Amazing Health Benefits of Walnuts Suggested by Grill Heat Aid
Walnuts used to be viewed as unhealthy due to their high fat and calorie content, but in recent history, we have found this assumption to be completely false. Packed with healthy essential fats, antioxidants, vitamins, trace minerals, protein, and fiber, walnuts are a veritable superfood. These tree nuts have negligible sodium, are cholesterol-free and are unique in the fact that they contain polyunsaturated fats instead of monounsaturated fats (basically the type of fat is healthier than in other nuts).
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, 1 cup of unbranded, organic walnuts (30 grams) contains:
- Energy: 200 calories
- Carbohydrate 3.89 grams (g)
- Sugar: 1 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 5 g
- Fat: 20 g
- Calcium: 20 milligrams (mg)
- Iron: 0.72 mg
- Sodium: 0 mg
Walnuts are also a good source of:
- vitamin B6
Good for the brain: Walnuts contain important phytochemicals, as well as high amounts of polyunsaturated fats that offer potential benefits for both brain health and function. Omega-3 fatty acids play a part by helping reduce oxidative stress in the brain, but also by helping to improve brain signaling and neurogenesis, which is the creation of neurons. As well as the good fats, other important nutrients such as vitamin E, folate and ellagic acid are all found in walnuts, and also contribute to neuroprotection and memory function.
Rich in Antioxidants: Walnuts have higher antioxidant activity than any other common nut. This activity comes from vitamin E, melatonin, and plant compounds called polyphenols, which are particularly high in the papery skin of walnuts. A preliminary, small study in healthy adults showed that eating a walnut-rich meal prevented oxidative damage of “bad” LDL cholesterol after eating, whereas a refined-fat meal didn’t. That’s beneficial because oxidized LDL is prone to build up in your arteries, causing atherosclerosis.
Heart-healthy: The Journal of Nutrition reports that consumption of walnuts may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and that walnut oil provides more favorable benefits to endothelial function, which is the lining of the inside of our blood and lymphatic vessels. There has also been researched into whole walnuts, and how they can improve cholesterol levels and markers for inflammation, which is also connected to a reduced risk of heart disease.
Grow healthy, strong hair and nails: Walnuts are a great source of biotin, or vitamin B7, which is thought to help hair and nails grow stronger and longer, as well as prevent hair loss. Vitamin E can also help give your hair and nails a healthy shine.
Help prevent heart disease: Studies in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and Israel all concluded that two to three servings of walnuts a day decreased cholesterol levels enough to lower the risk of coronary heart disease. If you have heart disease in your family, you might want to consider stocking up on this healthy nut!
Improve your memory: Walnuts contain the essential fatty acids omega-3 and 6. These may help improve memory and cognitive function.
Prevent depression: Having an overall healthy diet can help with depression, but studies have shown having low systemic levels of omega-3 can be especially harmful. This makes sense since omega fatty acids are good for the brain! Walnuts have plenty of omega-3 to help in the prevention of depression.
Improve sperm quality: Trying to get pregnant? Make sure your guy is taking a handful of walnuts each day as one of the benefits of walnuts is improved sperm vitality and motility. It also might help prevent sperm morphology or abnormal sperm growth.
Help prevent prostate and breast cancer: Walnuts have the highest amount of antioxidants in the nut family. Due to this boost of antioxidants, walnuts have been proven to help slow the growth of both prostate and breast cancers.
Aid in weight management: It is that time of year when many decide they have indulged too much over the holidays and need to drop some pounds. In addition to all of the other health benefits of walnuts, this nut can be a great tool in weight management. Walnuts contain loads of fiber, protein and fat that all help you feel fuller longer.
May Decrease Inflammation: Inflammation is at the root of many diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer, and can be caused by oxidative stress. The polyphenols in walnuts can help fight this oxidative stress and inflammation. A subgroup of polyphenols called ellagitannins may be especially involved. Beneficial bacteria in your gut convert ellagitannins to compounds called urolithins, which have been found to protect against inflammation
Help Lower Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Some studies suggest that eating walnuts may help lower blood pressure, including in people with high blood pressure and in healthy people when under stress. Other studies did not observe this effect.
Supports Healthy Aging: As you age, good physical functioning is essential for maintaining your mobility and independence. One thing that may help maintain your physical abilities is healthy eating habits.
In an observational study over 18 years in more than 50,000 older women, scientists found that those with the healthiest diets had a 13% lower risk of physical impairment. Walnuts were among the foods that made the strongest contribution to a healthy diet. Though high in calories, walnuts are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, fats, and plant compounds that may help support good physical functioning as you age.
Supports Good Brain Function: It may be just a coincidence that the shell of a walnut looks like a tiny brain, but research suggests that this nut may indeed be good for your mind. Animal and test-tube studies found that the nutrients in walnuts, including polyunsaturated fat, polyphenols, and vitamin E, may help reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in your brain.
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