Walnut occupies an important place in the healthy food items of human beings for thousands of years. It is perhaps the oldest tree food and dates back to almost 7000 BC. It is believed that English walnuts originated from Himalayan region of India and erstwhile Persia. The Romans called it Juglans Regia which means “Food of Jupiter”. In Persia the Walnuts were reserved for royals.
According to a new research by a team from University of Scranton, Walnuts have the highest amount of the most powerful anti-oxidant, polyphenol, among a group of nuts. The potency of the
anti-oxidant in terms of quantity and quality has been found to be almost double compared to any other nut. It is a well-known fact that antioxidants neutralizes the free radicals responsible for serious health problems like cancer, heart disease, pre mature aging and cell death. Polyphenols, a type of antioxidants have been found to reduce LDL and protect heart by slowing down plaque build-up. It is a good source of high quality protein, fibre and alpha – linolenic Acid (ALA). It has already been established that walnuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acid, the food for the brain.
It is increasingly being established that there is a number of health benefits associated with walnuts. Some of them are as given below.
Protecting Heart – A healthy heart condition is favoured by adequate presence of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients found in walnuts in good measure. The omega 3 fatty acids found in walnut lower the overall cholesterol and undesirable LDL cholesterol level which helps in preventing coronary artery disease and stroke.
Anti-Cancer properties – The anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of walnuts help in reducing the threats of cancer development. The amount of anti-oxidants in walnuts is much higher compared to fruits and vegetables. There are certain chemicals in the walnut which improve the overall anti-oxidant activity enhancing the effectiveness of neutralizing the free radicals to reduce the threats of cancer.
Other benefits – Some other health benefits of walnuts include improved bone health, benefits or type 2 diabetes, improvement of memory and cognitive processes and anti-aging.
The outer skins of the walnuts contain a substantial part of the nutrients. However in superstores one may find that the skins have been removed to give more attractive visual impressions. It is wise to get the walnuts in its natural cover and use nut cracker to obtain the nuts and have it with the skins. It is seen that many sources recommend 6-7 walnuts in the daily diet to have the desired health impact in the areas of heart disease, cancer prevention, improvement in brain functions and enjoying a healthy life.