It is the healthiest dry fruit, thanks to the balanced composition of its fats, which reduce cholesterol and are good for the heart. In addition, it provides valuable healthy nutrients.
“Nuez” derives from the Latin nux. And the Latin name of the tree, Juglans ,means ” jovins glans “, “seed of Jupiter”, which is, in turn, the Latin version of the Greek Theos balanos, meaning “seed of Zeus”, which is as much as saying “seed of God”.
Although there are 21 species of walnut, the four main ones are: the Persian or European walnut (Juglans regia), which originated around the Caspian Sea, although some authors believe that it comes from the Himalayas, China or Japan; and black walnuts (J. nigra), white (J. cinerea) and Californian (J. californica), of American origin.
The Persian variety is the most popular and is characterized by being large and relatively thin shell. It was introduced in Europe by the Romans in the 4th century.
The black is smaller, hard and more intense flavor. White is sweeter and more unctuous and difficult to find in the market. Currently, the main world producers are China, the United States, Iran and Turkey. The fruits are harvested in December, but dried are on the market all year round.
Properties of the nut
Such nuts provide a variety of nutrients such as proteins, lipids, fiber, antioxidants, sterols, vitamins B and E and minerals, such as potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium. While it has a source of monounsaturated fats and are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
While in other nuts the proportion of omega 6 is much higher than that of omega-3 (40 to 1 in the almond, for example), which may favor inflammation if the disproportion is not corrected through other foods, in walnut the ratio is 5 to 1, much more balanced.
Only 9% is saturated fat, 14% is beneficial monounsaturated and 77% is polyunsaturated, of which, 13% is from the omega 3 family. This is part of the secret of the most studied property of nuts: its protective effect against cardiovascular diseases.
It also provides protein (15%) and presents a remarkable percentage of vitamin E, vitamins of group B, and minerals and trace elements such as phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc and iron.
1. Properties that fight cancer
The high percentage of antioxidants and nutrients found in nuts has been shown to help prevent the risk of cancer.
Several researches affirm that the intake of walnuts reduces the risk of cancer up to 30-40% in the cases of prostate and up to 50% in breast cancer.
Some of the properties of the nut that favor the prevention against cancer are vitamin E (and more specifically the so-called gamma-tocopherol) and the reduction that makes endothelin levels.
Gamma-tocopherol (very abundant in nuts) has been shown to help fight breast, lung, and prostate cancer.
Also, nuts reduce the levels of endothelin, a compound that increases the inflammation of blood vessels.
The omega-3 fatty acids, along with the phytosterols found in nuts have been shown to help slow the growth of breast cancer tumors.
According to researcher W. Elaine Hardman of Marshall Medical University, “Phytosterols bind to estrogen receptors, so it could slow the growth of breast cancers.”
“Although future studies are needed, we are optimistic about the role of miRNAs as biomarkers of disease and prognosis. They may show a possible therapeutic target for the treatment of colorectal cancer. “
2. Benefits for the heart
Most studies on walnut have focused on the benefits of this for the heart and circulatory system.
Nuts contain amino acids such as L-arginine, which offer multiple vascular benefits to people with heart disease, or those at higher risk of heart disease.
In the case of having herpes, it may be better to avoid or limit the nuts, since high levels of arginine can deplete the amino acid lysine, which can trigger herpes recurrences.
Nuts also contain omega-3 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid and vegetable-derived fat that is anti-inflammatory and can prevent the formation of pathological blood clots.
Different studies show that people who eat a diet rich in vegetable fats are less likely to have a heart attack (almost 50% less).
Eating only four nuts a day significantly increases blood levels of vegetable-derived fat for the heart, and maintains healthy cholesterol levels.
3. Reduce the risk of diabetes
The consumption of nuts has been shown to be directly related to the possibility of reducing the risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes.
According to the report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association made exclusively to women, it is suggested that the benefits of these nuts could be extended to the entire population.
In total, 84,000 North Americans aged between 34 and 59 years were evaluated over a period of 16 years. Women who took about 28 grams a day (the equivalent of walnuts that fit into a fist) at least five times a week had about 27% less risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
If the consumption was limited to an average of between 1 and 4 times per week, the risk diminished 16% in comparison with those who had not tried them.
The results clarify that nuts should not be added to the diet without more, but should replace other foods to prevent caloric consumption from ‘firing’.
4. The best antioxidant
Antioxidants are an indispensable component for our health. These, prevent wear and excessive cell aging.
We live in a world that moves faster and faster and that demands more and more of us. Our life is full of chaotic situations and that lead us to physical and mental wear, therefore, a small dose of antioxidants is essential in our diet.
Small amounts are needed, which vary according to various conditions such as age, physical activity, eating habits and health conditions.
Nuts contain several unique and powerful antioxidants found only in a few common foods. These include juglone quinone, tellimagrandin tannin and morin flavonol.
In addition, it has powerful antioxidants to eradicate free radicals that has attracted the attention of scientists.
Research has shown that walnut polyphenols can help prevent chemically induced liver damage.
As a conclusion to this, it can be said that nuts are rich in the antioxidant polyphenol, which, when linked to lipoproteins, inhibits the oxidative process that leads to atherosclerosis in vivo.
5. Help to have a healthy mind
Nuts contain a number of neuroprotective compounds, including vitamin E, folic acid, melatonin, omega 3 fats and antioxidants.
