Walnuts have proved good for heart health, walnuts help to reduce the type of inflammation that leads to heart disease, help lower chances of a blood clot that causes a heart attack. Two large studies found that five servings of nuts a week can reduce risk of heart disease by as much as 50%.
Walnuts, an admirable snack used for thousands of years is loaded with lots of health benefits. In ancient Rome, walnut is known as Juglansregia, which means “Jupiter’s royal acorn. “The origin of walnuts comes from Persia through Asia and Europe. Spanish missionaries brought them to California in the 1700s. Walnut skin often has a slightly bitter taste, but the nut is mild, earthy, and sweet.Walnuts are rich in good kind of fats — polyunsaturated fats, better than saturated fats and also have a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids.Walnuts have significantly high amounts of essential fatty acid known as omega-3 (alpha – linolenic acid (ALA) fat than any other nut, it provides 2.5 grams per 28-gram serving. According to the Institute of Medicine, adequate intake of ALA is 1.6g and 1.1g per day for men and women respectively which is fulfilled just by a single serving of walnuts. Observational studies have shown that each gram of ALA eaten per day lowers the risk of dying from heart disease by 10%.
Studies have shown that eating walnuts can help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in specifically.Some studies also state that eating a walnut-rich meal prevents oxidative damage of “bad” LDL cholesterol and is beneficial because oxidized LDL is prone to build up in arteries, causing atherosclerosis. Cholesterol usually forms plaque inside the arteries, hence by eating walnuts we can keep the artery walls healthy.
Walnuts have proved good for heart health, walnuts helps to reduce the type of inflammation that leads to heart disease, help lower chances of a blood clot that causes a heart attack. Two large studies found that five servings of nuts a week can reduce risk of heart disease by as much as 50%. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 30 grams of walnuts contains: Energy: 200 calories, Carbohydrate 3.89 grams (g), Sugar: 1 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 5 g, Fat: 20 g, Calcium: 20 milligrams (mg), Iron: 0.72 mg, Sodium: 0 mg. Walnuts are also a good source of Manganese, copper, magnesium, Phosphorus, vitamin B6, iron. Copper and phosphorus promotes heart health. It also helps maintain bone, nerve, and immune system function. Vitamin B6 strengthens the immune system and supports nerve health. Vitamin B6 deficiency can cause anemia. Walnuts contain high levels of a special form of vitamin E called gamma-tocopherol which have many health benefits. The antioxidant activity in walnuts is much higher in comparison to other nuts, the activity comes from vitamin E, melatonin and plant compounds called polyphenols, which are high in the papery skin of walnuts. Inflammation is at the root of many diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, caused by oxidative stress. A subgroup of polyphenols called ellagitannins, present in walnuts can help fight this oxidative stress and inflammation. Some studies show that walnuts contain a type of acid called ellagic acid, phytosterol and antioxidants which is suggested to cut the odds of some types of cancer. Bacteria in stomach and intestines change this ellagic acid into compounds called urolithins with antioxidant power, which help ward off cancer and prevent tumours. But more research is required to know about it. ALA omega-3 fat, magnesium and the amino acid arginine in walnuts may also decrease inflammation. Health and other microbes (your gut microbiota),in the gut are responsible for overall good health. An unhealthy composition of microbiota contributes to inflammation,intestinal disorders and problems elsewhere in body, increasing risk of obesity, heart disease and cancer. Diet of a person significantly influences the makeup of microbiota. Eating walnuts may support the health of microbiota of the gut. Walnuts help to increase the healthy gut bacteria that produce butyrate, a fat that nourishes and promotes gut health. Eating walnuts may even help control your appetite as it has a good satiety value. Walnuts are rich in calories, but studies suggest that the energy absorbed from them is 21% lower than would be expected based on their nutrients .Observational studies also suggest that walnuts may help to lower risk of type 2 diabetes by helping to control weight. Excess weight increases the risk of sugar spikes and diabetes. Walnuts are also used to make walnut oil — an expensive culinary oil frequently used in salad dressings. Use of cold-pressed walnut oil in diet plans along with medication helps decrease in fasting blood sugar and also improves the haemoglobin A1C (3-month average blood sugar) test. Walnuts should be eaten by pregnant ladies as it helps to reduce the symptoms of nausea and in proper brain development in children. Walnuts also do wonders for the hair. It’s rich in biotin, prevents hair fall, improves hair texture and makes it strong. Eating walnuts also prevents ageing as of their antioxidant properties. Walnuts can be included in daily diet by adding to breakfast cereals like porridge, oats or muesli. Crushed walnuts can be sprinkled on salad or cooked vegetables.1-2 soaked almonds can be taken every day in the morning.
The authors are Associate professors at SKUAST-K Division of FST