Walnuts are wrinkly, bumpy, double lobed nuts of the Juglandaceae family. The edible kernels we know and love are technically fruits since they are formed within a fleshy green drupe that encloses the hard nut shell. Mild and smooth in taste and texture, walnuts can be enjoyed raw, toasted, and sprinkled atop many dishes and desserts to add some buttery crunch.
Walnuts also happen to be among the world’s healthiest foods.
1. Walnuts Are Incredibly Nutritious
Walnuts are an excellent source of healthy fats, protein, fiber, and minerals:
|Per Cup of Walnuts, Chopped||% of DV|
|Vitamin C||1.5 mg||3%|
|Vitamin E||0.8 mg||4%|
|Vitamin K||3.2 mcg||4%|
|Vitamin B6||0.6 mg||31%|
|Pantothenic Acid||0.7 mg||7%|
2. Walnuts Are Rich In Antioxidants
In addition to its vitamin C and E content, walnuts provide other important antioxidants.
According to a study published in Food Chemistry, walnut kernels are composed of at least seven phenolic compounds that display strong antioxidant activity. Of these, four were found to display higher free radical scavenging activity than Trolox, a positive control with a similar biochemical structure to vitamin E.
Although it is usually removed before consumption, the thin, papery skin that clings to the kernel of a shelled walnut demonstrates a much more potent antioxidant status than the nut itself. In a 2008 analysis comparing walnut skins (also referred to as hulls or pellicles) with dehulled walnut kernel flour, the skins displayed a higher margin of antioxidant activity. For example, the hulls of the Criolla variety of walnut had an antioxidant activity score of 286, but when the same variety was de-skinned and rendered into a flour, its antioxidant activity was reduced to 15.1.
The antioxidant content of walnuts have proved to be readily bioavailable as well. Just one hour after consuming walnuts, healthy volunteers had significantly higher concentrations of ellagitannins in their blood and urine per a 2014 study.
3. Walnuts Are A Good Source Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that provide a myriad of health benefits. These dietary fats have been associated with the prevention of cardiovascular disease, preserving cognitive function, and boosting fetal development.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are two types of omega-3 fats that are derived only from marine sources such as seafood, fermented cod liver oil, or krill oil. A third type of omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), is found only in plant sources like flaxseed, soy, canola, and walnuts.
ALA is a precursor to EPA and DHA. When we consume foods high in ALA, our bodies convert it into EPA and DHA.
While most research on omega-3 fats have focused on EPA and DHA, some studies have investigated the health effects of consuming foods high in ALA. In a 5-year study involving 605 patients, a high ALA diet reduced the incidence of death from cardiovascular disease and myocardial infarction compared to a standard diet. A 2009 review of the cardiovascular effects of consuming ALA rich flaxseed found that it is cardio protective and reduces many of the risk factors associated with heart disease. In the case of eating walnuts specifically, a small 2006 study found that eating just four walnuts per day for three weeks boosted ALA content in blood and significantly increased EPA and DHA levels as compared to baseline levels.
Read more: https://www.naturallivingideas.com/walnut-benefits/