Walnut is one of the healthiest nuts that you should give it a try. They come from the family of Juglandaceae.
Many people consider the appearance of the walnut kennel to the anatomy of our brains; it is a co-incidence that walnut is considered great for our mental health as well. Walnuts are being dubbed as the modern superfood for their health benefits.
Walnut blend effortlessly in our hectic lifestyle and provide us with the best of nutrition required by the body.
Two types of walnuts are commercially grown- English Walnut and Black Walnut.
English walnut has its origin in Persia whereas the Black ones come from Eastern North America. The nutritional composition of Walnuts is mind-blowingly healthy and can make a big difference to your fitness levels.
Though walnut has been a very traditional inclusion in diets of many cultures but recent studies on it, have awakened many to its various benefits. They are healthy and provide excellent nutrition as per the requirement of our body.
It is clear from the nutrition chart that Walnut is a powerhouse of essential nutrients. It is pertinent to mention that it contains a high level of essential dietary fiber at 6.7 per 100 grams. It is made up of 9% carbohydrates, 83% fats and 8% of proteins.
Many studies have indicated that consumption of Omega 6 should be complemented with at least one third that of Omega 3, and walnuts almost entirely comply with this condition.
Our body has two types of fats- the Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) called, “Bad Cholesterol” in layman’s language and High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL) which comprise of the healthy fats.
It is a mineral rich nut with plentiful of Magnesium, Potassium and Phosphorous.
All the three keep up the electrolyte levels of the body within healthy levels and fight against conditions like type2 diabetes.
With a rich nutritional background, it is but obvious that Walnuts have numerous health benefits. They are recommended for growing children and pregnant women.
Even people suffering from ailments that are fuelled by obesity and high cholesterol can consume Walnuts without worrying about the fat consumption that comes with most of the other nuts.
1. Hearty Heart with High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL)
Cholesterol is carried through our blood stream by Lipoproteins that are essentially a combination of Fats and Proteins.
There are two types of them in our body- LDL and HDL.
LDL scientifically called Low-Density Lipoproteins are termed as “Bad” because they have a tendency of clogging the arteries by forming plaque over a period.
These plaques make the arteries inflexible resulting in a condition called Atherosclerosis.
On the other hand, the gradual build-up of plaque obstructs the blood supply also which may result in medical problems like Varicose Veins.
The fluctuations in the blood supply can lead to more dangerous conditions leading to heart attack and Strokes as well.
HDL or High-Density Lipoproteins help in clearing the arteries of the plaque and LDL. It is taken away from arteries and into the liver that breaks them down and facilitates their removal from the body.
Walnut is a rich source of this HDL carrier and, therefore, helps in maintaining a healthy heart and low cholesterol levels.
Regular consumption of walnut can assist you in clearing years of LDL deposition along your arteries.
Bottom Line: Walnuts due to their high HDL content keep your LDL in check and protects your heart from Cardio-vascular diseases. It is known to reduce the risk of heart attack and strokes because the HDL in it cleans the arteries of the LDL remnants.
2. Power of Omega 3
Omega 3 Fatty acids are the unsaturated fats that have significant health benefits. They are not produced in the body and, therefore, must be derived from food sources and supplements.
Studies have found that they tend to lower triglycerides. Triglycerides are lipids found in our bloodstream and are known to cause conditions like Atherosclerosis because of saturated fats found in them.
These saturated fats have a high melting point and, therefore, get stored in the body and build on the fat deposits that are harmful after a particular level.
Omega 3 Fatty acids discourage such build up and protect the heart from various diseases that are a direct consequence of blocked artery and high cholesterol.
Omega 3 fatty acids are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties and help in expeditious healing of the wounds and bruises. These properties provide relief from the symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis, non-surgical back and neck pain.
In fact, some studies and experiments indicate that Omega 3 fatty acids are just as effective as painkillers and anti-inflammatory agent as allopathic drug Ibuprofen. The anti-inflammatory benefits are found to be very helpful for children suffering from Asthma, as it reduces the inflammation of airways.
Children showing developmental disorders are recommended a daily dosage of these acids. The title of “Brain food” to walnuts is owing to the Omega 3 content in them. Children suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are treated with supplements of Omega 3 to contain this condition effectively.
These fatty acids are used in tackling and managing the disorders like depression, Bipolar Disorder and Psychiatric conditions in adults as well as children.
There is clinical evidence to show that these fatty acids can play a big role in arresting the age-related dementia and similar degenerative diseases.
