Here's why you should start eating more walnuts

Many nuts are a great source of nutrition, especially for vegetarians and vegans who struggle to get important dietary components such as protein and iron outside of animal products. Even those who are not vegetarian can gain nutritional benefits from walnuts. They're an integral part of widely-followed diets like the Mediterranean diet (via California Walnuts). As you may know, this diet was established because scientists found that people from that part of the world were living incredibly long, healthy lives (via Eating Well).

However, while it's agreed upon that nuts are a healthy addition to the diet, many nuts are expensive, sometimes prohibitively so. Macadamia nuts, for example, can cost as much as $25 per pound (via Business Insider). One thing walnuts have going for them is the relatively modest price — you can get 3 pounds of walnuts for the same price that you could buy a single pound of macadamia nuts (via Amazon).

The nutritional benefits of walnuts

The walnut boasts an impressive number of health benefits. As with most nuts, walnuts are full of healthy fats, which are necessary for proper bodily function. In the short term though, this means that as with many nuts, walnuts have a somewhat high calorie content. Just an ounce of walnuts has 180 calories. It's a small price to pay for the many nutritional benefits though. 

Walnuts have 2.5 grams of alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid found in plant-based foods) per ounce, and these fatty acids have been found to reduce inflammation in people with high levels of cholesterol (via Walnuts). Research has also found that walnut intake can help to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. On top of this walnuts are also full of antioxidants, more so than any other nut.

Of course, walnuts can be enjoyed plain as a snack, but if that is boring there are plenty of ways to spice them up a bit and make candied walnuts (via Gimme Some Oven). Just note that while adding a good bit of sugar doesn't detract from the health benefits, it certainly adds some more calories. Walnuts can also be used in a variety of baked goods like banana walnut cookies (via Martha Stewart), or even in a pesto (via Culinary Hill).