Magazine article The Saturday Evening Post

Nutty Recipes That Help the Heart: After Centuries of Being Stuck in Desserts, Walnuts Are Finally Coming out of Their Shells

Magazine article The Saturday Evening Post

Nutty Recipes That Help the Heart: After Centuries of Being Stuck in Desserts, Walnuts Are Finally Coming out of Their Shells

Article excerpt

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Today, however, apples have a rival: walnuts.

Long prized for their nutritional value and rich nutty flavor, walnuts may be better for us than we ever imagined. Some studies conclude that eating just a small amount of walnuts each day can help protect against heart disease.

What is the secret? One of the highest naturally occurring ratios of poly-unsaturated to saturated fat, as well as relatively large amounts of n-3 linolenic acid, a cholesterol reducer. A study at Loma Linda University in California revealed that people on a cholesterol-lowering diet could lower their serum cholesterol even further (more than 10 percent) simply by substituting walnuts for other fatty foods in their diet. The results of the Loma Linda study coincide with similar findings over the years showing that people who frequently consume nuts, including walnuts, demonstrate a consistently reduced risk for heart disease - one reason, perhaps, why vegetarians, who generally consume more nuts, are healthier than the general population.

While adding nuts to your diet can be beneficial, nutritionists advise not to overdo it. One ounce of walnuts a day is all you need to provide a protective effect. Don't simply add handfuls of nuts to what you already eat, either. You'll benefit most by substituting walnuts for other fatty foods in a normally low-fat diet - for example, by reducing the meat portion in a stir fry and substituting walnuts.

In a nutshell, walnuts aren't just for desserts anymore. Health-conscious cooks can find delicious ways to incorporate them into foods from salads to sandwiches to main dishes. The following low-fat, nutty recipes are designed with your heart's health in mind.

For more information and a seven-day meal plan using walnuts, write to the Walnut Marketing Board, 1540 River Park Drive, Suite 101, Sacramento, CA 95815.

Walnut Chicken Salad Sandwich

(Makes 4 servings)

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh spinach,

or 3 tablespoons finely chopped

frozen spinach, thawed and drained 2/3 cup nonfat yogurt 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon dry mustard 1/4 cup chopped green onion 1 tablespoon chopped fresh

dill or tarragon, or 1/2

teaspoon dried tarragon

or dill 1/2 cup finely chopped celery 3 cups diced, cooked white

meat chicken 1 apple, cored and diced 1/2 cup (2 oz.) chopped California

walnuts 1/4 teaspoon salt (if desired) 1/2 teaspoon pepper (if desired) Several leaves iceberg or other crisp

lettuce 4 pita breads, halved, if making

sandwiches

In large bowl combine spinach, yogurt, lemon juice, mustard, green onion, dill or tarragon, and celery. Stir to combine. Add chicken, apple, and chopped walnuts, blend well, then season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.

Serve salad on bed of lettuce leaves or spoon about 1/2 cup into each pita half and tuck in lettuce leaf.

Per Serving (1 pita + 1 1/4 cups filling): Calories: 478 Carbohydrate: 45.7 gm Cholesterol: 83 mg Protein: 39.9 gm Sodium: 572 mg Fat: 15.0 gm Diabetic exchange: 4 lean meat + 2 bread + 1 vegetable + 1/2 fruit

Walnut Chicken Saute

(Makes 4 servings)

1 1/4 lbs. (12-14) small red-skinned

"boiling" potatoes, or larger

red-skinned potatoes cut in

1" chunks Nonstick cooking spray 4 (1 lb. total) skinless, boneless,

chicken breast halves 1/2 pound mushroom caps, halved,

or quartered if large 1/4 cup dry white wine (if desired) 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch 1/4 cup chopped green onion 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh rosemary

or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary 1/2 cup chopped California walnuts,

toasted if desired Salt and pepper to taste (if desired) Several parsley sprigs

Boil potatoes in water and cover 7-10 minutes, or until barely tender when pierced. Drain well and set aside. …

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