Walnuts are an extremely common nut that are used all over the world. Due to their high nutritional content, they have a large amount of health benefits. Some of these are that they improve heart function, improves the health of your bones and skeletal system and improves the metabolism of the body. It is also known for controlling diabetes, preventing cancer, reducing inflammation in the body, improving the health of your skin, regulating sleep, managing your weight, and boosting your mood on the whole. It also has astringent properties.
Walnuts are basically round edible seeds that come from trees that belong to the Juglans genus, particularly the walnut tree. They are encased in a brown husk that is inedible and must be cracked open to obtain the fruit and seed within. The crinkles that mark the surface of the walnut can be seen inside the nut as well as outside. They are fairly common and used in a variety of recipes to add an interesting flavor and texture to the meal. Known as ‘brain foods’ mostly because of the way the surface looks, these nuts are associated with higher intelligence as the Omega-3 fatty acids present in them does boost brain function. Walnuts also have antioxidants and proteins in them and have a lot of health benefits when eaten regularly.
Nutritional Value of Walnuts
Walnuts are rich in a number of nutrients, which is why they are a great addition to your meals. In 100g, you will find 654 calories. The total fat present in them is 65g, out of which there is 6g of saturated fats, 47g of polyunsaturated fats, and 9g of monounsaturated fats. It has 0mg of cholesterol in it. 100g of walnuts also have 2mg of sodium and 441mg of potassium. The total carbohydrate content in walnuts is 14g with 7g of dietary fibers and 2.6g of sugar. It has 15g of protein with 9% of the daily recommended dose of calcium, 2% of vitamin C, 16% of iron, 25% of vitamin B-6 and 39% of magnesium. It does not contain any vitamin A, D, or B-12.
Improves heart function
Including walnuts in the diet can lead to better heart function as they promote the increase of lipids in the body. Walnuts have high amounts of Omega-3 in them as well as monounsaturated fats such as Oleic acid. It has all the essential fatty acids required by the body such as arachidonic acids, ALA, and linoleic acid. Consuming walnuts also lowers the LDL levels in the body while increasing the HDL levels as well, thus decreasing the overall risk of heart diseases.
Improves bone health
The essential fatty acids that are present in the walnuts are great for helping the body absorb higher amounts of calcium from food. This leads to better bone health. It can also help prevent the formation of stones in the kidneys as it increases the excretion of calcium from the urinary tracts.
Improves the metabolism
Walnuts are rich in a variety of essential minerals such as zinc, copper, potassium, manganese, calcium, magnesium, selenium, and iron. These minerals play a vital role in the body’s metabolism as they are responsible for several functions such as sperm generation, nucleic acid synthesis, digestion, and overall growth and development. Adding walnuts to your diet can, therefore, work wonders for the general health and vitality of your body.
People with Type 2 diabetes can avoid gaining weight by having a few walnuts every day. This is because they are filled with polyunsaturated fats, which are the type of fats that are good for your body and do not settle in and lead to weight gain.
Certain nutrients that are present in walnuts can help control cancer cells and their growth. Their phenolic compounds and antioxidants play a significant role in doing so. Antioxidants are also known for removing free radicals from the body, which can also play a role in preventing cancer.
Making walnuts a part of your daily diet can help you reduce inflammation. While inflammation may not seem like much of an issue in the beginning, if left untreated, it can lead to a host of problems and can even be fatal. The polyphenolic compounds that are present in walnuts reduce any inflammation on the body as well as the symptoms and ailments that are associated with inflammation.
Walnuts are a great source of vitamin E and have large amounts of gamma-tocopherol in them, which is basically a strong lipid soluble antioxidant. Antioxidants are known for their role in eliminating free radicals from the body and the vitamin E that is present in walnuts protects the skin from free radicals, thus maintaining the way it looks and feels and protecting it from harm. Walnuts also have a lot of B-complex vitamins such as B-6, folate, riboflavin, niacin and panthothenic acid, which are all great for the skin.
It helps to regulate sleep
Sleep is an extremely important body function and not sleeping for at least 7-8 hours every night can lead to the body developing a series of problems. This is because sleep allows your organs and body to rest, letting them catch up on more energy for the next day. Similarly, it also allows your mind to rest and the lack of proper sleep can lead to impaired cognitive function and can affect your day to day life. This is why it is extremely important to monitor and regular your sleep cycle to keep it at an optimum pace. Eating just a handful of delicious walnuts on a daily basis can help regulate your sleep patterns. This is because walnuts are rich in melatonin, which is the hormone that is responsible for inducing and regulating sleep. You can easily incorporate them in your dinner and look forward to a good night’s sleep every time!
It helps to manage weight
Eating walnuts does not contribute to weight gain. Therefore, these handy nuts can be incorporated in your daily diet without you worrying about whether or not they will lead to weight gain. You can manage your current weight with them.
It is a mood booster
Another great benefit of consuming walnuts on a regular basis is that is it considered a mood booster. When the body does not have enough omega-3 fatty acids in it, it can lead to a number of mood related problems. These problems include irritability, hyperactivity, and even tantrums. This makes them a great item to include in the diet of your child as it can help control their erratic mood swings. Moreover, walnuts also help to control the moods of an adult. They are especially beneficial to people who are fighting depression and stress.
It has astringent properties
Walnuts are also known for having great astringent properties. They have large amounts of vitamins B-1, B-2, and B-3 which help. When walnut oil is used, it can help soothe the skin, making it a great astringent. Walnut oil can also be used in food to reduce inflammation in the body.
Uses of Walnuts
Walnuts can be used in a number of recipes to not only add their flavor to the food but also to bring out the flavor of the other ingredients used while cooking. Shredded walnuts can be added to fish or chicken right before it is cooked. Ground walnuts can be used as a powder on various salads, chicken dishes, and even sandwiches. Shredded walnuts are often used in desserts for a rich, nutty flavor and are quite commonly used when baking brownies. They can also be added to yoghurts for a healthy and delicious dessert item. Walnuts can be consumed raw, cooked in a dish, and even roasted in the oven to enhance their flavor. Walnut oil is also popularly used in cooking. It can also be used as a base or carrier oil for massage therapies and aromatherapy. It is also used in the cosmetics industry as well as the pharmaceutical industry.
Cultivation of Walnuts
Walnuts are found all over the world and it is believed that they have been harvested by man since 7,000 BC. There are two types of walnuts that are widely used – the English Walnut, which originated in Persia, and the black walnut which originated in north America. Around two-thirds of the walnuts used all over the world are cultivated in California.
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