Children susceptible to developing type2 diabetes have also shown a high resistance to developing this condition where their diets included regular dosages of Omega 3.
Bottom Line: Omega 3 fatty acids are not produced in the body and must be extracted by the body from food sources. Its anti-inflammatory properties bring relief from conditions like Arthritis, Asthma and other body aches.
Mental illnesses and disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, dementia and similar psychiatric conditions can be treated and managed with Omega 3 supplements. Juvenile illnesses of diabetes and Asthma have also been known to show improvement with this essential fatty acid.
3. Essential Omega 6 fatty acid
Omega 6 fatty acids are extremely important for your body and their deficiency can lead to serious growth related disorders.
Similar to Omega 3, this fatty acid is also derived from external sources in form of diet.
These fatty acids help in cell and muscle development and this is why found in many infants’ formulas and are consumed in abundance by sports persons.
It has been proven for its benefits in brain development critical amongst children and younger adults.
Just like Omega 3, Omega 6 also has positive impact on treatments for depression, Schizophrenia, ADHD and PMS related mood swings. The Linoleic Acid in Omega 6 triggers immune responses preventing further injuries and inflammation.
It also facilitates the transmission of nerve impulses. It is a better transmission of nerve impulses that triggers a quick and expeditious immune responses and controls inflammation in the body.
Omega 6 also aids in arresting age-related conditions like arthritis, dementia, cardiovascular diseases and chronic inflammation.
Bottom Line: Omega 6 fatty acid help in warding off heart ailments and age related mental diseases. They support a healthy and pro-active immune system and better the anti-inflammatory function of the body. The cell and muscle growth is evidently boosted by this fatty acid as well.
4. Weight Loss
Forget the excruciating dieting regimen that keeps you hungry, dissatisfied and usually results in long-term damage to the body.
All you need to do is to make some simple changes in your diet where you replace the unhealthy cravings with a healthy snack.
Walnuts are sumptuously filling so you can never devour them beyond a certain limit and still provide you with a lot of energy for your exercises and other physical activities.
This nut fulfills the need of healthy fats, protein and other minerals very easily and does not make your body starve. All these factors combined make weight loss a reality.
As mentioned earlier, walnuts have anti-inflammatory properties owing to Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acid. However, they also have a lesser known but a super anti-oxidant agent ellagic acid in them.
Together all the three of them protect you from the damages of unhealthy diet in the form of disturbed metabolism and some extreme cases of ulceration of stomach lining.
Bottom line: The consumption of Walnut helps you in a healthy weight loss. It maintains the levels of essential electrolytes in the body and keeps you filled because of the dense nutritional composition it has. The anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in the walnuts protect the immunity response of the body in a fit shape as you go on a weight loss regimen.
5. Protects From Cancer
Cancer is now being dubbed as a lifestyle disease particularly some types of it. Though snacking on Walnuts will not cure the disease but can help in managing and preventing it.
It comes from the category of foods that prevent cancer because of their antioxidant properties.
Ellagic acid is an anti-oxidant which is in abundant quantities in walnut and, therefore, gets rid your body of damage caused by free radicals.
Omega 3 fatty acids further make walnuts a trusted anti-inflammatory agent. One gram of Walnut contains 70 units of Polyphenols, which is higher than most of the nuts and vegetables.
Polyphenols are micronutrients that play a significant role in debilitating diseases like cancer.
Walnuts are a rich source of Phytochemicals that are known for their anti-oxidant properties. With a superfluous combination of
Polyphenols, phytochemicals, ellagic acid, gamma- tocopherol, and linoleic acid, walnuts are super nuts that can prevent cancer-causing cells to multiply in the body.
Bottom line: Walnuts can help in preventing the cases of cancer with their anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Former get rid of rogue cells and latter heal and prevent the damage of cells. In cases where cancer has already started, it can be slowed and managed with the help of this super food.
6. Vitamin E with Fat – The Elixir of Youth
The anti-oxidant in Walnut makes it your skin’s best friend. Vitamin E further adds to its properties that give a healthy and glowing skin.
There is always cell production going on in our body and the new cells replace the old and dead ones. The nutritional composition of Walnuts aids in expeditious cell formation. Faster the rate, better the healing.
This same property avoids premature ageing altogether and, in fact, is known to delay the natural ageing as well.
The fine lines and wrinkles appear on our faces due to lousy cell formation as we age; this is what a regular intake of Walnuts can tackle effectively. This is the function that makes Vitamin E equally beneficial for hair repair and growth.
