Several major studies have shown that people who eat nuts tend to live longer and suffer fewer deaths from cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease. And this isn't just because people who tend to eat nuts also tend to eat healthier in general. A study gave nuts to thousands of people with high risk of cardiovascular disease.
Results: those eating the nuts had significantly less incidence of strokes compared to the control group, who wasn't eating the extra nuts.
But which nut is healthiest?
In a very large study (PREDIMED) that randomized participants into different dietary groups and then noted over time who had more or less cancer, heart disease, etc, walnuts were the nut found to have the greatest health benefits, especially for preventing cancer. People who ate more than three servings of walnuts per week appeared to cut their risk of dying from cancer in half.
How to add walnuts to your daily diet?
Easy: add to oatmeal, cereal or salad. But if you have a bit of a sweet tooth, like I do, here's a super easy and super healthy dessert recipe for you to try:
Raw walnut brownies
2 cups walnuts
2 cups pitted dates (soak for 15 minutes in warm water to soften. Strain)
½ cup raw cocoa powder
Process ingredients in food processor until texture “looks like potting soil” (a bit gritty). Firmly press mixture into 8x8 baking pan and divide into 16 pieces. (Instead of pressing into pan, I often roll the mixture into many small balls, ready for a quick bite). Keep in sealed container in fridge or freezer.
And if you really want to get decadent, add a little icing to your brownie:
Chocolate avocado icing
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 cup (or more, as needed for desired consistency) of unsweetened dairy-free milk
4 tbsps cacao powder
6-10 dates (soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, then drained)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Blend all ingredients in a high power blender and spread or dollop onto brownies. (This icing also makes a great chocolate pudding, especially when topped with fresh berries!)
...Now stop reading this and go eat some nuts!
Dr. Robyn Fraser, BSc, ND, M.OMSc, lives and practices in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. When not treating patients, she loves to hike with her awesome dog, Luna, run on wooded trails and, more recently, skate on ice with a stick in a rather humbling effort to play hockey.