Walnut Community

February is a special month to celebrate loving each other — and ourselves. It’s American Heart Month, and walnuts fit wonderfully with heart-healthy diets. Walnuts are versatile nuts that are being used by food developers more than ever before. Supermarket shelves are not only filled with traditional made with walnut staples like baked goods and dessert bars, but walnuts are now being seen in packaged foods like confections and plant-based meat alternatives. Walnuts can be used as a showcase ingredient in both sweet and savory packaged items and in a wide range of snacking products.

So how do walnuts fit into a heart healthy diet? The FDA’s qualified walnut health claim states that walnuts may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease when consumed as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet. One ounce of walnuts provides 18 grams of total fat, 2.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 13 grams of polyunsaturated fat, including 2.5 grams of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), plant-based omega-3. Walnuts help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and decrease blood pressure, which are two of the top risk factors for heart disease.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes that heart disease doesn’t just affect older adults. Younger adults ages 35 to 64 are popping up more now than ever with conditions of heart disease. Obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are top risk factors for heart disease — but luckily, some of these can be controlled or avoided altogether with dietary and lifestyle changes.

Making heart-healthy dietary changes like eating foods low in saturated fat, added sugar and sodium are great ways to start. Since 1993, researchers have been investigating how adding walnuts to our diets affects heart health markers such as LDL (“bad”) and HDL (“good”) cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation and plaque formation.

As part of a healthy diet, the American Heart Association recommends four or more servings per week of nuts. Walnuts can easily be included in packaged snacks, as part of salad kits or as meat substitute in plant-based diets. Let’s take a look at some made with walnut products that can help pave the road to better heart health.


For a better-for-you muffin any time of the day, Smart Baking Company’s Banana Nut Smartmuf’ns are gluten-free and contain 10 grams of dietary fiber and 8 grams of protein per serving. The FDA says that diets high in dietary fiber promote intestinal regularity and can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Last year, Smartmuf’ns were hailed by SnackandBakery.com for their ability to “take customers back to a time when there was excitement over the sweet smell of freshly baked banana bread wafting through the house.”

Classic nut company Planters has created a new look on its traditional canister of nuts, offering up a Heart Healthy Mix design on its Nut-rition brand. This mix contains walnuts and has 60 mg less sodium than other Planters mixed nuts offerings. The product also has 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving.

Orchard Valley Harvest Salad Toppers’ new Heart Healthy Blend variety contains a mix of walnuts, dried sweetened cranberries and chickpeas. Orchard Valley Harvest products do not contain any artificial ingredients, colors, flavors or preservatives, and the individually wrapped packs are great for on-the-go lifestyles.

Rise and shine with Quaker Instant Oatmeal Raisin, Date and Walnut oatmeal. Oats are a benefit to heart health, as evidenced in a research review published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine1. Oatmeal in particular may lower LDL cholesterol, and the soluble fiber from whole oats as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. Quaker’s offering includes walnuts, chewy raisins and dates blended with Quaker Oats, completing an oatmeal with no artificial preservatives or sweeteners. Wildway’s new Grain-Free Chocolate Strawberry Granola contains walnuts, dates, strawberries, cacao powder, sea salt and vanilla. There are no added sugars, oils, extracts or flavorings, and the granola is grain-free, gluten-free and plant-based. And, when you need a heart healthy snack throughout the day, why not pick up a handful of walnuts or add walnuts to your salad for an extra crunchy delight? Sante’s Candied Walnuts are an option, providing a pick-me-up of a bit of sweet mixed with plant-based protein. For more information about how walnuts can be used in food and beverage products, visit https://walnuts.org/food-professionals/.

1 Andon, M.B. & Anderson, J.W. (2008). State of the Art Reviews: The Oatmeal-Cholesterol Connection: 10 Years Later. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (2): 51. doi: 10.1177/1559827607309130

Generated with Avocode.Generated with Avocode.