Walnuts :: Dietary and Health Benefits

WALNUTS – Health Benefiting Food

walnuts1Walnuts are known as health-benefiting nutrients which are rich in protein, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Definetly omega-3 fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, are essential for healthy living. They are rich sources of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and  excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These health benefits make them necessary for our daily dietary plans. They can easily be added to healthiest daily eating plans. Walnuts are a delicious way to add extra nutrition, flavor and crunch to a meal. Because of their taste, they are common ingredient in breads, cookies, candies and salads.

In many diet plans and dietary studies, some amount of walnuts per day is the needed to provide benefits, and the amount can vary up to dietary choice. But they are high-calorie foods, so this shall be keep in mind.

walnuts2Scientists found that the fatty acids derived from regular walnut consumption decreased total cholesterol level and LDL cholesterol in short-term trials. The case for walnuts doesn’t end with fatty acids, because of the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytonutrients (like tannin tellimagrandin or the flavonol morin) walnuts have also been shown to provide an edge against metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular problems, heart stroke and type 2 diabetes.  Walnuts decrease the risk of some certain cancers and also encourage weight loss, as studies indicate that calories from walnuts don’t always correlate with the expected amount of weight gain.  Another interesting point is, they’re a rich in melatonin, which provides a healthy sleeping.

Among the latest studies, it is found that walnuts may actually enhance reasoning skills in teenagers!

What is included in the Walnuts?

Researchs found that because of the nutritional benefits they shall be consumed in whole form, including the skin. Recently it is found that 90% of the phenols in walnuts are in the skin, including key phenolic acids, tannins, and flavonoids.

Walnuts include omega-3 essential fatty acids, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), linoleic acid (LA) and arachidonic acid. They are also rich in antioxidants, providing a very good source of copper and manganese. Additionally molybdenum and the B vitamin biotin are included in. Many other minerals like calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, vanadium and zinc are provided in valuable amounts.

Walnuts without shells are 4% water, 15% protein, 65% fat, and 14% carbohydrates, including 7% dietary fiber.

In a 100 gram serving, walnuts provide 654 calories and rich content (more than 19% of the daily value or DV) of several dietary minerals, particularly manganese at 163% DV, and B vitamins.

Unlike most nuts that are high in monounsaturated fatty acids, walnut oil is composed largely of polyunsaturated fatty acids (72% of total fats), particularly alpha-linolenic acid (14%) and linoleic acid (58%), although it contains oleic acid as 13% of total fats. In depth walnuts contain over 80 nutrients.

 

walnuts3Nutritional value per 100 grams

Energy                        2,738 kJ (654 kcal)

Carbohydrates          13.71

Starch                           0.06

Sugars                           2.61

Lactose                            0

Dietary fiber                  6.7

Fat                                  65.21

Saturated                         6.126

Monounsaturated          8.933

Polyunsaturated            47.174

Protein                         15.23

Water                              4.07 

Source: USDA Nutrient Database

 

