Walnuts are the fruit of an ancient tree, dating back to 7,000BC. In Greek mythology, the tree was revered as a symbol of immortality. In some ancient cultures, the walnut tree was also a symbol of fertility, in others – a symbol of mystical, universal wisdom and knowledge. Walnuts never cease to amaze us and with good reason…
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING WALNUTS?
We know that nuts can be some of the healthiest Superfoods when consumed in moderation. One of the better nuts for health is the walnut. Walnuts are high in healthy fats, fiber, protein, antioxidants, minerals. Their consumption has been associated with lowering risk for heart disease, gallstone, diabetes in women, lowering general inflammation, possibly lowering risk for some cancers etc.
Walnuts may help you:
– improve your mood & fight depression
– improve your brain health (by improving memory, learning ability, etc.)
– boost your heart health
– help you with skin care
– lose weight
– prevent cancer
– have healthier and longer life, etc.
What are the health benefits of eating walnuts & the reasons to eat them on a daily bases?
1. Walnuts are a source of Omega 3’s, vitamins and minerals
Walnuts have the highest amount of Omega 3’s compared to other nuts. Most Americans tend to not get enough Omega 3 fatty acids in the diet. Research studies continue to uncover the health benefits of getting adequate amounts of Omega 3’s in the diet. Eating some walnuts before a meal can help you boost your intake of this essential fatty acid.
Walnuts are also a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Walnuts are a good source of magnesium and phosphorus. Eating walnuts before meals, or anytime, can help you reach the recommended daily intake of magnesium. A serving of walnuts also provides 25% Daily Value for copper, 4% for iron and 2% for calcium.
2. Walnuts are important for Heart Health
One of the walnuts’ major health benefits is associated with promoting heart health. Walnuts are a source of antioxidants and can protect cells from oxidation. They’re particularly high in an antioxidant called ellagic acid with strong anti-inflammatory effects. Another reason walnuts are important for heart health is they can have a positive influence on cholesterol levels.
3. Walnuts & Brain Health
Walnuts’ Omega-3 fats are important for supporting memory and thought processing. Research shows that walnuts can help develop over three dozen neurotransmitters in the brain. The benefits of Omega-3’s are especially important for children. A lack of essential Omega-3’s may result in conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other memory impairments.
4. Cancer Prevention
Thanks to being a great anti-inflammatory food and the polyphenol antioxidants, walnuts nutrition benefits immune function and can help prevent cancer formation. Some research has shown walnuts are part of a diet that acts like a natural cancer treatment. In 2013, researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center found that the walnut-enriched diet reduces the number of tumors and the growth significantly.
5. Appetite control
Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have demonstrated that consuming walnuts activates an area in the brain associated with regulating hunger and cravings. The combination of fats, protein, and fiber in walnuts help you keep feeling satisfied after you eat them.
6. Skin care
Along with a balanced daily diet, snacking on the right foods gives you a dose of essential nutrients needed for a glowing complexion and normal skin-healing. Walnuts are a good choice because they contain high doses of protein as well as certain vitamins and minerals for skin health.
– Protein and Skin Healing – According to the Cleveland Clinic, walnuts are a protein-rich “power food.” The protein contains the building blocks that your body uses to produce cells and repair tissues, including your skin.
-Fibers – Fiber-rich foods help to remove excess fats and cholesterol from your body. This is critical for heart and blood vessel health, in addition to adequate blood circulation for your skin. Fibers also help to balance your blood glucose levels, which can improve wound healing and prevent infection (according to the Cleveland Clinic).
– Omega 3’s, zinc and vitamin E – These components in walnuts can help relieve a wide range of skin conditions. Zinc is very important for teenage and adult acne. On the other hand, the polyphenols in walnuts can help ease eczema, especially in children. Vitamin E is excellent for healing scars such as acne scars. It also keeps your skin looking youthful.
7. Healthier and longer life
The Harvard researchers pointed out that the composition of nuts (not just walnuts)—fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals—may provide “cardioprotective, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.” A handful of nuts a day keeps the doctor away—and might help you live longer, according to new results from two long-running Harvard studies.
“We found that people who ate nuts every day lived longer, healthier lives than people who didn’t eat nuts,” said study co-author Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. “…The daily nut-eaters were 20% less likely to have died during the course of the study than those who avoided nuts.”
8. Hormone and reproductive health
Walnuts are fantastic for hormone and reproductive health. The Omega-3’s together with high vitamin B6 content help balance hormones.
9. Walnuts and pregnancy
Walnuts are an excellent source of vital Omega-3’s during pregnancy. Eating walnuts regularly is particularly important in the last trimester when the baby’s brain is developing rapidly.
DELICIOUS WAYS TO ENJOY HEARTH-HEALTHY WALNUTS
Spread walnut butter on your morning toast instead of butter or cream cheese
Sprinkle chopped walnuts on cereal or yogurt
Toss walnuts into a salad
Top fruit or crackers with walnut butter
Try walnut-encrusted fish fillets or chicken
Add walnuts to brown rice to augment the protein in vegetarian main dishes.
For a heart-healthy dessert, dip walnut halves in melted dark chocolate and let it cool and harden
Keep a jar of walnuts on your desk to snack on throughout the day or…
Pack several single serving-size snack bags of walnuts mixed with dried cranberries (look for the kind that doesn’t have added sugar) to keep handy for breakfast or lunch on the run, etc.
HOW TO KEEP THIS SUPERFOOD FRESH?
Walnuts will last for a long time if you care for them properly. Keep them refrigerated if you’ll use them in a few weeks, but if you won’t need them for a month or more, store them in the freezer. Also… Keep them in an airtight container, to prevent absorbing odors from other foods in your fridge.