Walnuts – The Forgotten Superfood?
Go nuts to improve your health
Walnuts are nutrient-dense and packed with healthy components. Despite the fact that walnuts are high in calories and fat, they provide us with many health benefits and make for an excellent snack or ingredient for salads or cooked dishes.
According to the USDA food database, 100 grams of walnuts contain:
15 grams of protein
7 grams of fiber
65 grams of fat
What are the health benefits of walnuts?
Walnuts can help to prevent heart disease
Walnuts are rich in the Omega 3 fatty acid ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid). Research suggests that ALA can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by lowering total and LDL cholesterol (also referred to as the “bad” cholesterol). (1)
Apart from that, walnuts are rich in the amino acid arginine, which has been linked to reduced inflammation and improved blood pressure.
Walnuts can help to decrease anxiety levels and to improve the quality of your sleep
100 grams of walnuts contain approximately 158 milligrams of magnesium, which covers almost half of the RDI (recommended daily intake) for this mineral. Magnesium helps to relax muscles and mind, supports digestion, and can help to prevent cramps and headaches.
Besides, walnuts also contain the sleep-promoting melatonin that can help you to fall asleep.
Apart from that, walnuts are a good source of the amino acid tryptophan that helps us to relax and calm down.
Walnuts can support brain health
Walnuts are shaped like a brain for a reason. Research published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that the consumption of walnuts can help to prevent neurodegenerative disorders. The polyphenols (plant compounds) found in walnuts help to improve the growth and development of nervous tissue. (2)
A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease suggests that the regular consumption of walnuts can help to improve cognitive functions in older adults significantly. (3)
Walnuts can help to decrease inflammation
The polyphenols found in walnuts have anti-inflammatory effects. Chronic inflammation can lead to severe health conditions such as heart disease or stroke, weight gain, or autoimmune disorders.
Pedunculagin — the main polyphenol in walnuts — has been linked to preventing cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases
Skip your afternoon cookie today and have a handful of walnuts instead – your body AND mind will thank you.
*A word of warning: please check in with your healthcare provider before taking any kind of supplements.
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In good health,
(1) Zhao G, Etherton TD, Martin KR, West SG, Gillies PJ, Kris-Etherton PM. Dietary alphalinolenic acid reduces inflammatory and lipid cardiovascular risk factors in hypercholesterolemic men and women. J Nutr. 2004;134(11):2991–2997. doi:10.1093/jn/134.11.2991
(2) Poulose SM, Miller MG, Shukitt-Hale B. Role of walnuts in maintaining brain health with age. J Nutr. 2014;144(4 Suppl):561S–566S. doi:10.3945/jn.113.184838
(3) Valls-Pedret C, Lamuela-Raventós RM, Medina-Remón A, et al. Polyphenol-rich foods in the Mediterranean diet are associated with better cognitive function in elderly subjects at high cardiovascular risk. J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;29(4):773–782. doi:10.3233/JAD-2012-111799