Walnuts – 7 Reasons Why You Need Them in Your Diet
A handful of walnuts are your daily shield against a host of lifestyle disorders!
Walnut – the crinkle-laced nutty delight – packs a power punch when it comes to safeguarding health and well-being. Known to work wonders against rising cholesterol levels, weight gain and diabetes, walnuts are a rich source of proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and essential minerals. Most importantly, walnuts are laced with Omega-3 fatty acids which accelerate brain activity and promote sturdy brain functioning.
AND they taste great as well! Toss it in salads, add it in fruit bowls, use it in desserts or munch on them as mid-evening snack.
Intrigued by the many benefits of walnuts, we got talking to Dt Huda Shaikh, Nutritionist and Clinical dietitian at NutriBond to get some perspective on the various health benefits of this super nut. Here’s what she had to say:
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1. Keeps the Heart Healthy
Walnuts are a rich of Omega-3 fatty acid and amino acid, the anti-inflammatory properties of which helps it slash bad cholesterol from the body and keep the heart healthy.
2. Food for the Brain
They look like a mini replica of the human brain. The creases and crinkles leave little doubt but that is not why walnuts are hailed as food for the brain. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, just a handful of walnuts eaten as snacks or as part of a meal can boost cognitive health. The study also claimed that walnuts boost memory and enhance the speed with which the brain functions.
Dt Huda Shaikh agrees,
Walnuts are rich in neuroprotective compounds – such as Vitamin E, folate,melatonin, omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants – which reduce oxidative stress and protect the brain, improving its cognitive and motor functions as we age.
3. Great for Gut Health
Walnuts increase the diversity of bacteria in the gut. Increased bacterial activity keeps obesity and inflammatory bowel disease at bay, according to a study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
Walnuts can act as probiotics and increase the presence of good bacteria in the gut, leading to improved digestion and a healthy gut, in turn.Dt Huda Shaikh, Nutritionist and Clinical dietitian at NutriBond
4. Curbs Appetite, Prevents Over-Eating
According to the findings of a study published in the Journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, “walnut consumption decreases feelings of hunger and appetite and increases activation of the right insula to highly desirable food cues.” Simply put, walnuts promote a feeling of fullness and prevent you from reaching out for that extra dose of fries.
5. Boosts Fertility in Men
Studies in the past have claimed that 2.5 ounces of walnut, when consumed daily, maintain vitality and motility of sperms in men aged 21-35 years. According to Dt Huda Shaikh, “Having 75 grams of walnut daily can boost male fertility manifold”.
6. Keeps Alzheimer's at Bay
It again goes back to the rich nutrient content of walnuts. The presence of Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamin E improves brain function and can facilitate slower progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This is also one of the reasons, says Dt Shaikh, that walnuts are hailed as brain food.
7. Regulates Sleep
A good night’s sleep is essential for keeping us healthy, active and energetic. “Walnuts contain melatonin – a sleep inducing hormone – thereby regulating sleep as we rest after a long day’s work,” says Dt Huda Shaikh.
Crush some walnuts in your dinner salad or pop them in a glass of milk before going to sleep.
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