I've always been fascinated by walnuts. That may sound crazy, but have you ever really looked at one? If you look at it on one side, it vaguely resembles at least part of a human brain. Flip it over? Well, if you look closely you may recognize a vague image of our lungs. So, part of me just wanted to assume that walnuts were thusly good for our brains and lungs--and they may very well. But I was fascinated to read a recent study that shows walnuts definitely are good for both your heart as well as your microbiome.

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According to Penn State assistant research professor Kristina Petersen, there was a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition that indicated consuming walnuts every day as part of making "small improvements in diet can greatly benefit our health. Eating at least two to three ounces of walnut a day as part of a healthy diet could be a good way to improve gut health and it can reduce the risk of heart disease."

But why? Walnuts give us an array of beneficial bioactive compounds, fatty acids, and fiber--all which our gut microbiomes love to snack on themselves. The resulting "metabolites" and products are very good for you. And as far as heart health goes? Previous research has shown us "eating whole walnuts daily can lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure." This most recent study looked more in-depth at how a healthier microbiome affects heart health. Looks like it's more connected than you may think.

For more on the study, take a look here.

Does this mean that simply adding walnuts to our brownie recipes makes them healthier? Hmm. Well, perhaps a little bit.