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13 health benefits of eating walnuts

Wednesday, 22 January 2014 - 12:17pm IST | Agency: health.india.com

Nuts have gotten a bad rap for being too high in fat, but the truth about them is that nuts, especially walnuts, are a powerhouse of nutrition.

Helps you lose weight

Contrary to what people believe, walnuts are actually good for weight management since an ounce of walnut contains 2.5g of omega 3 fats, 4g of protein and 2g of fibre that help provide satiety. Any successful weight management plan must include the satiety factor; so walnut is undoubtedly the right food to consider if you are into a weight management programme. Despite being ‘dense in calories, walnuts can be an important tool in helping you lose weight.

Helps you sleep

The nuts can improve sleep, as they contain hormone melatonin, that induces sleep and helps regulate sleep. This makes walnuts a great evening or bedtime snack for improving your sleep.

Great for your hair

Walnut is a good ‘hair food’ too. This is because walnut contains biotin (vitamin B7) that helps strengthen hair, reduce hair fall and improve hair growth to certain extent. (Read: Prevent hair loss with these foods)

Helps keep heart disease at bay

Walnuts are rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids which makes them really effective in combating heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids also helps in combating bad cholesterol and encourages the production of good cholesterol making it a great snack to keep your heart in great health.

Prevents diabetes

According to a study, women who consumed 28 grams of walnuts twice a week, were 24% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The study was published in the Journal of Nutrition, and even though it was conducted on women, experts believe that the benefits would be similar for men too.

Boosts your sperm quality

Eating 2.5 ounces of walnuts per day improves semen quality in healthy young men, researchers say. According to a study by UCLA researchers, eating 75 grams of walnuts a day improves the vitality, motility, and morphology of sperm in healthy men aged 21 to 35. (Read: 7 inexpensive food items to boost your fertility)

Makes your skin glow

Walnuts are rich in B-vitamins and antioxidants which prevents your skin from free radical damage and prevents wrinkles and signs of ageing. So if you want glowing skin long into your middle-age, eat walnuts.

Can keep dementia at bay

Eating walnuts everyday can help ward off dementia, say scientists. In the study, Dr. Abha Chauhan and his team from the New York State Institute found that mice deprived of walnuts suffered a dramatic loss in learning, memory and physical and emotional control. According to the results, vitamin E and flavanoids in walnuts helped destroy harmful free radical chemicals that cause dementia.

Prevents pancreatic cancer

A new study has found that consumption of nuts, including walnuts, is inversely associated with risk of pancreatic cancer, independent of other potential risk factors for pancreatic cancer.

Researchers looked at the association between nut consumption and risk of pancreatic cancer among 75,680 women in the Nurses’ Health Study, with no previous history of cancer. It was observed that the women who consumed a one-ounce serving of nuts two or more times per week had a significantly reduced risk of pancreatic cancer compared to those who largely abstained from nuts.

Helps you live longer

Eating a handful of walnuts just thrice a week is the key to a longer life, a study has found.

Scientists discovered that these edible seeds cut the risk of dying from cancer by 40 per cent and from cardiovascular disease by at least 55 per cent. In general, nut eaters in the research had a 39 per cent lesser risk of death and walnut eaters in particular a 45 per cent reduced threat.

Great for pregnant women

Mothers-to-be who eat a diet rich in fatty acids such as those found in walnuts can reduce the baby’s chances of developing food allergies, researchers say. The research found that if a mother’s diet contains a certain group of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), the baby”s gut develops differently. The PUFAs are thought to improve how gut immune cells respond to bacteria and foreign substances, making the baby less likely to suffer from allergies. (Read: 10 diet dos and don’ts during pregnancy by expert dietician Naini Setalvad)

Lowers breast cancer risk

The researchers at the Marshall University found that a daily dose of walnuts – equal to 2 ounces a day in humans – reduces the growth of breast cancer tumors in mice. Lead researcher Elaine Hardman, Ph.D., of Marshall’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, and colleagues studied the mice from the mother, through conception and throughout life. They then compared mice given walnuts to those fed a regular diet. The research found that the group whose diet included walnut at both stages developed breast cancer at less than half the rate of the group with the typical diet.  In addition, the number of tumors and their sizes were significantly smaller.

Can fight stress

If daily stress is taking a toll on your health, it’s time to eat walnuts, as they help fight stress, according to a study. The researchers found that including walnuts and walnut oil in the diet lowered both resting blood pressure and blood pressure responses to stress in the laboratory.

Walnuts are a rich source of fibre, antioxidants, and unsaturated fatty acids, particularly alpha linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. These are the nutrients that give walnuts it’s stress fighting properties. (Read: Feeling stressed? Try these natural remedies)

—With inputs from ANI


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