The remnant scars from bruises and injuries can also be treated with regular intake of Vitamin E in the form of walnuts.
The fat composition of the walnut lends a suppleness and elasticity to the skin and especially to your face. The appearance of skin exhibits a hydrated quality that makes it glowing and beautiful.
Additionally, the antioxidants play the role of cleaning the skin thoroughly and regularly to give a youthful character to it.
Bottom Line: A combination of Vitamin E, Anti-oxidant and abundant fats in walnuts create perfect conditions for youthful, wrinkle free and supple skin. They contain and heal all type of damage to skin effectively and rapidly.
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7. Biotin and fats for Healthy Mane
The presence of Vitamin B7 better known as Biotin or Vitamin H in walnuts makes them food for your hair. Biotin facilitates cell production and, therefore, is a necessary nutrient for our body.
Biotin is known to promote the cell growth and thereby to combat various nervous system disorders and other cell related disorders. This vitamin is also called coenzyme and is produced in our intestine naturally.
For hair loss and hair re-growth your body needs more biotin than what is produced naturally in our bodies.
Consistent use of Walnuts can lead to healthier and voluptuous hair and can arrest the receding hairline. The fat in walnut lends a protective sheen to the hair and also aid in restoring them. The fat adds moisture and reduced dryness that is responsible for accelerated hair fall in adults.
Bottom line: The fats and biotin composition of walnuts not only helps in a healthy growth but also restores the lost hair follicles. It discourages thinning hair line and brings back the glory days of your hair.
8. Nurturing a Pregnancy
Though not much evidence has been collected in the various studies to know the effects of Walnuts on pregnancy, the fact remains it is good for pregnant women.
The biggest positive point of Walnuts is the existence of healthy fat. This makes Walnuts filling but does not create unhealthy deposits of fats and consequent weight.
Cholesterol and weight are two very important factors that need to be monitored and balanced during pregnancy.
Manganese and Potassium create an ideal balance of electrolyte in the body which is usually precarious during pregnancy.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids help in the developmental phase of foetus especially the neuro-development.
The brain and spine development of the foetus is the amongst the first organ growths in a baby that are adequately supported by these two fatty acids.
The role of vitamin E and biotin is also important as they not only facilitate the cell growth and replacement but also ensure a good health of the mother during pregnancy.
Bottom line: The combination of essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals like Manganese and potassium make walnuts a must for pregnant woman. Their nutritional composition aids the growth of foetus and helps the mother in maintaining a good health while she carries her child inside of her.
How To Include it in your Diet
Walnuts are versatile nuts and, therefore, adding them to your daily diet is not a difficult task. Let us begin with the day’s first and most important meal.
You can add chunks of walnuts to your muesli or cereal. The garnish of walnut can be added to almost anything.
The crunch and taste of the walnut can make any preparation tastier so sprinkling some in your sandwiches or just blending them in your milkshake can bring in all the nutty goodness.
Walnut is a great evening snack for lunch and dinner. This is the time when hunger strikes with its mighty force and can be easily satisfied with a handful of walnuts.
Walnuts have a beautiful texture that makes them a popular ingredient in cakes and bakes. You may make your favorite cookies and give them a walnut crunch.
The taste of walnut can be given a sweet touch or a salty one. Though additional sugar or salt should be avoided, but a little indulgence here and there is always permissible.
Walnuts can become soggy, shrunken and withered in a very short time if not stored properly. The first symptom that they have gone wrong is the unpleasant odor that is as stale and used oil. It happens because of a very high content of fat in walnuts.
Ideal storage of walnut is a combination of the right storage and temperature. If you plan to use walnut over months, then buy the shelled ones and refrigerate. They are known to survive for up to one year in the deep freeze.
The shell of walnut is actually their best natural storage container. If there are only a handful of Walnuts expected to be consumed over a few days or a week then airtight Jar stored away from sunlight in a cool place would be ideal.
Walnuts have been part of human diet for past 10,000 years especially in Mediterranean, South American and Asian cultures. Around 30 varieties of walnuts are consumed worldwide and this adds to about 2.5 million tonnes of it each year. This deciduous tree needs plenty of moisture and a lot of direct sunlight to grow.
The sturdy tree of this delicate stone fruit can grow to a lifespan of 50-250 years! The walnut tree also has very useful utilities. Its wood is solid and is used for making fine furniture, veneer and paneling. The leaves are known to improve the liver function.
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