Walnuts: Nutritional Facts and Health Benefits
Walnuts are tree nuts that were first discovered around Central Asia and the Mediterranean.
These nuts are known to be a rich source of healthy fats and antioxidants. They are a staple part of most diets and are often consumed by themselves or as a topping for other dishes, such as salads, baked goods, pastas, cereals, etc.
The most common types grown today are English or Persian walnuts, which are mostly cultivated in California and Arizona.
A 1 oz serving of walnuts (approximately seven pieces) contains about:
- 185 calories
- 2.5 g of unsaturated fat
- 1.7 g saturated fat
- 4.3 g protein
- 3.9 g carbs
- 1.9 g fiber
- 0.7 g sugar
These nuts are said to contain higher traces of omega-3 and omega-6 than other nuts.
Aside from these macros, they also contain various vitamins and minerals, such as:
- Vitamin B9
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin E
Although dense in nutrients, these nuts are considered an extremely heart-healthy food.
Health benefits offered by walnuts
Let’s look at some of the reasons why regular walnut consumption is good for us:
1) Improves brain function
There is a good reason why these nuts are shaped like a brain. The antioxidants present in a walnut are helpful in preventing oxidative damage to the brain and inflammation.
Moreover, studies have shown that regular consumption of walnuts reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s, improves processing speed/memory, and reduces anxiety.
2) Reduces cholesterol
The walnut has been proven to lower LDL (or bad cholesterol), reducing the risk of plaque formation within the arteries. This goes a long way in reducing the risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and heart attacks.
3) Reduces inflammation
Walnut consumption reduces inflammation that causes heart disease and blood clots. Blood clots can lead to heart attacks.
4) Improves gut health
Regular walnut consumption increases the amount of good bacteria in the gut. This leads to more production of butyrate, a fat that keeps the gut healthy and nourished.
5) Supports healthy ageing
Walnuts have been shown to preserve brain function in older adults. What’s more, the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals present in these nuts promote healthy skin and hair, flexible joints, and strong bones.
7) Aids with weight control
Although dense in nutrients and calories, walnuts are great for curbing appetite. Adding these nuts to your snacks or smoothies can help keep you feeling satiated longer, eliminating the need to snack unnecessarily.
8) Helps manage blood sugar levels
Regular walnut consumption has been linked to a decrease in blood sugar levels. One reason for this is that these nuts aid in controlling weight, reducing the risk of excessive weight gain in individuals.
9) Supports reproductive health in men
Studies suggest that regular walnut consumption promotes male fertility by improving sperm health. Modern-day Western diets are said to be damaging to sperm health, but these nuts help counter that.
Now that you know the scoop on walnuts, go out and get yourself a bag. Eat them straight out of the bag, sprinkle crushed pieces over your salad or pasta, toss them into your oatmeal, or come up with your own delicious snack ideas. It really doesn’t matter, as long as they are part of your diet.