“While all nuts contain heart-healthy omega-3 fats, walnuts (14 halves contain 185 calories, 18 grams fat, 4 grams protein) have high amounts of alpha linoleic acid (ALA). Research has suggested that ALA may help heart arrhythmias, and a 2006 Spanish study suggested that walnuts were as effective as olive oil at reducing inflammation and oxidation in the arteries after eating a fatty meal. The authors of this study, funded in part by the California Walnut Commission, recommended eating around eight walnuts a day to achieve similar benefits.” 1 - Health.com
ALA is an omega-3 fatty acid. We require a balance of both omega-3 and omega-6 fats in our diet. In addition, these fats are considered essential (i.e. the body does not produce them, and they must come from foods in our diet), thus they are called Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s).
- Are also called Triglycerides because they are formed with a glycerol backbone with three (“tri”) fatty acids attached
- Are a storehouse of energy for the body
- Create a protective layer of tissue around organs in the body
- Fatty acids are an important part of cell membrane development
- Are emulsified by bile from the gall bladder
- Then are broken down further by enzymes called lipases produced in the pancreas