A Walnut a Day Keeps You Healthy and Wise

From time immemorial, nuts have remained an indispensable part of man’s diet.  This was apparent from the recent archaeological survey conducted at Israel, which showed ample evidence, that 780,000 years ago nuts were dominant in a man’s diet.  The findings were a few tools used for breaking nuts, along with seven different varieties of nuts that have been prevalent for long.

Benefits of Walnuts

Health Benefits of Walnuts (Image source: morgueFile.com)

History and Origin

The scientific name, Juglans Regia, dates back to the ancient Greeks, who called them “Jovis Glans” meaning “Jupiter’s Royal Acorn” or “Jupiter’s Nut.”  According to ancient Greek legends, during the Golden Age, the Gods lived on walnuts alone, wherein men lived on acorns.  However, in due course of time, Jovis Glans became Juglans Regia.

 

walnut tree

A walnut tree (Image source: sxc.hu)

Native to the Indian Himalayas and China, the Persian walnuts according to history had its origin in Persia. Since they were retained for royalty, they were known as “The Royal Nut.”  From Persia, “The Royal Nut,” moved on to Lebanon, slowly finding its way to Israel, long before the writing of the Holy Bible.  Later, during the Middle Ages, the wonder nut reached England, and was used by English ships throughout the Mediterranean as a common trade.  Since the English spread the popularity of the walnut around the world, they were eventually known as “The English Walnut

 

Walnuts Nutrition Facts

walnuts in a bowl

Walnuts in a bowl (Image source: sxc.hu)

Walnuts contain essential omega-3 fatty acids, by way of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in higher amounts when compared to other nuts.  Walnuts are an excellent source of popyphenolic antioxidants, manganese and copper.  Besides this, they offer calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, vanadium, vitamin E in the form of gamma-tocopherol and zinc in large amounts.  They contain abundant anti-inflammatory properties along with phenolic acids and tannins such as ellagitannins and tellimagrandins combined with huge varieties of flavonoids.

 

Health Benefits of Walnuts – 25 Superb Reasons to Incorporate Walnuts  in Our Diet

“Good Things Come in Small Packages”,  this is especially true in the case of The Royal Nut, considering incredible health benefits of walnuts.  A super food with twice the amount of antioxidants, than any other nuts, they make an exceptional vegan source of omega 3 fatty acids and proteins, found abundantly in non-vegetarian foods.  According to various studies, consuming 14 walnut halves or 7-shelled walnuts were adequate to enjoy its potential health and nutritional benefits.

 

1)     Walnut Benefits for Heart Health

Due to their high concentrations of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), Walnuts offer extraordinary cardio protective benefits.  They are an excellent source of Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated fats, rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, which when converted to Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) help improve blood vessels preventing blood clotting and plaque deposits on the arterial walls.  Therefore, a handful of Walnuts, taken every day, on a regular basis, helps reduce the possibilities of developing heart disease.

 

2) Walnuts are Blood Pressure Friendly

According to recent findings of the Pennsylvania State University, it was ascertained that adding 1.3 ounces of walnuts and 1 tablespoon of walnut oil to people’s diets lowered resting blood pressure levels considerably.  Nevertheless, it also produced a lower blood pressure in response to stress.

 

3) Walnuts are Cholesterol Safe

Since walnuts are a rich source of antioxidants, Gallic acid, Ellagic acid, vitamin E, and Phenols, they help maintain healthy cholesterol levels by raising theHDL(good cholesterol) and lowering the bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood.  Due to their anti-inflammatory properties walnuts help reduce C – reactive protein (CRP), a major harbinger of heart disease.

 

4) Atherosclerosis Prevention

Atherosclerosis is a condition when cholesterol and other fat deposits in the blood build up on the arterial walls creating a hardened structure called plaque.  These deposits lead to clogging or blocked arteries, cutting off blood flow to the vital organs of the body.  First, omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid in walnuts has the ability to lowers triglycerides and stop blood platelets from clumping together making the blood less sticky enabling smooth flow.

