Walnuts are edible seeds from the Juglans genus trees. They the round, single-seeded fruits of the walnut tree. The fruit and seed of the walnut are enclosed in a thick, inedible husk. The shell of the fruit that encloses the kernel is hard and two-halved. The walnut seed contains significant amounts of nutrients like proteins, essential fatty acids, carbonhydrates, vitamins and minerals.
Walnuts have always been considered as brain food, sometimes associating the walnut's appearance with the human brain. For that reason, walnuts have been considered a symbol of intelligence. Walnuts really contain omega-3 fatty acids, which increase the activity of the brain. Omega-3 fatty acids combined with iodine and selenium add to ensuring optimum functionality of the brain.
The health benefits of walnuts include a reduction of bad cholesterol, improvement in metabolism and control of diabetes. Walnuts also possess anti-inflammatory properties, aid in weight management and help as a mood booster. They are also believed to slow down the spread of cancer.
Walnuts contain a lot of health benefiting compounds. The minerals found in walnuts include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. Vitamins include vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin E, vitamin K and vitamin A. Carotenoids include beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
• Walnuts are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and are a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid. It also contains other EFAs like linoleic acid, alpha linolenic acid and arachidonic acids. Walnuts can help prevent coronary heart diseases and can lower LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol.
• Consuming walnuts can secure the bone health of the body. The fatty acids present increase calcium absorption and deposition, while reducing urinary calcium excretion.
• Walnuts can increase the metabolic rate of the body. That is due to the high percentage of fatty acids and minerals, which contribute to metabolic activities like growth and development, sperm generation, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis.
• Eating nuts like walnuts can contribute in more control over diabetes and the risks of having an increase in blood sugar levels.
• Some of the components present in walnuts have the capability of controlling the growth of cancer cells in the body. The phenolic compounds and antioxidants found in them recorded a control on human cancer cells.
• Again, those cancer-fighting polyphenolic compounds and phytochemical substances reduce the effects of inflammation throughout the body.
• Walnuts are rich in gamma-tocopherol and vitamin E, which is a strong lipid soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E helps in maintaining and protecting the skin from free radicals that are harmful in nature. The nuts are also rich in B-complex vitamins like folate, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and vitamin B-6.
• It has been indicated that lack of omega-3 fatty acids can cause hyperactivity, irritability and tantrums. Eating walnuts thus means one is receiving appropriate amounts of omega-3, managing any of those symptoms. People suffering from depression or stress should also be urged to consume walnuts regularly.
• Eating walnuts at dinner or before sleeping can result in a better quality of sleep. Walnuts contain bio-available melatonin, which is the hormone produced to help induce and regulate sleep.