Walnuts are a symbol of intellectuality since ancient times. They are often been thought as a “brain food” not only because of wrinkled brain like appearance of their shell but because of high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids.
Walnuts are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which are used in the formation of cell walls, making them supple and flexible by improving blood circulation and oxygen uptake. They are also known to reduce inflammation through the body, in the blood vessels, joints and elsewhere. Omega-3 deficiencies are linked to decreased memory and mental abilities, tingling sensation in the nerves, poor vision, and increased tendency to form blood clots. Diminishes immune function, increases triglycerides, bad cholesterol levels (LDL) etc.
Omega-3 is abundantly found in wheat, pearl millet, pulses, green leafy vegetables, fenugreek, flax seed, mustard seeds, nuts, canola oil, mustard oil etc. Meat eaters can get their dosage from cold water fishes such as salmon tuna, or Indian fishes such as Gangetic blow fish and puffer fish.
Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development. They help stimulate skin and hair growth, maintain bone health, regular metabolism, along with maintaining the reproductive system.
They are rich in fibre, Vitamin B, magnesium and anti-oxidants. Nuts in general are also high in plant sterols and fat. Walnuts indeed have significantly higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids compared to other nuts.
Nuts in general are high in calories, so moderation is the key. The best approach is to reap the health benefits of eating walnuts but not add excessive calories to your daily intake. Therefore instead of just adding walnuts to your daily diet, eat them in replacement of foods that are high in saturated fats and limit your intake of these tasty treats to the recommended about 8-12 walnuts per day.
Health benefits of walnuts
► For the health of heart: It has been proved that eating walnuts benefit the heart and circulatory system tremendously. walnuts contain healthy fats known to improve artery functions
► Good for brain: For your brain to operate at its highest potential you need to make sure that the surrounding fat is healthy. Fatty acids in walnuts provide this omega-3 fat to the brain.
► Mood alleviator: Studies have shown that if kids do not have adequate omega-3, it can lead to hyperactivity, irritability leading to more tantrums. By supplementing their diet with walnuts will do them good.
► Help beat insomnia: Walnuts are a natural source of a particular hormone, melatonin which makes you feel tired and help you sleep.
► Prevent gall stones: Consuming walnuts decreases the risk of gall stone
► Protects bone health: Due the anti-inflammatory properties, they keep the bones strong as they decrease in strength with age.
► Helps in weight loss: These nuts are most sought after foods that support weight loss and prevent obesity. Eating the right amount of walnuts can prevent natural weight gain.
► Helps diabetes: While type-2 diabetes is primarily related to insulin metabolism, there are many associated problems that one might have trouble with especially, cardio vascular problems. Including walnuts in the diet can benefit those with type-2 diabetes.
► Anti-cancer benefits: Walnuts contain a number of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients that have anti-cancer benefits.
■ Walnuts add a tasty crunch to your dish. Toasted walnuts can be added to your salad or pasta to add some crunch.
■ Walnuts can be cracked and eaten as it is.
■ Instead of layering pepperoni, used chopped walnuts in your pizza.
■ Use walnuts as your protein choice by sprinkling chopped walnuts in your oatmeal or breakfast cereal.
■ They contain plenty of high quality protein that can substitute for meat, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna