California Walnuts Certified with American Heart Association's "Heart-Check Mark"

FOLSOM, Calif., Sept. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- California Walnuts is proud to announce that the American Heart Association is now certifying walnuts as a heart-healthy food.  The Heart-Check mark easily identifies foods that meet the nutritional standards set by the American Heart Association and provides consumers a quick and reliable way to identify heart-healthy foods.  




Cardiovascular diseases (CVD), including heart disease and stroke, are the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S. (1)  The disease process can start early in life and is influenced over time by lifestyle behaviors including poor nutrition.  The Heart-Check mark can help consumers take a step in the right direction in making good food choices.  "Eating a handful of walnuts a day is a delicious way to protect the heart," says Michael Roizen, M.D. Institute Chair, Chief Wellness Officer Wellness Institute Cleveland Clinic.  "Walnuts offer antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, protein and the only nut providing a significant amount of the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) (2).  People would be nuts not to include them in their diet."  In fact, some of the most popular nuts on grocery store shelves do not contain any ALA.

There is a strong body of scientific research on walnuts, which began in 1993 with the landmark Loma Linda University study conducted by Dr. Joan Sabate Chair and Professor of the Department of Nutrition at the School of Public Health, showing walnuts lower LDL 'bad' cholesterol by as much as 16 percent.  Considering almost 50 California walnut studies have been published to date, Dr. Sabate believes that "the strength of research on walnuts makes them an essential food for heart patients."  

The cardioprotective effects of walnuts have been studied at world-renowned institutions including Harvard, Penn State and Yale Universities and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  The research substantiating the specific benefit of consuming walnuts as part of a heart-healthy diet in reducing the risk of heart disease is so strong that in 2004 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted walnuts one of the first qualified health claims for a whole food (3).  

Dr. Rachel Johnson, Ph.D., R.D., the Bickford Green and Gold Professor of Nutrition at the University of Vermont and an American Heart Association spokesperson said, "We know that consumers have relied on the American Heart Association's Heart-Check mark to easily identify heart-healthy foods for more than 15 years.  Adding nuts, fish and other foods that are rich sources of good fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, enhances the program and gives more healthy options consumers can choose with the same trust factor."

The American Heart Association's Heart-Check mark is a credible reference and an icon that consumers trust.  In fact, 83 percent of consumers have an aided awareness of the Heart-Check mark, and 73 percent of primary grocery shoppers say the Heart-Check mark improves the likelihood that they'll buy a product (4).  

Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor of nutrition at Penn State University believes "the Heart-Check mark on walnuts is an important step forward in our thinking about how to eat heart healthy.  Emphasizing good fats is important and walnuts are loaded with good fats in the form of polyunsaturated fatty acids."  She states "unsalted walnuts are nutrient-dense and a can easily fit in a heart-healthy diet."

For walnut recipes and more information about the health benefits of California Walnuts, visit or join us on Facebook.

About California Walnuts:

The California walnut industry is made up of over 4,600 growers and over 70 handlers. The growers and handlers are represented by two entities, the California Walnut Board (CWB) and the California Walnut Commission (CWC).

California Walnut Board

The Walnut Marketing Board was established in 1948 to represent the walnut growers and handlers of California. In April 2008, the Walnut Marketing Board became the California Walnut Board to provide origin designation to the product it represents.  The Board is funded by mandatory assessments of the handlers. The CWB is governed by a Federal Walnut Marketing Order. The Board promotes usage of walnuts in the United States through publicity and educational programs. The Board also provides funding for walnut production and post-harvest research.

California Walnut Commission

The California Walnut Commission, established in 1987, is funded by mandatory assessments of the growers. The Commission is an agency of the State of California that works in concurrence with the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The CWC is mainly involved in health research and export market development activities.

Non-Discrimination Statement

The California Walnut Board (CWB) and California Walnut Commission (CWC) prohibit discrimination in all programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance programs.  Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the CWB / CWC offices at (916) 922-5888.  To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).  CWB/CWC is an equal opportunity employer and provider.

The California Walnut Board and Commission offices are located at 101 Parkshore Dr., Ste. #250, Folsom, CA 95630

This and other delicious walnut recipes are brought to you by the California Walnut Commission.  This recipe is adapted with permission from American Heart Association Meals in Minutes Cookbook, Copyright © 2000 by the American Heart Association. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc. American Heart Association cookbooks are available from booksellers everywhere. 

Walnut-Coated Fillets with Corn Salsa

Developed jointly with the American Heart Association, this delicious combination of lime and crispy corn salsa compliments the texture of a mild white fish, resulting in an easy family meal that can be prepared in minimal amount of time.  

Serves 4

Vegetable oil spray

1 pound boneless, skinless fish fillets, cut into 4 pieces (Your choice of:  Sole, Cod, Tilapia, Orange Roughy)

1/2 of a 17-ounce can no-salt-added whole-kernel corn, drained

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped red onion

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

2 tablespoons fat-free, cholesterol-free mayonnaise

Freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup chopped California walnuts, dry-roasted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Spray a shallow glass baking dish with vegetable oil.  Rinse fillets and pat dry.  Set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together corn, green pepper, red onion, lime juice, garlic, red pepper, and, if desired, salt.  Stir in cilantro.  Set aside. Place fillets in prepared dish, tucking under any thin edges.  Lightly brush the top of each fillet with mayonnaise.  Season with black pepper.  Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.  Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.  Serve with corn mixture.




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This recipe is brought to you by the California Walnut Commission. Recipe copyright ©2003 by the American Heart Association.  Look for other delicious recipes in American Heart Association cookbooks, available from booksellers everywhere.

Walnut Cluster Snack

Serves 16; 1/2 cup per serving

Created with the American Heart Association, these tasty clusters of crunchy oats and walnuts baked with tender dried fruit make a great snack on the go.  

Vegetable oil spray

3 cups quick-cooking oats

1/2 cup oat bran  

3/4 cup coarsely chopped California walnuts

White of 1 egg

3/4 cup apricot nectar

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons walnut oil  

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

9-ounce package dried figs (Mission or Calimyrna preferred), quartered (about 1 1/2 cups)

6-ounce package dried cranberries (about 1 1/3 cup)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly spray a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with vegetable oil spray.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, oat bran, and walnuts.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg white until frothy. Stir in the apricot nectar, maple syrup, walnut oil, and vanilla. Pour over the oat mixture, stirring until moistened. Press the mixture into the prepared pan.

Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Put the pan on a cooling rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Break up the mixture into small pieces or clusters. Return the clusters to the pan.

Bake for 10 minutes. Put the pan on a cooling rack. Stir in the figs and cranberries. Cool thoroughly.

Store in an airtight container. To serve, put 1/2-cup portions in snack-size bags or foil muffin cups. Or, portion into decorative bags and tie with colorful ribbon for a healthy and tasty gift.

Mixture will keep in airtight containers up to 1 week. (Freezing is not recommended.)




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(2) Please note: One ounce of walnuts provides 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13 g of polyunsaturated fat, including 2.5 grams of alpha linolenic acid - the plant-based omega-3; 2g of fiber; 4g of protein, 3.68 mmol/28 g of antioxidants. (

(3) "Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces per day of walnuts, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet and not resulting in increased caloric intake, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease"


SOURCE California Walnut Board


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