As you increase the volume, walnuts are going to be your best friend. Because of their high fat content, nuts were once thought to be a food that should be avoided. Of course, that's when people thought eating fat made you fat, which started the low-fat and carbohydrate craze of the 1980s that proved disastrous for the health and weight management of millions of Americans. Research even suggests that consuming almonds may help in fat loss, finding that subjects who eat 1.5 ounces of almonds per day reduced their waist circumference, abdominal fat mass, and leg fat mass significantly more than subjects who get a similar amount of calories to starting from complex carbohydrates.
Walnuts are the only nut that provides a decent amount of alpha-linolenic acid, the plant-based form of omega-3 fatty acids. Although ALA is an omega-3 fat, it still needs to become the main forms of omega-3 (EPA and DHA) in the body, so you should also include a lot of fatty fish in your diet, or take a supplement, such as Omega JYM, to cover your bases. Walnuts have also been shown to support heart health. They help the body produce nitric oxide, which is essential for maintaining the elasticity and dilation of blood vessels, and help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Some people don't like the bitter taste of nuts. A delicious way to include nuts in your diet is to add half an ounce of walnuts to a cup of Greek yogurt along with a little honey. This works well to cover most of the bitterness. Cashew nuts tend to be popular because of their flavor, although they have less healthy fat (and therefore fewer calories) per ounce than other nuts.
Cashew nuts also have more carbohydrates than most other nuts, and only 1 gram per ounce comes from fiber. However, they have a decent amount of protein, so keep that in mind when choosing which nut you want for your snack. Walnuts are the only nut that contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. That means they're good not only for cardiovascular health, but also for building muscle and losing fat.
Nuts are nutrient-rich foods that contain the three essential macronutrients: fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Because they're also high in calories, they're generally an excellent food to include in your bulking routine. USDA figures indicate that about a handful (one ounce) of roasted and unsalted nuts mixed together have an average of about 5 grams of protein. Salt-free roasted peanuts have 7.9 grams of protein per ounce, says USDA.
Speaking of antioxidants, walnuts provide a significant amount of vitamin E: 1 oz (14 halves) contains 0.20 mg. This means that while it's beneficial to incorporate nuts into your diet, you'll also want to include foods high in DHA and EPA, such as fatty fish. Like most vegetables and plant products, walnuts are very low in sodium with a significant amount of calcium, magnesium and potassium, which together are associated with protection against hypertension (high blood pressure), insulin resistance, and general cardiovascular risk. Some people may find this a little strange if they just look at the nutritional profile of nuts, and nuts in general, on paper.
As I mentioned earlier, walnuts have some very good fats, including the famous omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid. Even though there are 21 species of walnut trees, the walnuts you'll find in your grocery store are probably Persian or common nuts, but in the United States they're often called English walnuts. One ounce of walnuts, or about 14 halves, contains 185 calories, 4 g of protein and carbohydrates, 2 g of fiber and 18 g of fat. In fact, nut studies since the 1990s have found fantastic results when it comes to regular consumption of nuts and lowering cholesterol levels and the risk of coronary heart disease.
If you're a vegan, vegetarian, or someone who simply wants to include higher levels of protein in your diet, walnuts may be the perfect solution. A single serving of walnuts (about a quarter cup or 12 to 14 walnuts) contains 4 grams of protein, making them an effective, protein-rich snack. I have already mentioned the great benefit that nutrients in walnuts have in combating chronic oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. To further confuse matters, Kyrgyzstan, a country in Central Asia, has the largest walnut forests in the world.