded along the Silk Road route between Asia and the Middle East. English merchant marines transported the product for trade to ports around the world and they became known as 'English Walnuts.' England, in fact, never grew walnuts commercially.
- English Walnuts are native to the Middle East and the Black Walnut is a native American species. Walnuts grown in California (two thirds of the world's supply) are English walnuts. Black walnuts are mainly used as rootstock for English walnuts. The walnut was first cultivated in California by the Franciscan Fathers in the late 1700s. The first commercial plantings in California, and modern walnut production, began in 1867.
- Consumers will purchase an estimated 2.7 million pounds of walnuts to enjoy with the 2008 Super Bowl; enough to bury the playing field in over 3 feet of walnuts! (A little outdated, but you get the picture LOL!)
- California produces two-thirds of the world's walnuts.
- Shelled walnuts contain about 4% water content by weight.-
Rich, crunchy walnuts are always delicious, whether sprinkled on top of a waffle at breakfast, added to brownies you've whipped up for an after-lunch treat, or tossed with a crisp green salad for dinner. Walnuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, thought to reduce risk of cancer. They also provide protein, several essential vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants, yet are free of trans fats and cholesterol. Today, they're ranked as America's third most popular tree nut.
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California Cherry and Walnut Salad
Makes 4 servings
1 (10 ounce) bag mixed salad greens
1/4 cup raspberry vinaigrette
1/4 cup walnut pieces
2 tablespoons dried tart cherries
4 ounces goat cheese, sliced
1/4 lb. cooked chicken breast strips
Toss the salad greens, raspberry vinaigrette, walnut pieces, and dried cherries together in a large bowl. Divide the salad into individual salad bowls or plates. Garnish each salad with two slices of goat cheese and a few strips of chicken breast.
Nutritional Info per serving:
Calories - 254
Total Fat - 15.6g
Saturated Fat - 6.9g
Cholesterol - 44mg
Sodium - 401 mg
Potassium - 417 mg
Total Carbohydrates - 13.4g
Dietary Fibre - 2.1g
Sugars - 10.9g
Protein - 16.5g
Vit A - 47%
Vit C - 25%
Calcium - 17%
Iron - 20%
Thiamin - 6%
Niacin - 45%
Vitamin B6 - 13%
Magnesium - 17%
Folate - 52%