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Top nutAs a vegetarian, I’m always working a little harder than most to get enough of those beneficial-in-a-new-way-every-week omega-3 fatty acids. Large amounts are found in fish, but smaller amounts are also present in flaxseeds, fortified eggs and milk, and walnuts. So I knew I was doing something good for myself (not to mention delicious) by stirring walnuts into my yogurt most days for breakfast—but a new study confirms my morning walnut habit might be doing even more good than I thought.

According to a new study by the American Chemical Society, walnuts are higher in antioxidants than any other nut, with a small handful containing about twice as many as an equal amount of peanuts, almonds, pecans, and so on. And since antioxidants work to fight the free radicals found in the atmosphere that can damage our cells, eating more walnuts is a really good thing.

Still, I know not everyone is content to munch on plain walnuts every day–especially kids, since the taste by itself is sort of bitter. But there are plenty of other yummy ways to eat them and still reap the benefits. My favorites:

  • Walnut butter You might be able to find it at some well-stocked natural food stores, but it’s usually pretty expensive. Making your own is cheaper, fresher-tasting, and couldn’t be easier: Place two cups shelled walnuts in a food processor, and process until a smooth nut butter is formed (you may need to scrape down the sides a few times). The rich, buttery spread is a welcome alternative to regular old peanut butter, and tastes great on whole grain toast with a drizzle of honey.
  • Maple walnuts Place one cup of shelled walnuts in a dry saute pan over medium-high heat to toast, stirring frequently. As soon as the nuts become fragrant, add a splash of maple syrup and a sprinkle of salt. Stir to combine, then transfer to a baking sheet or large plate to cool completely. Toss in salads for a sweet and salty crunch, over Asian-style stir-fries (think walnut shrimp!), or into your favorite trail mix.
  • Walnut flour Grind two cups of walnuts in the food processor until fine and powdery. Use walnut flour in place of up to 1/4 of the regular flour in a baked good recipe for an extra rich texture.

What’s your favorite way to eat walnuts?

Reprinted from KIWI Magazine

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