We all need omega-3 fats (fatty acids). Our bodies cannot make them, so it’s important that we have a regular supply in our diet.
What is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)?
The omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is a healthy (unsaturated) fat found in plant foods such as walnuts which has been shown to help look after heart health, brain health and healthy ageing as part of a varied balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Omega-3 ALA cannot be made in the body, so must come from our food and be eaten regularly.
What foods should we be eating to get omega 3-ALA?
Making the right food choices is important regardless of your age. However, once you reach your 50s, the risk of heart disease goes up, particularly post-menopause. The good news is that simple lifestyle tweaks such as changing your diet can have a big impact on your heart health. For example, to increase your omega-3 ALA intake, choose plant-based sources such as rapeseed oil, flaxseeds and walnuts.
Which nuts contain omega-3?
Walnuts are the only tree nut to contain significant amounts of the plant-based essential omega-3 ALA (2.7g per 30g*), which helps maintain normal blood cholesterol levels.
Walnuts – the heart healthy nut
Raised blood cholesterol levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks and strokes.
A handful of walnuts a day (30g) can have a positive effect on the elasticity of the blood vessels helping to look after your cardiovascular system .
One portion of walnuts (a 30g handful) also contains 1.4g of fibre and 4.4g of protein and walnuts are naturally low in salt, making them a heart healthy choice.
For a great tasting, mild and creamy walnut make sure to look out for California Walnuts, identified on pack as either produce from USA or California. And by adding California Walnuts to your dishes, sweet or savoury, they can elevate the flavour, boost nutrition, and make the dish that bit more special.
But remember – keep them in the fridge for great tasting walnuts all the time!
California Walnuts also have the heart-healthy seal of approval from the heart health charity, HEART UK.
3 ideas to include walnuts in your diet
Enjoying a healthy handful (30g) of walnuts each day is a great way to help cover your omega-3 needs. There are countless ways to use walnuts to add flavour, crunch and depth to every course, from savoury to sweet dishes, to snacking on a handful a day.
Here are three delicious ideas for incorporating California Walnuts in your daily menu, from breakfast, to lunch through to dinner.
For more information on California Walnuts, omega-3 and recipe inspiration, visit www.californiawalnuts.co.uk.
*Approx. a handful
 As part of a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.2903/j.efsa.2009.1252;
 Food Standards Agency (2002), McCance & Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods, Seventh summary edition. Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry