Last week, a patient asked me a question I hear all the time. Maybe you’re struggling with the same problem. “Dr. Sears,” he said, “I love to eat snack food – especially when I’m reading or watching TV. Is there anything better than chips?”
Well, just about anything would be better than potato chips. But if you’re looking for a healthy snack, walnuts can’t be beat. Walnuts are full of heart-healthy nutrients and cancer-fighting antioxidants. They’re also a great source of omega-3s. Best of all, they score a perfect zero on the glycemic index, meaning you can eat as many as you like and never get fat.
You already know that omega-3 fats are important for good health. Well, walnuts have a particular kind of omega-3 called alpha-linolenic-acid (ALA). ALA naturally lowers your overall cholesterol, your LDL (bad cholesterol), and your blood pressure. ALA is also an anti-inflammatory, which can reduce joint pain and help prevent heart disease. And walnuts have more ALA than any other nut.
Walnuts are high in antioxidants, too – and they have a flavonoid called ellagic acid. This powerful nutrient (also found in several types of berries) inhibits the growth of cancer cells. If that’s not enough for you, walnuts are very high in arginine. Arginine helps make more nitric oxide (NO), which helps your blood vessels dilate and, thus, increases blood flow. This is great for your heart … and for the bedroom. (That’s the basic idea behind Viagra.)
Next time you’re in the grocery store, skip the chips and pick up some walnuts. Enjoy your snack time without the guilt – or the extra pounds.
[Ed. Note: Dr. Sears, a practicing physician and the author of The Doctor’s Heart Cure and 12 Secrets to Virility, is a leading authority on longevity, physical fitness, and heart health.]