 

5) Walnuts Control Arrhythmias

Walnut prevents heart from skipping a beat. The Oil in walnut aids in prevention of erratic heart rhythms known as Arrhythmias.

 

6) Metabolic Syndrome relief

Walnuts help metabolic related problems manifested through high triglycerides, obesity, reduced HDL (good cholesterol)  levels and uncontrolled hypertension.  According to studies consuming an ounce of walnuts for 2 to 3 months regularly, reduced metabolic problems considerably, decreasing fat deposits around abdomen.

 

7) Diabetes Care
diabetes

(Image source: sxc.hu)

Diabetes is always associated with high or fluctuating Glucose levels and insulin metabolism.  Research suggests that consuming walnuts might have beneficial effects on diabetes.  According to a recent study, including a handful of walnuts in diabetic diet helped the blood vessels widen and relax enabling smooth blood flow along with reduced chances of overall cardiac risk.

 

8) Hormones Support

Rich in phytonutrients besides being abundant in calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorous and selenium, walnuts assist in stabilising body hormones.

 

9) Walnuts have Cancer Fighting Properties

Walnuts hold twice many antioxidants, compared to other nuts.  Hence, they are acclaimed to have several cancer fighting benefits.  The melatonin, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in walnut contain anti cancer benefits decreasing risk of prostrate, colon and breast cancers.

 

10) Walnuts are good for Brain

Benefits of Walnuts for brainAccording to an old-fashioned thinking, based on a particular food’s appearance, one can gauge its nutritive effects pertaining to a specific part of the body.  From ancient times, walnut has been a symbol of intellectuality, as their kernels resemble a brain.  Hence, they are called “Brain Food,” fit to treat brain injuries and enhance cognitive function.  With high levels of omega3 fatty acids, walnuts help exit all the waste cells processing important nutrients entering the brain cell.  The fatty acids also keep the brain fat healthy, providing improved memory and cognitive thought process.

 

11) Walnut Prevents Alzheimer’s disease

By arresting the formation of the amyloid plaques in the brain, one of the main factors for development of this dreadful disease, walnuts offers protection from risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease

 

12) Walnut Benefits in Sleep Regulation

Melatonin acts as a molecule messenger to the nervous system.  Melatonin with its regulatory properties, signals the brain when work is done and induces sleep.  However, with advancing years there is a marked reduction in the production of melatonin.  Therefore, senior citizens suffer from insomnia.  As walnuts have a natural bountiful source of Melatonin, with approximately 3.6 nanograms per gram, they promote sleep and prevent insomnia.  To prevent insomnia, taking a handful of nuts before retiring to bed promote blissful sleep. [Check these foods for good sleep]

 

13) Alleviates ADHD

According to various studies, children with inadequate levels of omega3 fatty acids were more prone to learning disorders and hyperactivity, exhibiting symptoms of behavioural problems. However, the high concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids found in walnuts prevent these conditions regulating sleeping patterns.

 

14) Anti Inflammatory Properties

Walnuts have anti inflammatory properties and other phytonutrients, such as omega 3 fatty acids, phenolic acid, tannins, flavanoids, and quinones like jug lone preventing occurrence of anti inflammatory diseases.

 

15) Walnut Aids Weight Loss

Generally, due to high fat content, dieters are apprehensive about including Walnuts in their dieting plan.  However, with high levels of omega 3 fatty acids, dietary fibre and protein, walnuts are heart healthy, reducing cholesterol levels markedly.  Therefore, people who added walnuts in their daily diet, showed noticeable improvement in their cholesterol levels, with a significant reduction in fat accumulation, especially around the abdomen.  Since most of the nuts are high in fat, snacking them in moderation is recommended, avoiding salty store bought nuts.

