Not Your Average Nut

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For boosting heart health, this nut’s got one up on olive oil.
That’s right. Walnuts are better than olive oil at combating the harmful effects that saturated fats have on arteries, which may make walnuts the mightiest nuts of all. Here’s what makes them special.

When you eat a meal high in saturated fats, it causes your arteries to narrow and stiffen. And although you may have the best intentions of shunning nacho cheese and bacon-wrapped hamburgers, everyone slips a little now and then.
So here are a few things you can do to minimize the impact of the nasty fats on your arteries.

Eat a handful of walnuts. In a study, arteries stayed more relaxed when walnuts were added to a high-fat meal. They did an even better job than olive oil of helping blood to flow unrestricted. Researchers credit the alpha-linolenic acid in the nuts with helping keep arteries flexible.
Take a 45-minute walk a couple of hours after you indulge. Physical activity partly offsets the blood vessel dysfunction caused by eating a high-fat meal.
Top off your meal with a tiny piece of dark chocolate, some hot tea, or a bit of pomegranate juice. These items are rich in compounds that help your arteries relax.