Walnut: the Highly Nutritious Nut

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Walnuts are categorized in the nut family of trees which includes other nuts like macadamia, hazel, pine, pecans, cashew and pistachios among others. It is usually recommended that one takes an ounce of walnut per day as the minimum amount that is required to provide maximum benefits. This is an equivalent of about 7 pieces of whole nuts.

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Walnuts are high-calorie foods which are which should be incorporated into any diet. They not only contain monounsaturated fats but are also tasty as well. They are a source of omega-3 fatty acids which are very rare ingredients to find in many foods. They can be taken with fruits, vegetable dishes, salads or dessert.

 

Walnut nutrition

Walnuts, which are regarded as shelled nuts are highly nutritious and contains minerals and vitamins in adequate amounts that are useful to your health. Due to their high level of nutrients, walnuts should be taken with care. Daily consumption should be limited to a handful or less than 10 pieces per day. These wonder nuts contain about 65% of fats including about 15% of proteins. They are also highly fibrous and are low in carbohydrates.

Research shows that walnuts have a number of nutritional benefits especially when they are taken in the whole form – taken together with their skin. The skin of the walnut is very nutritious and contains about 90% phenols, flavonoids, and tannins. Despite being nutritious, the skin of the walnut is bitter and some sources will advise that you remove it before consuming the nut. However, it is not advisable to remove the skin because that can reduce its nutritious value.

Walnuts have a rare type of Vitamin E which is highly nutritious and beneficial to your health. It contains the gamma-tocopherol form of Vitamin E instead of the most common form known as the alpha-tocopherol. This form of vitamins is shown to provide significant benefits especially in the protection of heart ailments.

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This food type is also known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties which are beneficial in the protection against cardiovascular problems, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Its phytonutrients are also important in reducing the risk of certain types of cancers such as breast and prostate cancer.

 

Health benefits of walnuts

Walnuts have various health benefits that make them an important inclusion in daily diets. It is important to consume walnuts because they provide many health benefits. Some of these benefits include:

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Cardiovascular benefits

Research shows that walnuts have significant benefits for the heart and circulatory system. The nut has a positive impact on how the blood vessels respond to different kinds of stimuli. There should be, therefore, an optimal functioning of the system for the blood vessels to respond adequately to various stimuli.  Walnut consumption ensures that the body’s system functions in an optimal manner for such response to be positive.

The optimal functioning of the system is enhanced by the presence of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients which are readily available in walnut. It is also able to have a positive impact on ensuring the right blood composition, a good balance in the inflammation regulating molecules and flexibility of the blood vessels.

 

Reduces the risk of high blood pressure

Studies show that there is a positive relationship between reduced blood pressure and the intake of important nutrients which are present in walnut. Some of these minerals include potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

These minerals are said to have a bigger impact on blood pressure than the conventional mineral sodium or table salt. These minerals occur in different amounts in different types of walnut and thus, may sometimes provide mixed results. However, the presence of omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts has a significant and direct positive impact on blood pressure.

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Reduction of problems in metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a common problem with many adults and about 1 out of 4 adults report for diagnosis in relation to this condition. MetS, as it is commonly known, is actually not a disease per se but a condition which is associated with many problems such as obesity, blood pressure, excessive blood fats and many others. Studies have, however, shown that an ounce of walnut per day is able to reduce most of these problems.  It is known to deal specifically with fats that deposit around the midsection also known as “abdominal adiposity.”

 

Treatment of type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is not only a problem associated with blood sugar regulation and insulin metabolism but also is a symptom of many other cardiovascular problems. It is, therefore, important to devise a diet plan which targets the prevention of such cardiovascular problems for a patient with type 2 diabetes.

Walnut consumption is known to not only help in the treatment of type 2 diabetes but also in the reduction of cardiovascular problems. Consuming a small amount of about 1-3 ounces of walnut is able to significantly reduce cardiovascular problems and also deal effectively with type 2 diabetes.

