WALNUTS, RICH FOOD!

walnuts

Health benefits of Walnuts

  • The nuts are rich source of energy and contain health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.
  • They are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (about 72%) like oleic acid and an excellent source of all important omega-3essential fatty acids like linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and arachidonic acids. Regular intake of walnuts in the diet helps to lower total as well as LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good cholesterol” levels in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet that is rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, and omega-3 fatty acids help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
  • Eating just as much as 25 g each day provides about 90% of RDI (recommended daily intake) of omega-3 fatty acids. Research studies have suggested that n-3 fatty acids by their virtue of anti-inflammatory action help to lower the risk of blood pressure, coronary artery disease, strokes and breast, colon and prostate cancers.
  • They are rich source of many phyto-chemical substances that may contribute to their overall anti-oxidant activity, includingmelatonin, ellagic acid, vitamin E, carotenoids, and poly-phenolic compounds. These compounds have potential health effects against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.
  • Scientists at University of Scranton, Pennsylvania had recently discovered that walnuts have highest levels of popyphenolic antioxidants than any other common edible nuts. 100 g of walnuts contain 13541 µmol TE (Trolex equivalents) of oxidant radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). Eating as few as six to seven average size nuts a day could help scavenge disease causing free radicals from the body.
  • In addition, they are an excellent source of vitamin E,especially rich in gamma-tocopherol; contain about 21 g per 100 g (about 140% of daily-required levels). 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.
  • These nuts are packed with many important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates.
  • They also very are rich source of minerals like 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.
  • Walnut oil has flavorful nutty aroma and exhibits excellent astringent properties. Applied locally, it helps to keep skin well protected from dryness. It has also been used in cooking, and as “carrier or base oil” in traditional medicines in massage therapy, aromatherapy, in pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry.

Munch a handful of walnuts a day and you will have enough recommended levels of minerals, vitamins, and protein.

Selection and storage

Walnuts are available in the market year around. In the store, you may get to see different forms of nuts are displayed for sale; unshelled, shelled (without the shell), salted, sweetened, or ground, etc. Buy whole “un-shelled” nuts instead of processed ones.

While buying, look at the nuts that should feature bright brown color, compact, uniform in size and feel heavy in hand. They should be free from cracks, mold, and spots and rancid smell.

Un-shelled walnuts can be placed in cool dry place for many months, whereas shelled (without the outer shell) kernels should be placed inside airtight container and kept in the refrigerator to avoid them turn rancid.

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:

Walnuts (Juglans regia),
Nutritional value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient database)

Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 654 Kcal 33%
Carbohydrates 13.71 g 11%
Protein 15.23 g 27%
Total Fat 65.21 g 217%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 6.7 g 18%
Vitamins
Folates 98 µg 24%
Niacin 1.125 mg 7%
Pantothenic acid 0.570 mg 11%
Pyridoxine 0.537 mg 41%
Riboflavin 0.150 mg 11.5%
Thiamin 0.341 mg 28%
Vitamin A 20 IU 0.5%
Vitamin C 1.3 mg 2%
Vitamin E-γ 20.83 mg 139%
Vitamin K 2.7 µg 2%
Electrolytes
Sodium 2 mg 0%
Potassium 441 mg 9%
Minerals
Calcium 98 mg 10%
Copper 1.5 mg 167%
Iron 2.9 mg 36%
Magnesium 158 mg 39.5%
Manganese 3.4 mg 148%
Phosphorus 346 mg 49%
Selenium 4.9 µg 9%
Zinc 3.09 mg 28%
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-ß 12 µg
Crypto-xanthin-ß 0 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 9 µg

Walnuts with leaf.

Walnuts with leaf.

1. They can reduce the risk of breast cancer

Eating about 28 walnut halves a day provides antioxidants and phytosterols that may help reduce the risk of breast cancer, according to a study at the Marshall University School of Medicine in West Virginia. Mice were fed a daily diet with the human equivalent of two ounces (60 g) of walnuts. Compared to mice fed a control diet, the walnut eaters had significantly decreased breast tumour incidence and a slower rate of tumour growth.

2. They’re packed with omega-3 fatty acids

A diet rich in omega-3s is beneficial in reducing depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), cancer and Alzheimer’s disease and there’s also strong evidence that omega-3s counter inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.

3. They can reduce risk of diabetes

Women who reported eating one ounce (30 g) of nuts at least five times per week reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by almost 30 percent compared to those who rarely or never ate nuts, say researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health. The mono- and polyunsaturated fats in nuts are good for insulin sensitivity.

4. They contain antioxidants that boost heart health

A new study from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania shows walnuts have higher quality antioxidants and a mix of more healthful antioxidants than any other nut.

5. They can help you deal with stress

A diet rich in walnuts and walnut oil may help the body deal better with stress. Research published last year in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that walnuts and walnut oil lowered both resting blood pressure and blood pressure responses to stress in the laboratory. The researchers said the study shows that a dietary change could help our bodies better respond to stress.