Walnuts: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Walnuts: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Overview

If you want a delicious ingredient to provide more nutrients, crunch and unique flavor every day, walnuts are one of the greatest choices.

While they are usually served as a quick snack, many people also include walnuts in salads, cakes or cereals for breakfast.

Another product from walnuts, their oil, is expensive and often serves to dress the salads in many cuisines.

The popular use of walnuts has existed for many centuries.

The origin of walnuts is various and dependent on each type.

For example, the English walnut has its origin from India. It was introduced to Europe by the ancient Romans.

Meanwhile, North America is the hometown of black and white walnuts that play an important role in native people’s diet.

Nowadays, the world’s biggest production of walnuts belongs to China, which provides over 360,000 metric tons every year. The United States produces approximately 294,000 metric tons.

Along with their popularity, walnuts are famous for their rich nutrition facts and a number of health benefits.

Nutrition Facts

Walnuts - Nutrition Facts

Fat holds a considerable content of walnuts with about 65 percent, whereas protein makes up for only 15 percent (1).

The amount of water and carbs is quite low.

Walnuts can be considered as a high calorie ingredient when 100 grams of walnuts provide 654 calories.

This high level of energy perhaps comes from fat.

Nevertheless, some studies reported that despite their high level of calories, walnuts are not relevant to abnormal weight gain (2).

Besides, compared to other nuts, walnuts contain more polyunsaturated fats, namely, omega-6 and omega-3.

Notably, among nuts, alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) – a type of healthy omega-3 fats – exists in only one type that is walnuts. ALA is necessary for many walnuts health benefits.

On the other hand, there are numerous minerals and vitamins in walnuts that are necessary for humans to stay healthy, such as copper, phosphorus, manganese and vitamin B6, E,…

The last note on walnuts nutrition facts is the presence of some bioactive plant compounds that contribute to many health benefits of walnuts as well.

Health Benefits of Walnuts

Below are top 10 health benefits of walnuts that have been concluded for thousands of years and supported  by many scientific studies.

1. Brain

One of the most important health benefits of walnuts is to enhance the function of our brain.

Some research on humans pointed out that we can avoid depression and some brain problems due to aging process with walnuts (3) (4).

Walnuts can be beneficial for old people in improving their memory capacity (5).

In one study that lasted for 8 weeks, 64 healthy adults benefited from walnuts in terms of comprehension. Nevertheless, there was no sign for the enhancement in mood and memory (6).

The same positive effects of walnuts are also witnessed in the brain of animals.

Walnuts were provided for mice suffering from Alzheimer’s disease on a daily basis during a 10-month period. The result showed a significant improvement in their memory (7).

Another research revealed that 8 weeks of using walnuts could help elderly rats deal with brain impairments associated with aging (8) (9).

Bottom Line: With a richness of antioxidants and omega-3, walnuts can foster the function of the brain and prevent aging problems.

2. Anti-Cancer

Cancer is the result of the abnormal development of cells in the body.

In fact, the prevention against cancer will be more effective if you use healthy foods and follow a healthy lifestyle.

Walnuts which contain many good plant compounds should be considered as a great addition to anti-cancer meals.

Several observational studies demonstrated the association between nuts and the prevention against prostate and colon cancer (10) (11).

When experimenting on animals, scientists also found out their efficiency in limiting the growth of breast and kidney cancer cells (12) (13).

In the future, more studies need carrying out to examine further the real health benefits of walnuts on cancer prevention.

Bottom Line: Despite the need for more studies, walnuts are one of the most promising foods to reduce the risk of many types of cancer.

3. Sleep

Walnuts - Sleep Quality

One of top health benefits of walnuts that you can benefit from immediately is to improve the quality of your daily sleep.

There is a considerable amount of melatonin in walnuts and this element has positive impacts on sleep (14).

You had better put several walnuts in water and then, combine them with your dishes when you have dinner.

4. Heart

Leading a healthy lifestyle is one of the most important factors to prevent dangerous health problems, such as heart disease.

Bringing walnuts into your daily meals is a great idea to fulfill this objective.

One of the best health benefits of walnuts is to fight against cardiovascular disease.

They achieve the goal in many ways.

First, walnuts are active in reducing the level of LDL cholesterol which does harm to the heart health (15) (16).

Secondly, walnuts play an essential part in the fight against inflammation (17).

Thirdly, the concentration of plaque in our arteries which is the main cause for high blood pressure will be halted with the help of walnuts (18) (19).

Bottom Line: Containing many healthy fats and antioxidants, walnuts can make a great contribution to the heart health.

5. Mood

A deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids is claimed to be the catalyst for hyperactivity, tantrums or irritability.

These problems can hinder people’s positive emotions and in the long term, trigger stress or depression (20).

Fortunately, you can supply yourself with a rich source of omega-3, such as walnuts.

This quality can be beneficial for both children and adults who experience a shortage of omega-3 fatty acids.

Bottom Line: Known as a substantial provision of omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts can raise the mood quickly and efficiently.

6. Weight Control

Walnuts - Weight Loss

Although the amount of calories from walnuts is very high, it is surprising that one of the best walnuts health benefits is to regulate our weight.

In fact, obesity can happen due to chronic inflammation.

As already mentioned above in walnuts nutrition facts, they contain a wide range of anti-inflammatory elements that can help you stay away from getting overweight (21).

According to a study of the Loma Linda University, California, with the provision of 35 grams of walnuts on a daily basis, these people did not undergo the considerable weight gain in more than one year.

Bottom Line: In spite of being high calorie, walnuts do not trigger uncontrolled weight gain.

7. Diabetes

Patients with diabetes can benefit from various health benefits of walnuts.

These patients are often concerned about cardiovascular diseases and heart-related problems.

Meanwhile, walnuts are super effective in the prevention against these diseases as mentioned above.

The reduction in bad cholesterol resulting from walnuts is also beneficial for diabetes treatment.

8. Metabolism

Among top health benefits of walnuts, their effects on metabolism seem not to be well known.

In fact, with a wide range of minerals, for example, copper, iron, zinc, or magnesium, walnuts can enhance the metabolism efficiently.

As a result, the function of other body parts can be better as well.

For example, the amount of zinc in walnuts can stimulate the production of sperm (22).

9. Bone

The richness of omega-3 fatty acids is the centre of many health benefits of walnuts, one of which is to foster the bone health.

These acids are necessary for the process of absorbing and deposing calcium in the body, which is beneficial for the bones.

They are also important for the prevention against osteoporosis, a common bone problem, especially among old people (23).

10. Nutrient Absorption

Walnuts - Nutrient Absorption

The presence of phytic acid is responsible for health benefits of walnuts in the absorption of some essential minerals, such as zinc and iron.

Side Effects

Walnuts health benefits are unquestionable; however, it does not mean that you can use them without notice.

In some cases, walnuts can produce some unwanted effects that you do not want to face.

First, the sad fact is that allergy to walnuts is actually quite common among the population (24).

As a result, the consumption of walnuts might lead to a series of allergic reactions and even death.

The second side effect is a high risk of diarrhea. Walnuts can worsen this problem due to its nature of pile allergen.

Besides, nausea is also a common annoying problem happening to those consuming too many walnuts.

Due to common allergies to walnuts, pregnant women are recommended not to use walnuts.

Another unwanted impact is that your throat and tongue might become swollen.

In the long term, it has negative influence on the lungs and there have been fatal cases for this reason.

Disclaim: The effectiveness from using these foods on certain problems and diseases will be depended on the body condition of the applicant.

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