Various scientific sources show that the consumption of nuts can help mental health, including the increase of inferential reasoning in young people.
A study also found that consuming foods high in antioxidants such as walnuts can reduce the vulnerability of oxidative stress that occurs with aging, increase the health span, and also improve the cognitive and motor function of aging.
As recently proved by neuroscientists at the University of Boston (USA), adding nuts to our diet improves the performance of tasks that need motor skills.
This is because it improves the connection between neurons because of its high content of polyphenols and other antioxidants.
A study published recently in the journal Neurochemical Research suggested that the extract of nuts (the dried fruit once removed its fiber) has protective effects against oxidative stress and cell death that occur in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients. And all thanks to its content in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid of vegetable origin.
The journal Neurochemical Research reported that nut extract (the dried fruit once its fiber is removed) has protective effects against oxidative stress and cell death that occurs in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients.
The main cause of this is its content of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid of vegetable origin.
6. Get a flat belly
Years ago, if your goal was to lose weight, nuts were understood as a food to avoid. Instead, more and more are the nutritionists who recommend them as a fundamental part of the weight loss plan.
They have contrasted the results of taking a handful of nuts a day for abdominal reduction and fat in that area.
Despite concentrating energy and containing fats, its nutritional quality and consumption in small quantities on a daily basis can improve cardiovascular risk factors and thereby help to lose belly and treat obesity and its associated diseases.
Despite containing fats and a good amount of energy, its consumption in small daily amounts helps to lose belly, improves cardiovascular risk factors, and their associated diseases.
If it is very monotonous to take them raw, as it is a small food with a not too strong flavor, it can be easily included in our diet by means of salads or included in a meal.
7. Increase fertility in healthy men
One of the great secrets of nuts is its possible impact on male fertility in men who carry a Western-style diet.
Adding 75 grams (a little more than half a cup) daily, significantly improves the quality of sperm, including vitality, mobility and morphology.
Walnuts could improve sperm quality in healthy men according to various studies, but now, researchers want to know if they help men with fertility problems.
Their study is based on the evidence that men’s dietary and lifestyle habits could affect their fertility.
Previous research showed that men with “poor” sperm noticed an improvement after taking fish oil supplements rich in omega-3 fats.
8. Nuts are good for the brain
It is said that when a fruit resembles a part of the body is that it is good for that part. Nuts are rich in healthy fats and the brain is made up of them, plus:
They are rich in Omega 3, a nutrient that prevents insomnia, nervousness and depression and anxiety.
9. Nuts improve dry skin
When you have dry skin wrinkles appear (yes, even if you are 20 years old) the skin is peeling and if you go to more you can suffer eczema.
Luckily nuts prevent these symptoms because they are rich in zinc, copper and Omega 3, nutrients that improve the dryness of both your skin and your hair.
10. Eating nuts can prevent dandruff
One of the reasons for suffering from dandruff is the extreme dryness of the scalp, either:
As you just read the nuts prevent the dryness of your body, preventing, consequently, your dandruff problems.
11. Walnuts are rich in calcium
Being so beneficial for the bones that are recommended especially in women with menopause.
Along with other nuts, they are the ideal alternative when dairy products do not feel good at all.
12. Walnuts lower “bad” cholesterol
Known as LDL or “bad cholesterol” this substance builds up in your arteries causing circulation problems that can end up in strokes.
The nuts, thanks to their contribution of Omega 3 and Omega 9, reduce the bad cholesterol by increasing the good.
13. Better aging
A study from the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona and the Loma Linda University (United States) showed that the daily consumption of walnuts can help to have healthy aging.
14. Regulate the bacterial flora
Another of its benefits is the regulation of the bacterial flora of the intestine. While they also provide a great function satisfying hunger.
15. Increase serotonin levels
Various studies have also shown that nuts give us energy and positivity. This is because they increase serotonin levels in the brain, which is directly responsible for offering better well-being.
16. Anti-inflammatory action
Nuts work as a natural anti-inflammatory, thanks in part to mineral zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.
17. Help the immune system
Vitamin E and the antioxidants of the nut provide benefits and defend us from some bacteria. With it, the immune system is strengthened and we get less sick.
Why You Should Eat Walnut Skin
The outer layer of a peeled walnut – the whitish, peeling (or sometimes waxy) part – has a bitter taste, but will resist the need to remove it. It is believed that up to 90 percent of the antioxidants in nuts are found in the skin, being one of the healthiest parts of consuming.
However, be aware that nuts are highly perishable and their healthy fats easily break down. If you buy peeled walnuts in bulk, avoid those that look wrinkled and smell rancid, or those that cannot prove that they are fresh. The nuts should be stored in hermetically sealed containers in your refrigerator or freezer, peeled or not. Nuts are good as a quick and easy snack, but if you do not like the taste you can still get its therapeutic benefits by mixing them in shakes or smoothies, or you can try other types of nuts available.
You can improve the quality of the nut by soaking it in water at night, which tends to reduce some inhibitors of enzymes and phytic acid. After soaking, you can dehydrate them at a lower temperature, approximately 105 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit until they are crisp again, as they are much richer crispy.
Snacks are usually the perfect complement to arrive without anxiety at mealtime. And nuts, because of their high content of healthy nutrients for the organism, become the ideal aperitif to drink without neglecting your body or your health.