If you’ve scoured the ingredient panel on any of our products, you’ve probably noticed that every single one lists walnuts. And you might be wondering why we’re so insistent on making sure you’re getting some walnuts in every bite of our foods.
It’s a simple answer: because walnuts are such biochemical powerhouses.
Here are just a few of their properties:
- They are exceptionally high in antioxidant content (higher than for any other common nut). This antioxidant activity comes primarily from the papery brownish skin of the nut. Which is why we use only walnut halves and large pieces when we make our foods so that as much of the skin is included as possible. It’s this antioxidant activity which prevents LDL (bad) cholesterol form oxidizing as it circulates in our blood. Oxidized LDL is the cholesterol that gets into the walls of arteries and causes plaque. In other words, walnuts help prevent plaque accumulation.
- They are exceptionally high in omega-3 fats, specifically ALA. ALA comes from plants and is an essential fatty acid, meaning we can’t produce it inside our bodies and HAVE TO get it from our diet. EPA and DHA are omega 3 fatty acids that come from fish. These are not essential as they can be manufactured inside our bodies – from ALA. Studies have shown that for every gram increase in daily ALA intake, risk of heart disease is reduced by 10%. It’s why we make sure every serving of Step One Foods contains at least 1 gram of ALA.
- Walnuts are high in L-arginine, an amino acid that is essential to growth, immunity and hormone secretion. L-arginine is also a precursor to nitric oxide, which like nitroglycerin, helps dilate arteries. This means that people who eat walnuts tend to have lower blood pressure readings.
- The combination of nutrients found in walnuts (like polyunsaturated fat, polyphenols and vitamin E) appear to be beneficial for brain health. Older individuals eating walnuts on a regular basis have been found to display better brain function including better memory, faster processing speed and higher mental flexibility.
- Finally, eating walnuts regularly has been shown in multiple studies to decrease cholesterol levels. Not only do walnuts help reduce LDL, they also help reduce triglycerides and apoprotein B. Apoprotein B is an indicator of how MANY LDL particles are floating around your bloodstream, and an elevated level is a significant risk for heart disease.
This is actually just a partial list of benefits.
And it is data such as this which has driven the formulation of Step One Foods. We have taken all the research and distilled it down into practical, delicious foods that are super-easy to use. Every ingredient in our products has a health-promoting purpose - often more than just one. No calorie is wasted.
And as you embark on your holiday preparations, which in my house involves a significant amount of baking, try to favor recipes that include walnuts and other nuts. Yes, all the butter and sugar are not great for us, but the nuts help make up for it – at least a little!