Walnuts and Health Benefits
Walnuts belong to the family of nuts including pistachios, cashewnuts, pine nuts and hazel nuts to name a few. While many varieties of walnuts exist, the three most common types are the English walnut, black walnut and white walnut. The core or kernel of the walnut is the edible portion of the nut and is enclosed in a shell. The core consists of two joint uneven divisions that are white in color and are partitioned. They are engulfed by an outer brown layer which is the skin of the nut.
Walnuts are perishable by nature and care should be taken while storing and selecting them. Pick the unshelled varieties of walnuts in the stores. Also those walnuts where the shell is intact and not broken should be bought. The unshelled walnuts can be stored in a cool place to keep them fresh for 6 months. When the walnuts are shelled, preserve in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 6 months and the freezer for 12 months.
The walnuts should be relished with the skin as the skin contains many nutrients. Walnuts can be shelled and consumed directly. Salted and roasted walnuts can also be relished. Additionally, chopped walnuts can tossed be in salads with fruits and vegetables and other seasoning ingredients. Also walnut pieces can be used for garnishing dishes such as ice-creams, pies, puddings and halwa preparations.
Walnuts with their crunchiness make for a tasty snack and can be munched upon all day long. Coupled with the fact that they are nutritious only increases their demand. They are light-weight and portable and can be carried when travelling long distances for consumption when required. The shell of the walnuts can be disposed and the walnut core can be enjoyed to satiate the appetite.
Walnuts come with numerous health benefits as we will be studying in the following details.
- Nutritional Content
Walnuts are rich sources of vitamins such as Vitamin E, folate and minerals including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc and copper.
The Omega-3 fats, protein, dietary fiber and anti-oxidants are also present in walnuts.
- Anti-Oxidant Agent
The Vitamin E contained in walnuts gives the body protection against the effects of free radicals that can affect the cell membranes and cause irreparable damage. This fact makes walnuts effective anti-oxidant agents.
- Cardio-Vascular Health
Good cholesterol is engineered and bad cholesterol levels are reduced by the intake of walnuts thereby keeping the heart healthy by combating health problems.
- Enhanced Brain Function
The memory function is improved and dementia is avoided with walnut consumption.
- Anti-cancer Benefits
The development of cancerous cells within the body is restricted by elements contained in walnuts and here it would be safe to say that walnuts have anti-cancer benefits.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties
The effects of inflammation are reduced to a huge extent with properties within walnuts and hence walnuts also contain anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Healthy Bones
The levels of absorption of calcium and the deposition of the same in the body is increased when walnuts are consumed. Also the flushing of calcium via excretion is reduced. These factors contribute to additional calcium in the body and are responsible for healthy bones.
- Other Benefits
The numerous other benefits of walnuts include reducing the risk of diabetes; weight management; improvement in metabolism; enhanced sleep patterns; walnuts are useful in hair-care as they curb hair-loss and hair fall and increase hair-growth; walnuts are proven good for skin-care as they prevent damage by free radicals that can cause anti-aging and wrinkling and in the process impart a natural glow to the skin.
Although walnuts are packed with nutrients, caution should be exercised to not consume walnuts in abnormally large quantities. This is because walnuts rate high in oxalates which are responsible for kidney stones.