- Diet & Weight Loss
Walnuts Health and Nutrition
The little walnut is a big help to our systems, full of vitamins and minerals and packed with omega-3. Some of walnuts health and nutrients are widely known, others not so much.
It has been nicknamed 'the brain nut' because of the kernel's appearance, looking like a brain. As you will read, it does in fact help the brain in a variety of ways.
Walnuts Health and Nutrition
The high concentration of omega-3 in walnuts (less than half a cupful provides 100% of the daily recommendation) has so many health benefits; to the cardiovascular system, the brain, respiratory system, inflammatory diseases like arthritis and inflammatory skin disease like psoriasis and eczema.
Walnuts also contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant supporting the immune system, and fighting cancer.
These tasty little nuts help the cardiovascular system by keeping the bloodstream running clear, less likely to clot, (leading to heart attack) and keeping a balance in cholesterol levels, improving the HDL, or good cholesterol, and decreasing levels of LDL, bad cholesterol. Keeping this system clear also helps prevent stroke, one way walnuts help the brain, another being that they promote good cognitive function.
They also contain amino acids, beneficial in cases of hypertension. The amino acid (l-arginine) converts into the chemical nitric oxide, which helps smooth the inner walls of blood vessels, and help them relax.
Some people tend to avoid nuts as they feel they are high in calories. This may be so, but when used as a substitute for other foods, like meat or cheese, walnuts health and nutrition far outweigh the calorie content. 100 g of walnuts hold almost 600 calories, but if you substitute them, sprinkle them on a salad in place of cheese or cooked meats, you actually have a healthier meal.
A good portion of walnuts fats are mono unsaturated fats, which are actually necessary to the system.
It is usually recommended to use walnuts about four times a week, so you're getting all the goodness without overdoing the calories.
Or you can just take a small handful every evening, or mid-afternoon, as a snack.
Another good tip is to eat them after a meal with a high fat content. They will help stop fats from accumulating in the arteries, even more so than olive oil, which is known to help in this way. They will lower levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as improving blood flow.
Omega-3 is very important to the diet of old and young alike, in fact a study at PerdueUniversity looked into the relationship of ADHD and low omega-3 diets.
The study showed that children low in the omega-3 were "significantly more likely to be hyperactive, and learning disorders and to display behavioural problems." The children with less omega-3 in their diet showed a greater number of behavioural problems, temper tantrums, and erratic sleep, as well as learning problems and health problems.
Walnuts among other nuts, and shown to be helpful in preventing gallstones and gall bladder disease. Studies have shown that eating at least 1 ounce of nuts, peanuts or peanut butter weekly will lower the risk of gallstones by 25%
Adding walnuts to your green salad or vegetables, or on desserts at evening meal time will help promote restful sleep.
The melatonin in walnuts helps in inducing and regulating sleep.
An excellent dessert idea is pears or apples, raw or cooked, with added walnuts. Healthy and delicious!
The antioxidants which fight damage from free radicals, help reduce risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative disease, like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
You may laugh at children getting peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast or in the lunchbox, but it is actually quite a healthy meal. Particularly if you use organic peanut butter, and home-made jams and jellies, especially from cherries or concord grapes, on whole wheat bread. You'd be amazed at how much good you are doing your body!
Apart from walnuts; hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts are also good. As are peanuts, (although not strictly a nut, they are pulses) and peanut butter.
About 1 1/2 ounces of nuts per day, (10 walnuts, or 20 halves) will give you the benefits you need, without overdoing the calories.
Walnuts also contain manganese and copper, two very essential minerals for our defences. They also are a good source of magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron and phosphorus, and trace amounts of iodine. They are very low in sodium.
Walnuts have high levels of vitamins B1, 2, 3, and 6 as well as vitamin E.
These crinkly little brain shaped nuts contain so much goodness, you should definitely buy some next time you're out shopping. A very tasty, healthy component of 'Mother Natures Pharmacy'.