 

16) Benefits of Walnuts for Stronger Bones

It is a known fact that bones get weaker with age, decreasing bone mineral density, often leading to osteoporosis.  Nevertheless, alpha linolenic acid, one of the essential fatty acids in walnuts has been associated with stronger, healthier bones.  Therefore, consumption of walnuts will make bones harder since walnuts have a protective effect against the natural age-related mineral depletion and deterioration of bones, preventing risk of Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.

 

17) Walnuts Prevent Liver Ailments

Since walnuts maintain the metabolism in the body, they reduce the stress on the liver preventing liver ailments.

 

18) Gall Stones Prevention

Repeatedly there has been ample evidence of nuts playing a significant role in the decreased risk of gallstones.  Since walnuts contain monounsaturated fats, high dietary fibre and omega 3 fats, frequent consumption help protect heart disease by maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.  The effects of walnuts on these blood lipids could be one of the main factors for cutting down risk of gallstones.  Hence, a handful of walnuts consumed everyday may prevent gall bladder stones risk by 25%.

19) Improves Immune Health

Walnuts packed with highest level of polyphenolic antioxidants than other nuts scavenge free radicals within the body caused by exposure to harmful pollutants, UV radiations, smoke, stress and junk foods.  Eating a few walnuts everyday can help fight the toxins building better immunity, saying good-bye to toxins.

 

20) Benefits of Walnuts for Digestive Health

Walnut contains natural laxative effects and helps ease mild constipation.  Regular consumption of walnuts boost metabolism, which in turn promotes good digestion, enhancing appetite.

 

21) Anti-Ageing Properties

The harmful toxins in the body are one of the main factors that accelerate ageing.  Due to loads of antioxidants, walnuts offer anti ageing benefits by getting rid of unwanted toxins in the body.

 

22) Walnut Enhances Skin Texture

Certain fatty acids and phytonutrients in walnuts contribute towards a glowing healthy skin.  The omega3, vitamins B-1, B-2, and B-3, coupled with vitamin-E and niacin content in walnuts help retain the essential nutrients and moisture within keeping the skin elastic and supple.  Hence, Walnut oils used as part of a regular beauty regime, for enhancing the quality of skin prevent dryness, wrinkles and fine lines. (Also read home remedies for wrinkles)

  

23) Prevents Skin Diseases

Due to their antifungal and anti inflammatory properties walnuts were used to treat various skin disorders and fungal infections such as eczema, athlete’s foot, Psoriasis, Candida, acne, pimples, psoriasis, scabies, inflamed skin, sunburn and itchy scalp.  Walnut oil rubbed on the skin before a bath helped soothe inflammation

 

24) Walnuts Improve Male Fertility

There is growing evidence of a direct relationship between a man’s diet and the quality of the sperm produced.  Due to their high levels of a-linolenic acid, a natural plant source of omega-3, walnuts have been associated with better levels of male fertility. According to recent research, to enhance male fertility consuming half a cup of walnuts, for a period of 12 weeks worked well.  .

 

25) Helpful During Pregnancy

Walnuts are crucial for expectant mothers.  Loaded with magnesium, walnuts reduce risk of developing pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, conditions characterized by rocketing blood pressure combined with seizures, during final trimester of pregnancy.  Hence, to prevent such dangerous complications, pregnant women are strongly recommended consumption of walnuts, as they are a good source of proteins, Vitamin B complex, high folate, riboflavin, thiamine and omega-3 fats to encourage the overall health and development of the growing baby.  Walnuts help in development of nervous system, the brain, concentration and IQ levels of the child, when older.  They also prevent post partum depressions in pregnant mothers.  Therefore consuming walnuts after the baby’s birth too is essential for improving the supply of breast milk.

 

Precautions

Walnuts, processed or plain, may cause allergic reactions in certain people.  Under the circumstances, avoiding walnuts proves beneficial.  Nonetheless, before incorporating any new foods to regular diet, consult a Medical Practitioner.

 

Instead of reaching out for calorie-laden snacks, crunchy walnuts are a scrumptious way to add extra nutrition and flavour to any meal.  So cracking these healthy nuts everyday helps keep you healthy, wealthy and wise!

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