When it comes to foodie trends, we've seen a number of fads come and go. In more recent years, kale sauntered its way across the culinary stage, lauded for its countless nutritional benefits. Then avocados took center stage, with their creamy, delicious flavor and boost of healthy fats.
But could it be that a new food is sauntering into the limelight? According to a multitude of research, both old and new, walnuts might just be the next nutritional superfood.
While most nutritional experts extol the benefits of fruits and veggies — encouraging us to eat up to two servings of fruit and 2.5 cups of veg per day — new research from the University of California at Davis suggests that we shouldn't forget to go nuts every now and again. Namely, researchers are now singing the praises of the nutrient-rich walnut as part of a heart-healthy diet.
Not only do walnuts help to keep both cholesterol levels low, but they help to lower insulin levels, effectively keeping both heart diseases and diabetes at bay and serve as a viable food for weight loss and control.
But the health benefits of walnuts are hardly breaking news. The great Hippocrates and Avicenna wrote of the walnut's magical qualities in the treatment of a multitude of diseases. The ancients also believed that they stimulate mental activity.
So walnuts can make you hot, healthy, and smart? Sign me up! And unlike kale, our star of yesteryear, kids will have no qualms about scarfing down walnuts, regardless of how you present them. Because let's be honest, whoever said that kale "chips" were comparable to the real thing has never met a seven year-old.
And for those who love to get creative with culinary endeavors, walnuts are an excellent addition to just about any dish — savory or sweet, whole or incorporated into other dishes or sauces.
For example, swapping pine nuts for walnuts adds a heart-healthy, tasty spin to any pesto recipe. The rich creaminess of the walnuts pairs perfectly with the earthy herbaceous taste of basil and the tangy zing of garlic.
Walnuts' hearty, meaty quality also makes them an excellent candidate for any vegan or vegetarian dish. If you're looking for a meat-free spin on spaghetti night, try these veggie meatballs.
Hankering for the sweet stuff? There are seemingly unlimited walnut-based dessert recipes out there, like these healthy maple walnut coffee cakes. Or hell, throw all caution to the wind and indulge in some baklava. After all, walnuts are healthy, even when slathered in butter and sugar — right?