Walnuts are most often eaten on their own as a snack but can also be added to salads, pastas, breakfast cereals, soups, and baked goods.
These nuts are rich in omega-3 fats and contain higher amounts of antioxidants than most other foods. Eating walnuts may improve brain health and prevent heart disease and cancer
Nuts are very healthy, but some people are allergic and must avoid them.
Phytic acid (a healthy anti oxidant) may impair mineral absorption, though this is usually of no concern to people who eat a balanced diet.
Health Benefits of Walnuts
Let’s find out some of the major health benefits of walnuts.
Improve Heart Health
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), walnuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acids that have been shown to help improve heart health. Fresh raw walnuts are rich in amino acid l-arginine, and monounsaturated fatty acids (72%) like oleic acid.
It also contains essential fatty acids (EFAs), such as linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and arachidonic acids. The inclusion of these nuts in any diet can help prevent coronary heart diseases by favoring a healthy lipid supply.
A study published in the journal Metabolism suggests that consuming walnuts significantly lowered the LDL (bad) cholesterol and increased the level of HDL (good) cholesterol in the participants. Researchers at the University of Munich Medical Center, Germany, found that consuming walnuts also reduced ApoB levels, a marker used to evaluate the risk for cardiovascular diseases.
Walnuts help you feel full, which means that they increase satiety. Researchers from Harvard Medical School found that people who consumed shakes containing walnuts had an increased level of fullness during the day as compared to people who had placebo shakes. This study did, however, utilize a small size, so more research is needed to confirm these results. Regardless, the rich source of protein and fiber makes walnuts a healthy snacking option, especially for vegetarians.
Boost Bone Health
Walnuts contain copper and phosphorus both of which are essential in maintaining optimal bone health. Essential fatty acids found in walnuts secure the bone health of the body. They may increase calcium absorption and deposition while reducing urinary calcium excretion.
Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can help improve memory and focus. Omega-3 fatty acids, coupled with iodine and selenium ensure optimum functioning of the brain. These nuts are included in the Mediterranean diet and they are also known to give relief from cognitive disorders like dementia and epilepsy.
Walnuts rank second on the list of ‘antioxidant-rich’ foods, just under blackberries. The rare, powerful antioxidants such as quinone juglone, the tannin tellimagrandin, and the flavonol morin present in walnuts have remarkable free-radical scavenging power. These antioxidants also help prevent liver damage due to chemicals.
Walnut, along with EFAs, provide minerals like manganese, copper, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium to the body. These minerals help contribute to metabolic activities like growth and development, sperm generation, digestion, and nucleic acid synthesis.