The Good Nut: Walnuts and Health
Walnuts are tree nuts that are used all across the world, in a myriad of ways . From confectionary to breakfast food, and even curries, walnuts have been an ingredient in most cuisines. Walnuts also have quite the reputation as a health food. Remember the urban myth that since a walnut is shaped like your brain, it is good for your brain? It is not a surprise because walnuts actually do have a host of health benefits attached to them.
What nutrients do walnuts contain?
Walnuts contain essential minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc according to the USDA’s National Nutrient Database . In terms of vitamins, walnuts are a great source for Vitamin A, B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K. Walnuts also contain a lot of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which make it a great source for the healthy fats necessary for our bodies .
Why are walnuts good for us?
1) They promote good cardiovascular health
Multiple studies have proven that walnuts are good for our hearts. The regular consumption of walnuts has been linked with decreases in LDL cholesterol, a decrease in total cholesterol, an increase in gamma-tocopherol, and an increase in omega 3 fatty acids . All of these changes are good for cardiovascular health.
Walnuts also help prevent clots, as consumption can decrease the maximum platelet aggregation rate, as well as decrease platelet activation. This helps prevents aneurysms and other clot-related potentially fatal conditions.
2) Walnuts help treat metabolic syndromes
With the onset of obesity as a serious medical problem in the last few decades, lots of research has been done regarding metabolic syndromes. A study published by Fink at al. in 2014 looked at the effects of walnut oil on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a manifestation of metabolic syndrome in the liver. The trial was carried out on obese Zucker rats. The study found that lipids from walnuts actually modulated hepatic steatosis, which means that it slowed down the first stages of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease considerably .
3) Walnuts may help prevent some cancers
In a study conducted by Reiter et al. in 2013, walnuts reduced the growth of human prostate cancer cells in nude mice. The addition of walnuts to the mice’s diets reduced the numbers of tumours that manifested and contained the cancerous tissue by preventing it from spreading quickly .
Beyond all these medical benefits, walnuts are good, nutritious snacks. They have a tonne of antioxidants and polyunsaturated fats that are good for you, and studies have shown that eating an ounce of walnuts a day regularly can help decrease belly fat . Introduce walnuts regularly into your diet today and see a difference.