Walnuts are one of the healthiest nuts on Earth. They are full of goodies that make them a perfect snack.

 

Nutrients in Walnuts

A walnut is a nutrient-dense nut. Walnuts are rich in protein, essential fatty acids, carbohydrates, B vitamins, and several dietary minerals, particularly manganese at 163% Daily Value (DV). Walnuts are naturally cholesterol-free and gluten-free.

What makes Walnuts different?

  • Of all nuts, walnuts are the richest source of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid
  • Walnuts are high in ellagic acid that might prevent cancer
  • Walnuts are high in tannins that prevent tooth decay

Science-Based Health Benefits of Walnuts

  • Of all nuts, walnuts are the richest source of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid
  • Walnuts are high in ellagic acid that might prevent cancer
  • Walnuts are high in tannins that prevent tooth decay

Ellagic acid is a natural phenol antioxidant that many plants produce from tannins. According to the paper “Biological Function of Ellagic Acid: A Review” published in the “Journal of Food Biochemistry,” the highest levels of ellagic acid are found in walnuts, pecans, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, and grapes, as well as distilled beverages.

 

Some publications in respectable scientific magazines about ellagic acid suggest that it has antiproliferative properties. (An antiproliferative substance is a substance used to prevent or retard the spread of cells, especially malignant cells, into surrounding tissues.) This effect of ellagic acid was found in a number of in vitro and small-animal models. The antiproliferative properties of ellagic acid may be due to its ability to directly inhibit the DNA binding of certain carcinogens.

Walnuts, hazelnuts, and pecans contain high amounts of tannins. Tannins are astringent substances, the chemical compounds that tend to shrink or constrict body tissues. The astringency from the tannins is what causes the dry, tightening and wrinkling feeling in the mouth following the consumption of red wine or tea. Tannins attach to the proteins in the saliva, creating a rough, sensation of the mouth, resembling “sandpaper”.

 

In folk medicine, tannins are used to fight cavities: they disable bacteria in the mouth, which inhibits plaque formation and tooth decay, but they stain teeth. Tannins stop diarrhoea and even protect from cancer. It looks like tannins have remarkable health benefits but it is not scientifically proven and the mechanism is not completely understood.

 

Tannins are widely present in plants and products from them, especially in tea, red wine, cocoa, chocolates, coffee, grapes, blackberries, and cranberries.

Unlike most nuts that are high in monounsaturated fatty acids, walnuts have over 70% of polyunsaturated fatty acids in their total fat content, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (14%), an Omega-3 fatty acid. However, walnuts contain over 40% (of total fat) of Omega-6 fatty acids that counteract Omega 3s. Don’t go nuts with walnuts!

A healthy portion of walnuts eaten regularly help maintain ideal weight over time. Published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in 2013, a study stated that those whose diets included nuts substituted for other foods lost about 1.4 extra pounds and half an inch from their waists.

Walnuts are one of the richest plant sources of Omega-3.

A healthy serving size is about 1 to 2 walnuts per day.

How to Eat Walnuts?

To gain from all the associated health benefits, walnuts can be integrated into your diet in many ways:

  • Plain and simple – crack the shell and eat the “meat”. All walnuts can be eaten raw or roasted.
  • Walnuts are often included as part of a nut mix.
  • Ground walnuts are used for sandwiches, salads, or any other dish.
  • Walnut soup and walnut pie are prepared using walnuts as a main ingredient.
  • Shredded walnuts can be added to chicken and fish right before cooking them.
  • Shredded walnuts will give delicious nutty taste to your yogurt.
  • Shredded walnuts with honey improve men’s health and act as natural Viagra.

Surprising Facts about Walnuts

  • Walnut trees secrete chemicals into the soil to prevent competing vegetation from growing. Because of this, flowers or vegetable gardens should not be planted close to them.
  • China is the world’s major producer of walnuts contributing about 50% of the total volume.

Health Risks

Like other nuts, walnuts, must be processed and stored properly. Poor storage makes walnuts susceptible to fungal mold that produces aflatoxin – a potent carcinogen.

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