This year just might become the year of the walnut. Most Americans are looking to shed the weight they put on during the pandemic or simply focus on living a healthier lifestyle. In fact, a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that during the pandemic Americans partook in frequent snacking and alcohol intake, increased their eating in response to sight, smell, and stress, and decreased their physical activity.
Walnuts, naturally, are the nut of choice for a significant lifestyle change. Nutrition and wellness experts have touted plant-based diets, healthy alternatives to typical comfort foods, and Keto or MIND approaches to eating. All these methods just so happen to suggest incorporating walnuts is necessary for success.
The Power of a Plant-based Diet
A recent survey shows that 71% of Americans have tried at least one plant-based meat alternative. This has been attributed to the introduction of Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger. Fast food restaurants have also gotten onboard making the concept more mainstream. Some school districts have also moved to serve vegan-only meals one day a week.
Research shows that eating a plant-based diet enhances wellness and boosts immunity. Superfoods in particular contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The known benefits include lower blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and reduced body weight. This frequently translates to less risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other diseases. All of this means the potential to live longer. According to a major study from the National Academy of Sciences, reducing global meat consumption by 2050 could save up to eight million lives per year and equal $31 trillion in reduced costs from health care and climate change.
Plus, eating a plant-based diet doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. It also doesn’t necessarily rely on avoiding all meat and only using meat substitute products. In addition to fruit and vegetables, nuts are a great source of good fat. And they can be ground up then mixed with a legume to create a near substitute if that’s desired. There are also recipes like Walnut Meatless Meatballs easily accessible online and on the Snack Primal website.
COVID-19 Spurs Comfort Food Eating
Emotional eating is not new, but during the global pandemic, Americans turned to food for comfort. This included nostalgic foods just like mom used to make, which probably weren’t the most healthy option even back then. Sales for candy, baked goods, and unique flavor combinations soared with chocolate topping the list.
Black walnuts are a staple in comfort foods steeped in nostalgia. Walnuts can be worked into both sweet and savory recipes to combine nostalgia and good health. They can be used creatively way to make crusts, glazes, and garnishes. Plus, Snack Primal’s crave-worthy snack packs come in unique flavor offerings that can easily be paired with any meal or added to a favorite recipe. Snack Primal’s walnuts are harvested in Linden, California at their peak freshness and dried to an exact crunch that leaves the consumer wanting more.
Keto and MIND Diets
The Keto and Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diets aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. A Keto diet means eating foods that are high in protein, healthy fats, and low net carbs. Walnuts work well with a keto-friendly diet because they are both plant-based and high in good fats.
The MIND diet combines the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and Mediterranean diets, which focus on brain-healthy foods that are high in omega-3s. The heart-health benefits of these diets have been highly touted. Walnuts are a key factor as they have been scientifically proven to improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, and type 2 diabetes, which are risk factors for developing dementia.
So, it’s great news that walnuts are trending. Including walnuts in a healthy-eating plan can not only help with weight management and reduce the risk of developing obesity but can improve mental and physical health.