 Benefits of Walnuts

  • Walnuts are known as rich sources of energy and have many health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients and vitamins that are essential for health and well-being.
  • Many phyto-chemical substances included in walnuts may contribute to their overall anti-oxidant activity, including melatonin, ellagic acid, vitamin E, carotenoids, and poly-phenolic compounds. These compounds known to have potential health effects against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.
  • They are rich food sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and arachidonic acid, which are essential omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming walnut is effective in lowering the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL).
  • They are rich source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid. Mono-unsaturated fatty acids, and omega-3 fatty acids may help cut-down risk of coronary artery disease, and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
  • Walnuts contain polyphenols, and polyphenols are antioxidant which can prevent cardiovascular problems and some certain cancers like breast, colon and pancreatic. A daily dose of consumption reduces the breast cancer risk.
  • Antioxidants are able to destroy free radicals and so they are highly effective in combatting heart problems.
  • Walnuts are ideal sources of the amino acid L-arginine, and this amino acid has an positive effect on reducing blood pressure.
  • Walnuts reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and also prevent diabetes.
  • The biotin (vitamin B7) contained in walnuts, strengthen hair, reduce hair fall and improve hair growth.
  • B-vitamins and antioxidants included in walnuts prevent the skin from free radical damage and wrinkles.
  • Eating walnuts can be a perfect method of improving sleep. Melatonin included in walnuts induce sleep. Melatonin is a messaging molecule in our nervous system, and it has hormon-like regulatory properties. Melatonin has an effect on the regulation of sleep, daily (circadian) rhythms, light-dark adjustment, and other processes. Moreover melatonin has an important role (along with other walnut nutrients) in the anti-cancer benefits of this unusual food.
  • Walnuts, help to deal with stress. Walnuts and walnut oil in the diet lowers blood pressure and prevents blood pressure related stress. Fibre, antioxidants, and unsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids are the nutrients that make them deal with stress.
  • Vitamin E and flavanoids in walnuts enables eliminating of harmful free radical chemicals that cause dementia. Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
  • The anti-inflammatory nutrients in walnuts may play a special role in support of bone health.
  • Walnuts include minerals such as manganese, copper, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. Copper is a cofactor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase (other minerals function as co-factors for this enzyme are manganese and zinc). Zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development, sperm generation, digestion, and nucleic acid synthesis. Selenium is an important micronutrient, which functions as a co-factor for anti-oxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidases.

walnuts4Dietary Benefits of Walnuts

Walnuts are known as a desirable food for support of weight loss programs and for prevention of obesity. This data often surprises people because they think walnuts, high-fat, high-calorie foods as a primary contributing factor to obesity and to weight gain.

Regular consumption of walnuts is unlikely to gain weight. Omega 3 fats, protein and fibre included in walnuts provide satiety. Weight loss and fat burn plans should consider the satiety factor. They are high calorie nutritients but walnuts can help loosing weight. Recent studies show that eating more nuts can improve your diet, without making you gain weight.

Researchers from the Yale University conducted a comparative study based on the question: Does the nut benefits tip the scales more than their caloric content?

The 112 members included in the team spent six months adding walnuts to their diet then another six months taking walnuts out of their diet. The study is about to know what happens to overall diet quality when nuts were added. Nuts are known to be satisfying and filling—fat and fiber both influence satiety. Weight did not go up in any group. Primary outcome was diet quality, walnut comsumption resulted in a significant improvement in overall diet quality.

According to another study, a diet containing unsaturated fats, found in walnuts, has similar weight loss effects as a lower fat, higher-carbohydrate diet.

The same study also found that the walnut-rich diet was associated with the same degree of weight loss as a lower fat diet. The research consisted of 245 overweight and obese women. Members of the team were randomly assigned to three different diets:

– a lower fat and higher carbohydrate diet

-a lower carbohydrate

-a higher fat diet, or a walnut-rich, higher fat and lower carbohydrate diet.

The walnut-rich diet consumed 1,5 ounces per day. After six months the average weight loss was nearly eight per cent of initial weight for all groups. The walnut-rich diet participants saw comparable weight loss to the other study groups. However, they exhibited the most improvement in lipid levels, especially in those who are insulin-resistant.

In addition to a significant decrease in low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-bad cholesterol, the walnut participants achieved a greater increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-good cholesterol as compared to the other diet groups.

Whereas the lower carbohydrate and higher fat diet participants were encouraged to consume foods higher in monounsaturated fats, the walnut-rich diet provided more polyunsaturated fats. Walnuts are the only nut in which the fat is primarily polyunsaturated fat (13 grammes per ounce), including a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-derived form of omega-3 fatty acids (2.5 grammes per ounce).

Recent research from Harvard also shows health benefits of consuming polyunsaturated fats. The study suggested that people who replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats may live longer and have a lower risk of heart disease.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

 

Walnuts are health benefiting foods including perfect amounts of protein, healthy fats, fiber, plant sterols, antioxidants, and many vitamins and minerals. Having seven (14 halves) per a day will enable you to take advantage of their beneficial properties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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