Walnut is an edible kernel of the fruit from trees belonging to Juglandaceae family, in the genus: Juglan. Apart from walnuts, this tree nut family includes Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts (filberts), macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, and pistachios.
Black and white walnuts are native to North America, specifically the Central Mississippi Valley and Appalachian area. They played an important role in the diets and lifestyles of both the Native American Indians and the early colonial settlers. It is thought that the walnuts grown in North America gained the moniker “English walnuts,” since they were introduced into America via English merchant ships.
Eat it Raw and Eat it Whole:
The walnut seed has a number of health benefits ranging from weight management to prevention, slowing down various cancers and sharpening our brain functions.
Growing research is lending credence to the nutritional benefits of walnuts when consumed in whole form, including the skin. The skin might be a bit bitter but it is super rich in phenols. Most of the vital and rare nutrients like key phenolic acids, tannins, and flavonoids, lay buried within the skin, so don’t peal your walnuts. Along with its great taste, Walnuts provide a rich dose of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and the elusive omega-3 fatty acids. The human brain is made up of about 60% “structural fat” and needs high quality fats like omega-3 fatty acids to function properly, making walnuts the ultimate brain food.
TOP 17 HEALTH BENEFITS OF WALNUTS:
- Brain Food: ALA, an omega 3 acid, promotes brain health, improves memory and cognitive function. Walnut is an effective food in fighting depression.
- Highly Nutritional: Walnuts are high in protein, vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, trace minerals, lecithin and oils. Fats in walnuts are primarily polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and contain the vital alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). They have insignificant amounts of sodium and are cholesterol free.
- Vitamins and Minerals store: Walnut contains a large amount of vitamins B6, plenty of folate and thiamin and useful quantity of vitamin E in the form of tocopherol. Walnut is a rich source of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.
- Omega 3 Store: Omega 3 and Omega 6 are two essential fatty acids required by our body for cell growth, immune function, blood clotting, and disease prevention. Walnuts contain a precursor Omega-3, called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which the body converts to EPA and DHA, two critical Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Cholesterol Buster: Coronary heart disease (CHD) is associated with high total cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol levels. Walnut, due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids in it, decreases cholesterol levels sufficient to lower risk of CHD. Walnuts Lower Risks:
- Hair Care: Walnut oil has good sources of biotin (vitamin B7), potassium, Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. These strengthen the hair follicles, avoiding balding issues and act as a natural anti-dandruff agent. Its anti-fungal properties keep infections, triggered by ringworm, at bay.
- Skin Care: B-vitamins, together with Vitamin E, a natural antioxidant, helps in fighting the free radicals induced due to stress, and delaying the onset of wrinkles. Walnut oil helps keep the skin moisturized, lightens dark circles, eases puffiness and relaxes your eyes.
- For Pregnancy: Walnuts contains healthy Vitamin B Complex groups present in them like folates, riboflavin, thiamin and more. These are necessary for a pregnant woman and the fetus. Walnuts also stave off nausea during pregnancy and boost brain development in the child.
- Prevents Cancer: Walnuts contain multiple ingredients that, individually, have been shown to slow cancer (breast and prostate cancer) growth, including omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and phytosterols. Beta-sitosterol (a phytosterol), in combination with gama-tocopherol (vitamin E), has proven to inhibit cancer cell growth.
- Fights Type 2 Diabetes: Recent studies have proved that more servings of walnuts, per week, decreased the risk of type 2 diabetes in US women, by almost 15 to 21%.
- Weight Management: Walnut contains omega3 fats, protein and fiber that help provide satiety. Although high in fats and concentrated in calories, the fats in walnuts are healthy fats.
- Improves Sperm Count: Being a rich source of a-linolenic acid, a natural plant source of omega-3, eating about 75g of walnut daily could help improve sperm quality, sperm vitality, motility, and morphology.
- For Bone Health: Walnuts’ alpha linolenic acid and its compounds strengthen the bones. Also Omega 3 fatty acids, reduce inflammation, decreasing bones degeneration.
- For Healthy Digestive System: Walnuts are rich in fiber and they are a great way to keep your digestive and waste elimination systems functioning right.
- Improves Sleep: The body’s pineal gland produces the hormone melatonin that induces sleep and helps regulate sleep. This hormone is found in walnuts, making walnuts a great evening or bedtime snack for improving your sleep.
- Immunity Booster: Provides defense against eczema, psoriasis, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. But most notably, the photochemical ellegic acid helps support the immune system, by preventing cancer cells from reproducing.
- Blood Vessel Health: Omega-3 fatty acids help prevent erratic heart rhythms, reduce clotting, and impact plaque accumulation in blood vessels. The essential amino acid, l-argnine, helps blood vessels relax and remain smooth, improving the elasticity of the blood vessel, reducing occurrences of heart disease and strokes.
Article credits: [CureJoy]
Walnuts are wonderfully versatile nuts – add it to salads for a nutty crunch, or make a coating for poultry and fish or make a creamy sauce or use it in the sweet dish of your choice. Or just eat it raw and keep healthy!!