Walnuts are delicious and tasty seeds that belong to tree nut family of cashews, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, and pine, and they are from the Juglans genus. Walnuts are round and single-seeded fruits enclosed in an inedible and thick husk. The fruits are encased in a hard and two-halved shell. Walnuts have been thought to be a brain food due to their medicinal properties and their brain structure shape which makes them termed as a “symbol of intelligence“, believed to enhance intellect.
The nuts contain numerous nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, essential fatty acids (EFAs), and other essential minerals to offer many health benefits. They are seen as “power food” because of their ability to improve body stamina. Walnuts provide various health benefits such as prevention and control of diabetes, lowering of body’s bad cholesterol, weight management, skin health, erectile dysfunction remedy, improvement of metabolism, and much more.
This content will highlight some of the key benefits of walnuts to the body. Before we proceed, let’s know more about walnuts’ nutritional values for them to offer so much health benefits.
Nutritional values of Walnuts
Many researchers have carried out many National Nutritional Databases and have reported thorough research on the nutritional values of walnuts. It has been reported that walnuts are equipped with omega-3 fatty acids couple with selenium and iodine that are responsible for optimal brain functions. Apart from these important nutrients, below are additional nutritional values of walnuts:
- 1 ounce of walnuts contains 4 grams of carbohydrates, 30 grams of energy calories, 4 grams of protein, 18 grams of fats (inclusive of both saturated and unsaturated fats), 20 mg of phytosterols, and 2 grams dietary fibre.
- Walnuts also contain minerals such as sodium, selenium, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus.
- The fruits are equipped with numerous vitamins such as riboflavin, vitamin A, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin K, pantothenic acid, vitamin B12, folate, thiamin, and vitamin B6.
- Walnuts also contain carotenoids such as zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene.
Key Health Benefits of Walnuts
Walnuts are a tasty supplement that can be easily incorporated in the diets to serve different purposes. Apart from this, they are enriched with numerous significant properties including proteins and antioxidants to offer several health benefits. Below are the most celebrated health benefits of walnuts:
- Prevention and control of diabetes: A study has been reported and published that “consumption of walnuts is inversely proportional to the chances of having type 2 diabetes“. The nuts have been shown to enhance the parameter of metabolism in type 2 diabetic people. The high amount of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats contained in walnuts have been shown to help people with diabetes without presumed weight gain by reducing insulin level.
- Glowing skin and anti-aging: Walnuts are equipped with minerals and vitamins to help skin glowing and younger. This is the reason why walnut oil is recommended for the ageless and flawless skin as antioxidants contained in walnuts are helpful in fighting wrinkles to promote healthy skin. Walnuts are also found to cure skin problem such as psoriasis by applying it topically or use its oil directly on the body.
- Effective weight management: Research has established that a number of calories, fats, and carbohydrate found in walnuts (believed to cause weight gain) have been found to promote ideal weight. Walnuts fats and calories nutrients are discovered to be healthier than any other nuts in the family.
- Healthy male reproduction: Walnuts contain medicinal properties to improve reproductive health in men. It has been found to have significant effects on male fertility such as sperm quality, motility, morphology, and sperm vitality. Consumption of Western-style diet containing 75 grams of walnuts daily has been studied to help erectile dysfunction in men.
- Healthy heart function: The omeg-3 contained in walnuts is a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids similar to oleic acid in other substances which enhances healthy heart. The nuts are also rich in essential fatty acids like linoleic acid, arachidonic acids, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) to aid coronary cardiovascular disease prevention through the supply of healthy lipid. The intake of 25 grams of walnuts daily is enough for daily recommended essential fatty acids which minimize the chances of heart diseases as well as high blood pressure.
- Prevent cancer: Some of the nutrients such as antioxidants and phenolic compound contained in walnuts have been researched by Carvalho et al. (2010), to help control cancer cells growth in the body. A study also proved that walnuts are capable of reducing the risk of prostate cancer as well as breast cancer by 30 – 40%.
- Promote healthy bone: Walnuts are rich in calcium and essential fatty acids (EFAs) to help secure the bone health by optimum deposition and absorption of calcium and control excretion of calcium urinary.
- Body inflammation reduction: Inflammation is not good for the body; however, an experiment conducted by Papoutsi and co., confirmed that walnuts are equipped with a phytochemical and polyphenolic compound to lower the effects of inflammation in the body.
- Sleep and relaxation enhancement: Walnuts has a bio-available sleep inducing hormone called melatonin to regulate and induce quality sleep and relaxation. Adding walnuts to your diet at dinner is a great option for good rest.
- Mood enhancement: A study has revealed that omega-3 fatty acids contained in walnuts reduce tantrum, irritability, and hyperactivity. This has been found helpful in children’s diet as it makes up the deficiency of essential fatty acids to boosts their moods. Supplementing the diet of people with stress and depression with walnuts also help their condition in boosting their moods.
The benefits of plant-based foods such as walnuts cannot be over-emphasized, considering the numerous advantages of the dry fruits to the body health. The benefits have been researched to cut across prevention and control of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, weight management, and much more. This article has been able to highlight some of these key benefits and taking advantage of these benefits will promote the overall health of your body.