Nuts: Magic foods for Longer Life

Island Epicure

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Researchers investigating nutritional values foods came up with a list of the 100 best. Walnuts were nearly at the top of the list, beaten out only by flax seeds as a source of omega-3 fats.  In a 30-year study of 119,000 men and women, they found that the people who ate nuts seven times or more each week had a 20% lower risk of dying from any cause during the course of the study–diseases, accidents, anything!

A quarter cupful of walnut halves offers you as much omega-3 fat as three ounces of salmon. The walnuts, like all nuts and seeds, also yield wonder-working vitamin E. It benefits your heart and eyes, helps prevent or cope with arthritis, and prevents formation of the free radicals involved in Alzheimers. A small bowl of mixed nuts used to be passed around the table at the end of the main meal. It was a good custom.

Walnuts are a staple in my kitchen, as are almonds (good source of calcium and magnesium). As a between meals snack, a quarter cup of walnut halves and pieces contributes 162 calories and 3.6 grams of protein. Pistachios in the shell are also great for snacking. It takes too long for you to get the nut out for you to eat too many. Scatter the bulk pistachios on a fruit or vegetable salad. They’re higher in Vitamin B1 than most nuts.
For an easily prepared meal at the end of a warm, busy day—and it promises to be a hot summer—try this salad followed by an omelet and wholegrain bread dipped in extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Or without even turning on the cookstove whip up a this salad to eat with all-rye bread and cheese.

Apple & Walnut Salad
Serves 1 to 2

Red lettuce leaf or leaves
1 rib celery, washed and sliced crosswise
½ organic apple, diced
¼to 1/2 cup walnut pieces, chopped
1 Tablespoons dried cranberries or sour cherries
Dressing (see below)

Wash the lettuce and pat it dry. Tear it to pieces. Line a bowl with the pieces.
Add the celery and the apple. Top with the walnut pieces and dried fruit.  Serve with this soured cream dressing, another omega-3 source.

Cream Dressing
Makes 5 ounces

½ cup whipping cream
2 Tablespoons lemon juice or rice vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly grated gingerroot
Dash salt, optional

Mix all ingredients. Let the dressing stand for a couple of minutes to thicken. Serve. For a beverage, pomegranate juice diluted with sparkling water would balance the fats.
When accompanied by bread and olive oil for dipping it into, you get some more omega-3 fat from the olive oil. It isn’t fattening. Greeks get up to 40% of their daily calories from olive oil, yet I never saw a fat Greek in Athens or on any of the nearby Greek islands we visited, nor in Crete where we lived one winter.