 

Reduces the development of cancer

Due to the presence of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, walnuts are known to have significant benefits in the fight against cancer. The antioxidant helps in the reduction of oxidative stress while anti-inflammatory properties help in lowering the risks of chronic inflammation. These two risk factors when combined are responsible for the development and spread of cancer. Consumption of large amounts of walnut helps to reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer. This translates to about 3 ounces of walnut consumption per day.

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Additional health benefits

A sizeable intake of walnut is also responsible for improving the health of bones in the body. Walnut consumption decreases the blood levels of type 1 collagen which is a good indicator of good bone stability and a reduced mineral loss. Using of raw walnut and oil walnut provides about 2,000 calories which can be very useful in improving bone development and stability.

A good intake is also able to prevent conditions of obesity and helps in weight loss. Despite it being a food type with high calories and fats, walnuts are useful in reducing blood fats, and it is only when it is excessively consumed that it can lead to a buildup of fats in the body. They contain the unique omega-3 fatty acids and many other phytonutrients which are anti-inflammatory in nature which is able to overshadow the high-fat risk that they pose.

Studies have also shown that walnuts are useful in improving memory and thought processes. This benefit helps in cognitive development which is healthy and improves the well-being of an individual. It is also beneficial in the regulation of sleeping patterns. This is as a result of melatonin which is a messaging molecule in the nervous system that regulates sleep, light dark adjustments, and rhythms. Melatonin occurs naturally in walnuts.

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How many calories in walnuts?

One walnut contains 26 calories in total. The calories contained in a walnut includes 8% carbs, 84% fats, and 9% proteins. This translates to about 0.55g of carbohydrates, 2.61g of fats and 0.61g of proteins respectively. This percentage values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The total calorific value of fats in one walnut is 2.61 grams and contains about 1% of saturated fats, 1.887 grams of polyunsaturated fats, and 0.35 grams of monounsaturated fats. The total value of carbohydrates stands at 0.55 grams and contains 0.3 grams of dietary fiber and 0.1 grams of sugars. Lastly, one walnut contains about 0.61 grams of proteins.

 

Vitamins in walnuts

Apart from being a rich source of healthy fats, walnuts are also good providers of a number of minerals and vitamins.

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Here are some of the vitamins that one can find in a walnut:

B Vitamins

Eight different types of vitamins are categorized as B Vitamins. These vitamins are useful in converting food into energy and help in the process of food metabolism. A serving of about seven pieces of walnut is able to provide about 6% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and niacin. It also provides about 8 % for vitamin B-6 and 7% folate. Folate is very beneficial for pregnant women because it has the ability to prevent tube defects for the fetus that is still developing.

Vitamins K, C and E

These types of vitamins play important roles in the body as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Vitamin K is useful in improving blood clotting while Vitamins C and E are antioxidants which assist the body in fighting against free radicals which cause diseases in the body. Vitamin C helps in the development of collagen and also repairs body tissues. An oz. of walnut is able to provide about 1% of the recommended Dietary Allowance of Vitamin K, C and E.

Walnuts also contain Vitamin E in equal measure. An ounce of walnuts is able to provide about 0.73 milligrams of Vitamin E. this translates to about 5% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Vitamin E is useful in preventing heart ailments it also helps to stop the development of plaques in the arteries. Moreover, walnuts also contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folate and other types of B Vitamins.

 

Conclusion

Walnut is a high-calorie food that is important to the health needs of any individual. It has a number of benefits which are as a result of its high number of nutrients. It is a healthy food type that can be taken with a mixture of fruits, salads, vegetables and desserts. Among its most important health benefits includes its usefulness in managing heart conditions, cancers and other ailments in the body. It is also used in weight loss programs because of its fat burning capabilities.

However, walnuts should be taken sparingly because of their high calorific values. A small amount of daily intake which is about 7 pieces of walnuts is enough to meet one’s nutritional requirements. Overconsumption can lead to some problems such as obesity. The walnut is, therefore, a highly nutritious food type that should be taken in moderate amounts daily to improve one’s body condition and help him/her ward off dangerous diseases such as cancer, blood pressure, and other cardiovascular diseases.

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