Walnut is delicious nut, which is widely used in culinary dishes all like pies, cookies, salads and curries. It adds a wonderful texture and delicious flavor to all these dishes and is also loved as a simple nut. It hails from tree nut family called juglans regia, which has some other popular members like cashew nuts, hazel nuts and pistachios. The sturdy looking seed lies inside a hard shell and is covered with a brown colored seed coat. China is the worldwide leader among the producers of walnuts while India takes the 7th position in the list. Besides their amazing taste, these delicious nuts are loaded with essential nutrients and are very good for health.
Walnuts are a storehouse of proteins, fiber, minerals and vitamins, including iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, Vitamin A, B6, C, E and K and folate, thiamine, niacin and riboflavin. Additionally, these nuts are low in cholesterol and sodium, which makes them highly beneficial. Also, they contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, namely linoleic acid and alpha-linoleic acid (omega 3 fatty acid). Flavoinoids, tannins and phenoilc acid occur in abundance in the skin of these nuts. The presence of a large number of nutrients and healthy fatty acids accounts for a large array of health benefits of this delightful nut.
Listed below are 10 benefits of walnuts:
1. Good for Heart
Walnuts/walnut oil is effective for decreasing both LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol levels and at the same time, increasing HDL (good) cholesterol level. The reason is that walnuts are rich in heart-friendly omega 3 fatty acids. These healthy nuts increase the levels of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) in blood, which provides a natural safeguard against stroke and coronary artery disease. Regular consumption of walnuts is also beneficial for prevention of narrowing of arteries and plaque formation on arterial walls.
2. Useful for Regulation of Blood Pressure
Another benefit of walnuts is that they are good for regulation of blood pressure, as they are high in magnesium and calcium. Additionally, being a low sodium nut, they can be useful snack time option for patients of hypertension.
3. Useful for diabetics
Daily consumption of walnuts has been shown to be highly beneficial for those suffering from type 2 diabetes. Studies have linked daily intake of walnuts with a reduced risk of diabetes.
4. Protection against Cancer
Walnuts are loaded with nutrients and phytochemicals, which give it both anti inflammatory and anti cancer properties. As a result, these provide protection against certain types of cancers, including those of prostate and breast.
5. Weight Regulation
Another major health benefit of these crunchy nuts is weight regulation, which is due to the presence of omega 3 fatty acids and phytonutrients such as flavonoids, tannins and phenolic acids in them. Though these are g high in calories, still they have the ability to prevent obesity on account of presence of these anti-inflammatory nutrients.
6. Healthy and Strong Bones
These nuts are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which make them anti-inflammatory in nature. Thus, they become useful against inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Another way in which they promote strong and healthy bones is by countering bone loss caused by osteoporosis.
7. Immunity Boosters
Next among the benefits of walnuts is the fact that these are natural immunity boosters. With high levels of protective anti oxidants, they enhance your ability to fight against diseases and infections and strengthen your immune system.
8. Boosts Digestive Health
The presence of dietary fiber in walnuts makes them useful for proper functioning of digestive system. It ensures that the bowels are cleared effectively and digestive problems like constipation do not surface.
9. Brain health
Omega 3 fatty acids found in walnuts are helpful in combating problems like memory loss, depression and stress, in addition to being useful for Alzheimers disease. Another potent compound called melatonin has the ability to counter insomnia and sleep disorders.
10. Healthy Skin
In addition to tasting great, walnuts can help you look beautiful too. The B vitamins as well as vitamin E in these nuts provide protection against free radicals, consequently preventing formation of wrinkles and premature ageing. Additionally, walnuts lend radiance and youthful glow to your skin.
Besides all these benefits, walnuts are considered as a wonderful pregnancy snack as can help combat nausea and enhance brain development in the fetus. Walnuts are useful for improving hair growth and strengthening hair roots, making them a natural hair tonic.