Walnuts are edible seeds from the trees of Juglans genus. They are round, single-seeded fruits of the walnut tree. The fruit and seed of walnut are enclosed in a thick, inedible husk. The shell of the fruit that encloses the kernel is hard and two-halved.
Walnuts have always been considered as ‘brain food’, perhaps because the surface structure of the walnut has a crinkly appearance like that of the brain. Due to this reason, they have been considered as a symbol of intelligence, leading to the belief that they actually increase one’s intellect. While this is not exactly true, recent studies have proven that the consumption of these seeds does help in promoting brain function.
There are two types of walnuts; black and brown. We shall be talking about the brown walnut in detail.
Along with their delicious taste, walnuts have antioxidants and proteins that help in imparting a multitude of health benefits. They are also a delicious supplement and therefore can be easily included in anyone’s diet.
The health benefits of walnuts include reduction of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body, improvement in metabolism, weight management, and control of diabetes. Other important health benefits of walnuts stem from the fact that these nuts possess anti-inflammatory properties, improve brain health, and help as a mood booster. They are also believed to slow down the spread of cancer.
Nutritional Value Of Walnuts
Walnuts are 65% fat by weight and 15% protein. They are richer than most nuts in polyunsaturated fats and particularly rich in an omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid. Walnuts also have a relatively high amount of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
They are a rich source of vitamins, like vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and folate, as well as minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.
Walnuts also contain other essential minerals such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, as well as phytosterols. They are a good source of dietary fiber. They are rich sources of antioxidants like ellagic acid, catechin, melatonin, and phytic acid. Walnuts are also considered as ‘power food’ since they are believed to improve body stamina.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF WALNUTS
Walnuts have the capability of controlling the growth of cancer cells in the body. The phenolic compounds, omega-3 fatty acids, gamma-tocopherol, and other antioxidants found in them recorded a control on human cancer cells, including breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancer.
Improve Heart Function
Walnuts are rich in amino acid l-arginine, omega-3, and monounsaturated fatty acids (72%) like oleic acid. It also contains EFAs like linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and arachidonic acids. The inclusion of walnuts in any diet helps prevent coronary heart diseases by favoring a healthy lipid supply. Their consumption lowers the LDL (bad) cholesterol and increases the level of HDL (good) cholesterol. Consuming walnuts daily also helps lower the risk of high blood pressure.
Walnuts rank second in the list of ‘antioxidant-rich’ foods, after 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.
Walnuts are one of those nuts that helps you feel full, which means that it increases satiety. The rich source of protein and fiber makes it a healthy snacking option, especially for vegetarians.
Improve Male Fertility
Walnut has a positive impact on male fertility by improving sperm quality, quantity, vitality, and motility.
Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which increase the activity of the brain. Omega-3 fatty acids coupled with iodine and selenium add to ensuring optimum functioning of the brain. It also treats cognitive disorders like dementia and epilepsy.
People suffering from diabetes can have walnuts on a regular basis without any significant weight gain, since they contain a high amount of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Researchers say that the intake of nuts is inversely proportional to the risk of developing type-II diabetes.
Common Side Effects of Walnuts
- Allergy: Over consumption of walnuts may result in a range of allergic reactions from minor to lethal.
- Digestive issues: Too much consumption of walnut may lead to nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, bloating, and more.
- Weight gain: Although it is a source of good fats, taking too much of this nut can make your weight rise like nuts!