By Dr. Janet Brill
Crunchy and delicious, walnuts are a near perfect food. Walnuts are actually the edible seeds of the plant genus called Juglans. Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants; walnuts pack a heavy nutritional punch. They make a great healthy snack and a handful a day will surely boost your overall health. Let’s have a look at some of the reasons why you should include walnuts into your daily diet:
Loaded with omega-3 fats
Our bodies require essential fatty acids, especially the anti—inflammatory fatty acids known as omega 3. Omega-3 fat is helpful for improving immune function, cell growth and to prevent and treat various diseases. Walnuts are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids linked with fighting depression, preventing rheumatoid arthritis and protecting against cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease.
Our bodies don’t produce these essential fatty acids on their own so you have to obtain them from your diet. Walnuts are the only nuts that contain significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant version of omega-3 fatty acids. Their super-healthy fat content is a great reason to regularly include walnuts in your diet for better health.
Feeling stressed and depressed? Walnuts have been shown to improve brain health. In fact, recent research has shown that regularly eating a handful of walnuts can lower your blood pressure response to stress.
Walnuts are healthy nuts, rich in antioxidants and phytosterols (cholesterol-like molecules found in plants) shown to block estrogen receptors. Walnuts are believed to help in reducing the risk of developing breast cancer.
Prevent Type 2 diabetes
The presence of polyunsaturated fatty acids in these tasty nuts helps reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Recent research has shown that people who consume walnuts or other nuts at least 5 times a week, are less prone to developing diabetes as compared those who never eat them.
A nutrition powerhouse
Walnuts are an excellent source of vitamins B6, vitamin E, folate, and thiamin. These delicious nuts also contain various healthy minerals such as iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Bring cholesterol down
Nutritionally speaking, walnuts are a bona fide super food; they are cholesterol free and contain an insignificant amount of sodium. Thus eating walnuts helps lower cholesterol and reduces blood pressure. It is a well-known fact that the coronary heart disease is caused by high levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol level as well as high blood pressure.
Since walnuts are a fiber-packed, cholesterol free food, they not only help bring “bad” cholesterol down but also prevent heart disease.
Good for skin & hair
Since walnuts contain a good amount of vitamin E as well as powerful plant antioxidants, they are good your skin. Eating a handful a day is the perfect anti-aging skin prescription.