As holiday time is upon us, we tend to overindulge on empty calories: sweets made from refined sugars and fried hors d’oeuvres and appetizers served up at holiday parties. When we think of nuts, we often consider them ingredients in treats like brownies and trail mix. But listen to Dr. Earl L. Mindell in the video below, as he describes walnuts as a healthy alternative to unhealthy snacks:
The problem with most walnuts sold in cans or packs in local supermarkets or national chain drug stores is poor quality and shelf age. In my experience, the walnuts I have purchased in the past often tasted bitter, were rancid and/or crumbled into dry powdery particles that didn’t go down my throat without a fight. Primavera walnuts, sent me samples of their product and I will never buy walnuts in a can or jar again. They go down easily, actually taste sweet and chew up smoothly with the taste and texture of the healthy fats that make walnuts so beneficial to your health. Walnuts are a much better alternative to sugar-laden or salty carbohydrate junk food.
“Just about everything that’s wrong with America’s health is related to diet,” says Dr. Mindell, a spokesman for Primavera® brand walnuts and an internationally recognized expert on nutrition, vitamins and herbal remedies, and the author of 63 health-related books. “We’re killing ourselves in this country with what we’re eating, and snacking is the big killer. Look at our grocery aisles – it’s almost all junk.”
Dr. Mindell says the health benefits that walnuts provide include:
Antioxidants. Walnuts have been found to have higher levels of antioxidants than any other commonly eaten nuts. A study showed eating a walnut-rich meal prevented oxidative damage of bad LDL cholesterol (which can lead to an artery disease of plaque buildup called atherosclerosis). “It protects you against the free-radical oxygen molecules that can lead to degenerative diseases,” Mindell says.
Weight control. Yes, you read that correctly. Nuts are often demonized as “too fattening” but despite having high-calorie and fat levels, like most nuts, walnuts can help reduce belly fat and maintain weight control, studies indicate. “The protein, fiber and fat content help keep you satiated longer,” Dr. Mindell says. “Your blood sugar drops at about 10 in the morning, then again in the afternoon and late at night. It’s at those times you get the munchies and go for some kind of sugar snack. Walnuts send impulses to the brain that you are satiated.”
Brain food. Walnuts contain neuroprotective compounds such as Vitamin E, folate, melatonin, and a significantly high concentration of DHA, a type of Omega-3 fatty acid. “DHA has been shown to protect brain health in newborns, improve cognitive performance in adults, and prevent age-related cognitive decline,” Dr. Mindell says. A study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information showed inferential reasoning in college students increased significantly after eating walnuts.
Heart smart. Many studies confirm that walnuts help reduce your risk for heart disease, including reducing cholesterol. Walnuts were one of the first foods receiving a qualified health claim about their heart-health benefits from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and they are certified by the American Heart Association as a Heart Healthy food.
Anti-inflammatory agent. Unique among nuts, walnuts contain the highest amount of alpha-linolenic acid, a plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid. “Plant-based Omega-3s reduce inflammation throughout the body,” Mindell says. “Most diseases killing us today are inflammatory diseases.”
Prime nutrients. An ounce of walnuts (about 14 halves) brims with nutrients essential for optimal health – four grams of protein and two grams of fiber. “They’re also a good source of magnesium and phosphorus, which benefit muscle function and bone mass,” Dr. Mindell says
For delicious recipes using walnuts go to
A Walnut’s 4-Step Journey From California Tree To Your Table
Northern California is wine country, and the natural resources that make the area ideal for producing flavorful wine grapes also apply to numerous foods enjoyed at dining tables across America.
For example, California produces about half of all the nuts, fruits and vegetables grown in the United States. Walnuts, in fact, are the state’s fourth-leading agricultural export and account for 99 percent of the U.S. supply, according to the California Walnut Board.
Demand internationally and domestically keeps rising. Now in the midst of harvest season, the 2018 California walnut crop estimate is 10 percent higher than last year, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service California Field Office.
While walnuts are well known as a healthy snack, it is taste and freshness that sets brands apart, and a detailed production process is as vital as the growing environment.
“As in real estate, quality walnut production starts with the old adage, ‘location, location, location,’ ” says Mike Garliepp, of Primavera® brand walnuts “But it’s a long road from planting a walnut orchard to delivering fresh, delicious walnuts to your local market.
“By controlling the whole process from orchard to package, walnuts are more likely to be fresh and tasty.”
Garliepp lists the key steps in bringing walnuts from tree to table:
Walnut growers are patient; it takes five to seven years for a walnut sapling to grow into an adult tree suitable for harvesting. Growers’ bountiful yields are thanks to a temperate climate, ample water supply, sunlight and rich soil. Primavera Brand’s farm and packing facility, located in Linden, Calif., is 80 miles inland from San Francisco and nestled in the fertile San Joaquin Delta. “The cool, breezy nights allow walnuts to mature in an environment that prevents sunburn and discoloration of the walnut meat,” Garliepp says. “It’s a superior location to grow some of the finest walnuts in the world.”
Walnuts are no different than fresh fruit; they must be harvested at peak maturity. Once ripe, walnuts are harvested quickly, their outer green hull is removed and the nut is air-dried to an optimum moisture level to maintain freshness during storage.
When orders are received, walnuts are mechanically cracked. Kernels are screened and moved through optical sorters to separate colors and grades, hand selected by experience sorters and certified for quality and USDA standards. “California walnuts are grown and processed under stringent quality controls,” Garliepp says.
California walnuts are produced in a wide variety of sizes and color grades. Packaging can be another differentiator to consumers; Primavera has gone to walnut halves in its packages for convenient snacking. “For snacking, you don’t want to have very small pieces, because it’s like getting to the bottom of a bag of potato chips,” Garliepp says.
You can purchase Primavera premium California walnuts at their website or from Amazon