Walnuts: Health benefits, nutrition and the right way to have them

It’s important to include a variety of nuts and seeds in your everyday diet plan.

Walnuts, of all nuts and seeds, are ranked highest and rightfully so. Full of health benefits and a terrific source of nutritive values, walnuts should be had by people of all ages.

If you are looking for reasons to include it in your diet, we explain to you the number of health benefits it offers, nutritional count and the right way to have them.

Nutritional value

Walnuts offer one of the highest nutritive values of all nuts and seeds. What makes it unique is the surprisingly high concentration of Omega-3 fat in it, which is extremely good for your heart as well as the brain.

One cup of walnuts (roughly 30 grams) contains:

Carbohydrates: 3.89 grams

Sugar: 1 gram

Fibre: 2 gram
Iron: 0.72 milligrams

Protein: 5 grams

Fats: 20 grams
It also contains a good number of trace vitamins and minerals, including phosphorus, vitamin B6, magnesium, copper, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

What health benefits do walnuts offer?

There’s a reason nutritionists and doctors recommend people to eat walnuts regularly. From the heart to the skin, there are so many health benefits which nourish the body completely.

Promotes good heart health

Walnuts are a potent source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are considered to be good for the heart. Good heart-healthy fats have been found to lower the level of cholesterol, which in turn, has been linked to a reduced risk of coronary artery diseases, cardiac problems, stroke as well as a heart attack.

Some studies have also observed that the use of walnut oil can also promote the endothelial function, vital to the body.

A complete brain-boosting food

From kids to older people, walnuts are always given to people and considered healthy brain food. Not only does the shell of a walnut resemble a human brain, but it also supports healthy brain function.

Researchers opine that the healthy fats found in walnuts, apart from the polyphenols and vitamin E help in reducing the oxidative stress levels, which can act down on any inflammation and damage.

Another surprising benefit it offers is in improving cognitive skills and health. From improving memory, learning skills, faster processing speed and much more, walnuts should be especially given to younger children. Small clinical trials have also found walnuts to be helpful for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and degenerative brain diseases, the results of which are surely encouraging.

Makes for a good snack

From the high fibre content to the protein value, walnuts make for an easy snack to have when you crave for junk food. Not only does it help in inducing satiety (the feeling of fullness), the nutritional count also ensures that what you have is full of benefits. Satiety and lowered calorie consumption can help reduce and manage weight, provide better energy as well. Therefore, it’s something you must consider adding to your diet

May reduce the risk of certain cancers

A lot of promising studies have found that regular consumption of walnuts has been linked to a lower risk of developing certain types of cancer, including breast, colorectal and prostate cancers, all common today.

One strong reason for this is the presence of a certain unique polyphenol in walnuts, which out gut microbes convert into anti-inflammatory agents called urolithins.

Anti-inflammatory properties also support healthy living and ageing.

Cuts down the risk of Type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure

Diabetes and Blood Pressure ailments are common in today’s day and age. A healthy diet and lifestyle are keys to fighting these diseases and including walnuts is one good preventive step to keep your health in check.

From the good carb, fibre and trace minerals, all help regulate body functions and eliminate toxins from the body. Walnuts also work to decrease inflammation levels in the body, which cause a number of complications linked to diabetes.

Good for your gut

What you eat strongly affects your gut functioning and immunity. Eating walnuts is one way to ensure good gut health.

Walnuts promote the growth of good gut microbiota, which help the body sustain in a number of ways including ensuring good digestion, cutting down inflammation, risk of chronic diseases etc.

Promote good reproductive health

Another surprising benefit of having walnuts is for your reproductive system. Rich Omega-3 levels found naturally in walnuts can take care of a lot of fertility issues in both men and women. For men, regular consumption of walnuts has also been linked to healthier sperm count.

Are there any risks and side-effects of having walnuts?

Remember, too much of anything is never good for the body.

While walnuts ensure that you obtain a healthy source of nutrients and vitamins, excess consumption can create problems.

Since walnuts are dense in calories, some researchers believe that unmoderated consumption can lead to weight gain.

For people with sensitive stomachs, uncontrolled intake of walnuts can disturb the digestion. IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), diarrhoea and digestive issues may be commonly experienced.

Again, walnuts should be carefully had. Children especially should consume nuts such as these under supervision, otherwise, it could lead to choking.

What’s the best way to have walnuts? How many walnuts can you consume in a day?

Having 1-2 walnuts a day is enough to garner you all health benefits.

That being said, having them the right way will ensure that you get maximum benefits. While they can be had by simply removing the hard outer shell, one of the best ways to consume walnuts is by leaving them to soak overnight. As per experts, soaking walnuts and other nuts helps in reducing the overall cholesterol levels in the body.

Pregnant women should also consume walnuts after soaking them first. Eating them in the mornings can also ward off fatigue and regulate blood pressure levels in the body. If you have been watching what you eat, keep soaked/raw walnut pieces as snacks.

They can also be had in the form of trail mixes, added to salads and smoothies.

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