Yes, walnuts actually help you think better. But they can also do many other things for the rest of your body. Let’s crack this hard nut to explore more of its benefits.
Sharpen your wits
Research shows that walnuts [rich in omega-3 fats] boost your brain cell activity, thus improving brainpower. Adding some to your daily diet helps boost memory in kids and even older people [can be consumed in powder form in case of denture problems]. Recent studies have also indicated the use of walnuts in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Keep heart attack away
The fat found in walnuts is mainly omega-3 fats, a type of monounsaturated fatty acid that has heart-protective qualities. Thus walnuts:
- Lower total blood cholesterol
- Increase HDL [good cholesterol]
- Decrease LDL [bad cholesterol]
- Reduce chances of blood clot formation
- Reduce inflammation of blood vessels
- Relax blood vessels that help to control high blood pressure.
Lose weight the fun way
The extraordinary combination of fibre, omega-3 fats and proteins in walnuts helps create a feeling of fullness, aiding weight management. It also improves blood cholesterol levels in overweight type-2 diabetics [non-insulin dependent].
Walnuts help maximise your fitness efforts by providing fuel for optimum performance. They are a good post-workout recovery snack. So the next time you hit the gym, throw a bag of walnuts in your gym bag.
Make your hair long and lustrous
Walnuts are a key ‘hair food’, as they are an excellent source of biotin, an essential nutrient known to strengthen hair, improve hair growth and reduce hair fall. A deficiency of biotin leads to frequent hair loss and breakage. [However, in severe cases of hair loss, walnuts may not help, ask your physician about biotin supplements].
Keep your skin youthful
Walnuts are a rich source of copper, which helps erase wrinkles. Copper is known to improve skin elasticity and its natural stretch by improving the growth of elastin [a protein present in skin that helps to maintain its shape]. You can use walnut as a facial scrub by mixing five tablespoons of curd with five finely ground walnuts. It works wonders for your skin.
Eat it during pregnancy
Walnuts are a vital food for pregnant women. The good supply of proteins and omega-3 fats are good for your baby’s brain and eye development. In fact, I would advice you to continue having few walnuts daily even after the baby arrives. Walnuts help breast-feeding women to maintain a healthy milk supply too.
Say bye-bye to toxins
Walnuts are densely packed with vitamin E, copper, manganese and polyphenols. These act as antioxidants that help our body get rid of free radicals [toxins] created in our body because of exposure to pollution, UV radiations, smoke, stress and junk foods. Polyphenols also have anti-cancer properties and constantly fight against toxins helping us build better immunity.
Get a good night’s sleep
Walnuts are known to elevate blood levels of melatonin [a hormone that induces sleep] and hence make for a good bedtime snack.
Have healthy bones
Omega-3 fats in walnuts improve bone health by decreasing breakdown of bones.
Know your daily dose
Here is how you can eat walnuts on a daily basis:
- A few walnuts added to cornflakes or oats with milk is a great way to start your day.
- A simple cup of curd/yogurt can be made more nutritious by garnishing it with some walnuts.
- Walnuts can be added in wrap fillings, pizza toppings, koftas, salads, dips, pulao, cutlets, sauteed vegetables, pancakes, pasta dishes, dumplings, stuffed kachoris, stuffed mushrooms and bread rolls.
- They can be added in cookies, breads, muffin, chikki, puddings, smoothies, brownies, home-made chocolates and jelly.
- Ground walnuts can be mixed with chapatti dough or even used to thicken soups, gravies, sauces, and stew. You can also mix it with marinade or to coat chicken/fish before frying.
- Make an attractive glass of parfait at home. Take a tall glass, fill up the bottom layer of the glass with some finely-cut apple, followed by ice-cream, next a layer of crushed walnuts, lastly a layer of jelly. Serve as a dessert.
Don’t go overboard
Lastly, I would like to emphasise and remind all readers, that although the nutritional profile of walnuts sounds very impressive, excess consumption of nuts is not advisable. It can cause diarrhoea, may interfere with iron absorption and if you consume large amounts daily, it can cause weight gain too. Allergic reactions to walnuts can cause skin rashes, itching, swelling of lips, wheezing and dizziness.
About 4 – 7 pieces of walnuts is the recommended quantity that can be consumed on a daily basis. In fact, it’s a good choice to use walnuts as a replacement for other sources of fat like cheese, paneer, red meat. It’s also important to remember that an ideal state of good health cannot be achieved just by eating walnuts; it’s all about making healthy conscious choices and lifestyle changes as a part of your daily routine.
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