Most of the time simple foods offer the best benefits to your health. This is the case with walnuts which have a perfect craft of protein plant sterols, fiber, minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats. There are two types of walnuts namely black and normal brownish. The normal brownish one is native to India while the black walnut is native to North America. Both types are of great use and beneficial to the body. Eating a few walnuts every day may be all you need to benefit from their rich properties. The nut has so much interest that experts and researchers gather annually to discuss the latest discoveries in walnut health research.
Uses and Benefits of Walnuts
1. Rich in Antioxidants
Walnuts have a higher concentration of antioxidants compared to other nuts. The high concentration is contributed by the presence of melatonin, vitamin E and polyphenols in the skin of the nut. It reduces the damage of arteries which would cause atherosclerosis.
2. Source of Omega-3
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the type of Omega-3 found in walnuts. It is essential for it is not produced by the body and can only be acquired from plants. A single serving of walnuts meets the healthy amount of Omega-3 fat required for both men and women. It lowers the risk of experiencing heart disease.
3. Decreases Inflammation
Inflammation is the cause of heart disease, Alzheimer's, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. The antioxidant property of walnuts helps fight oxidative stress which triggers inflammation. Amino acid arginine and magnesium found in ALA omega-3 fat also decrease inflammation.
4. Reduces Risk of Cancers
Eating walnuts have been shown to reduce risks of colorectal, prostate, and breast cancers. The polyphenol ellagitannins in walnuts are usually converted to urolithins compounds in the gut. These compounds block hormone receptors using their hormone-like property thus reducing the risk of developing cancers that are hormone-related such as prostate and breast cancer. The anti-inflammatory property of urolithins protects against colorectal cancer.
5. Lowers the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Eating walnuts help control blood sugar and a significant decrease in hemoglobin A1C which is an average of 3-month blood sugar. Walnuts are linked to lowering the risk of diabetes for they help control weight. Diabetes and high blood sugar are influenced by excess weight.
6. Lowers Blood Pressure
Stroke and heart disease are contributed by high blood pressure. Walnuts play a significant role in improving the benefits of a heart-healthy diet. The part that the nuts play is vital with the fact that a minor difference in blood pressure dramatically impacts the risk of heart disease death. The nutrients support proper function of the brain, especially in old age.
7. Supports Brain Function
Nutrients in walnuts such as polyphenols, polyunsaturated fat, and vitamin E are good for the mind. They help reduce inflammation and the oxidative damage in the brain. Eating of walnuts have been linked to better memory, more mental flexibility, better brain function, and faster processing speed.
8. Proper Functioning Of the Digestive System
Walnuts are known to be rich in fiber which is vital for keeping the appropriate operation of the digestive system. Everybody requires fiber for the correct functioning of the bowels. Most humans consume dairy products and proteins which lack fiber. By eating walnuts on a daily basis there is a notable reduction of the risks associated with fiber deficiency.
9. Supports Reproductive Health
Most of the western diets that are gaining popularity reduce sperm function for they are high in processed foods, refined grains, and sugar. Eating walnuts support male fertility and sperm health. The nuts improve the sperm vitality, shape, and mobility. The antioxidant property of walnuts reduces the damage of the membrane thus protecting the sperms.
10. Decreasing Cholesterol
When triglycerides levels are high as well as the presence of Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, there is an increased risk of heart disease. There has been a consistent show of decrease in cholesterol levels in regular walnuts consumption. Studies prove that daily eating of walnuts produces 5% decrease in LDL cholesterol, 5% decrease in triglycerides, and 5% decrease in total cholesterol. Those who regularly eat walnuts decrease apolipoprotein-B by 6%. Apolipoprotein-B is an indicator of the number of LDL particles that are in the blood. A high amount of the particles in the blood serve as a risk factor for heart disease.
Side Effects of Walnuts
1. Allergic Reactions
Consumption of excess walnuts can lead to dangerous allergy. The reactions include rashes, difficulty in breathing, tightness in the chest and throat.
Walnuts are known to cause digestive complications. Consumption of walnuts may cause diarrhea due to the irritation that they cause to the digestive system. It is advisable to stop eating walnuts once problems like diarrhea arise.
3. Pregnancy and Lactation
Extra care and attention should be paid to the food consumed in pregnancy and when breastfeeding. Walnuts should be avoided by pregnant women and those who are lactating. Some complications can be dangerous for both the mother and the baby. The phytates in black walnut change the cellular level in DNA leading to cell death. This effect could lead to birth defects or affect the growth of the fetus.
The antibodies found in walnuts lead to walnuts acting as a stimulant to the white blood cells. The allergen property of walnuts makes the body produce histamine. The reaction of histamine causes stomach pain and nausea. The allergic reactions should be eased by stopping the consumption of walnuts.
Consuming large amounts of walnuts may cause acne problems. Acne can also be caused by topically applying the walnut leaf on the skin. They can also cause excessive sweating.
Walnuts are significantly nutritious. They have higher omega-3 fatty acids and significantly healthier antioxidant activity than any other common fruit. This profile of rich nutrients leads to numerous health benefits that are associated with walnuts.
The benefits include improved heart disease risk factors and reduced inflammation. These are reasons to include them in the diet, and it is likely that more about walnuts will be discovered by scientists who continue to research their beneficial health effects.