An edible seed from the trees belonging to genus Juglans, walnut seeds supplies a high dose of nutrients especially proteins and essential fatty acids.
Walnuts come under the category of single-seeded stone fruits that are characterized by the presence of an outer fleshy part enclosing a shell with a seed inside.
Walnuts are known as nutrient dense fruits with 100 grams of walnuts storing - 65.2 grams of fat, 15.2 grams of protein and 6.7 grams of dietary fiber. The protein content in walnuts supplies several essential amino acids.
According to a research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Medicine, people who consume nuts, especially walnuts, are more likely to live longer.
The study states, "Those who eat nuts more than three times a week, have a reduced risk of dying from cancer or cardiovascular disease than non-nut eaters."
Walnut has been found to be a heart healthy food that helps in lowering blood pressure. Some of the major health benefits of walnut include:
1. Contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Our body needs adequate amounts of Omega-3 to reduce inflammation, maintain normal blood circulation, promote healthy brain function and provide resistance against heart disease. Since our body is unable to synthesize Omega-3 fatty acids inside, we are dependent on the intake of omega-3-rich foods to meet body's requirement.
Walnuts are among the known sources of omega-3 fatty acids along with fish and fish oils, and are used as an important ingredient in Mediterranean recipes. As the University of Maryland Medical Center reports, the intake of walnuts has been found to lower total cholesterol level and triglyceride in people with high levels of cholesterol.
2. Improve Blood Vessel Health
Omega-3 fatty acids, present in walnuts, make it a heart healthy food that help prevent irregular heart contractions and reduce the risk of clot formation in blood. Walnuts also contain the essential amino acide I-argnine that facilitate relaxation of blood vessels and better the elasticity of the blood vessel resulting in improved mental function and prevention of heart diseases and stroke.
3. Provide Antioxidant Defense
Walnuts reportedly have anti-inflammatory properties that provide antioxidant defense and prevent damage to the healthy cells, caused by free radicals. This beneficial stone fruit also protects the body from health conditions including asthma, eczema, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.
4. Effective against Diabetes
According to the Journal of Nutrition, the consumption of walnut lowers the risk of Type 2 Diabetes in women. The study reveals, though the nuts supplies high amounts of fats, most of these are MUFAs and PUFAs that are known to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Also, nuts contain bioactive compounds including plant sterols, dietary fiber, vegetable protein and antioxidants that boast of favorable effects on type 2 diabetes.
5. Stress Buster
A recent study has found that polyunsaturated fats such as linolenic acid which is found in walnuts and flax seeds have a therapeutic effect on people suffering from stress.
The participants in the study who'd consumed walnuts reported a decrease in LDL levels and significant fall in their blood pressure response to stress.
In addition to above mentioned health benefits, walnuts are also known to reduce the risk of breast cancer, maintain healthy weight and lower cholesterol.