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Walnuts belong to the tree nut family, along with Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, and pistachios. Each has its own unique nutritional profile. They originated in the Mediterranean region and Central Asia, and have been part of the human diet for thousands of years. These nuts are rich in omega-3 fats and contain higher amounts of antioxidants than most other foods. Eating walnuts may improve brain health while also helping to prevent heart disease and cancer. The form of vitamin E found in walnuts is somewhat unusual, and particularly beneficial. Instead of having most of its vitamin E present in the alpha-tocopherol form, walnuts provide an unusually high level of vitamin E in the form of gamma-tocopherol. Particularly in studies on the cardiovascular health of men, this gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E has been found to provide significant protection from heart problems.
Walnuts are most often eaten on their own as a snack. However, they can also be added to salads, pastas, breakfast cereals, soups and baked goods. They are also used to make walnut oil, an expensive culinary oil often used in salad dressings.
One-quarter cup of walnuts, for instance, provides more than 100 percent of the daily recommended value of plant-based omega-3 fats, along with high amounts of copper, manganese, molybdenum, and biotin.
Isn’t it just amazing that, to cap up all the incredible benefits, walnuts are incredibly tasty as well.
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