Health Benefits of Walnuts


walnutNearly all nuts pack a potent punch when it comes to nutrition and provide our bodies with an impressive list of essential nutrients and antioxidants.

Nuts offer the healthy kinds of fats and they are high in protein. They are also high in monounsaturated fats that help to lower cholesterol and soluble fiber which also helps by lowering cholesterol, regulating bowels and has recently been shown to lower the amount of fat stored in the abdominal area. In research done over 5 years, for every 10 grams of soluble fiber consumed, belly fat was decreased by 3.7%…pretty impressive.

They are no slouches when it comes to nutrients, providing rich sources of minerals: potassium, copper, calcium, phosphorus, potassium; iron, manganese, selenium, and magnesium. Since many American diets are lacking magnesium resulting in low magnesium levels, nuts can play a vital role in bridging that gap.

Nuts also provide a wide array of vitamins: vitamins A, B, C, E, and K as well as pantothenic acid and folic acid…important during pregnancy. They are best consumed in their uncooked raw state because the heat used in roasting nuts (processed nuts) destroys their high antioxidant levels and nutritional levels. Most times there is sugar and added chemicals in the many nut-containing products like nut butters and spreads (unless you are buying organic, sugar free).

Nuts provide an endless variety of ways to use them. Get creative and crush them up and sprinkle on salads, in yogurt and in cereals…both hot and cold.

If you’re looking for the perfect snack to take along then look no further than the nut. Their higher fat and fiber walnut2content keeps you feeling fuller longer than processed sugary snacks.

The only down side to nuts is their high caloric count. Most people don’t really want to add calories to their diet, so the best idea is to swap the calories out that you consume through nuts for all those empty calories you are presently consuming.

Walnuts, particularly those still in their skins provide double the amounts of antioxidants when compared to other nuts. They contain high amounts of alpha-linolenic acid, an Omega-3 oil and also have high percentages of the beneficial forms of Vitamin E. Other nutrients include ellagic acid which supports the important immune system and provides antioxidant activity against free radicals.

Further research has shown this humble little nut reduces the risk of gallstones while providing melatonin to encourage deeper sleep and promote bone health by reducing bone loss.

Walnuts in their wrinkly shell resemble a brain of sorts, and if you’re a believer in the idea that the visual aspects of a food are clues to its medicinal properties then walnuts are indeed good for your brain. In fact, research has shown that the omega-3 fats in walnuts encourage brain-cell membranes to allow the maximum absorption of nutrients thus boosting “brain power”.

Walnuts have been the traditional classic baking nut for centuries, but they are also perfect in breads of all kinds, muffins, pancakes, waffles and cakes.

When purchasing walnuts, choose ones that feel heavy and are not cracked, cut or stained if you are buying them in the shell. If purchasing from bulk containers make sure that they are getting a quick turn-over and that the bins are covered and the walnuts themselves do not smell rancid.

Because of their high fat content, walnuts are best stored in tightly sealed containers in the refrigerator. You can even store them in the freezer for up to six months.

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