Nuts and dried fruits are magnificent allies for our health. They are very healthy foods that, in addition, have important vitamin and essential nutrients to maintain an iron health. And, among the great variety of nuts and dried fruits that we can find, one of our favorites are walnuts. Therefore, today we are going to see in detail what benefits and properties walnuts provide us with; and why we should include them in our diet on a regular basis.
But let’s start at the beginning, what are walnuts?
Although no doubt you all know this nut, let’s see what they are. Walnuts are a nut that comes from any tree of the genus Juglans. Since there are many different types of walnuts, we also find different types of trees that give us this fruit. For example, a type of nut are almonds or hazelnuts; although we are used to use these names separately.
Even so, the fruit that we all know popularly as walnuts (the common walnuts), come from the walnut tree, or Juglans Regia. Although botanically speaking, we should not consider walnuts a nut, since it is a seed as we have already mentioned. The nut is an edible seed, which is protected by a hard and resistant shell.
As for food, they are a great source of protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals … In addition to being rich in antioxidants and being a very nutritious food. So, if you want to see all the benefits of walnuts in detail, join us.
The origin of this nut
Like any other ingredient, the origin of walnuts is uncertain.
In addition, searching for the origin of this nut is complicated as there are many different types of nuts.
However, the Juglans Regia tree, the common walnut, originated in Persia. From there it spread to different parts of Asia, Europe and North America, where they are grown today.
In Europe they were introduced by the Romans in the 4th century. And since then they have become a fundamental food in the diet of many. Moreover, they are so versatile that they can be eaten in so many ways. Raw, toasted, fried… Or include them in our favorite recipes, such as desserts, salads, and other dishes.
Benefits and Properties of Walnuts
After seeing what this fruit is and where it comes from, let’s see the benefits of including them in our diet. Walnuts are rich in vitamins and minerals. They are rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6, two polyunsaturated fatty acids essential to maintain good health. In addition, as popular wisdom has known for centuries, they are a great ally for the brain. But let’s take a closer look at the properties and benefits of walnuts:
- Thanks to their contribution of Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, walnuts are related to a magnificent brain health. They are a great ally for our brain. Surely you have heard on occasion to make mention of this, with the explanation that they are good for the brain, and therefore have their shape, at least that’s how my grandmother always explained it. They also improve our cognitive function and help us to prevent neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
In addition, due to their Omega 3 content, along with their contribution of B vitamins, phosphorus and lecithin, they help prevent or combat emotional disorders such as depression, insomnia or hyperactivity.
- They protect our heart and regulate blood cholesterol levels. This is due to monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which reduce the risk of suffering from heart disease, since they reduce LDL cholesterol (known as bad cholesterol), while increasing HDL cholesterol, i.e., good cholesterol.
Did you know that just 25 grams of walnuts (approximately 5 pieces) cover 95% of our daily Omega 3 needs? Another of the great benefits of walnuts for our health.
- They are a great natural antioxidant, thanks to their high Vitamin E content, which prevents premature aging of our cells and organism. But they also prevent skin aging. This means that a regular consumption of walnuts can help us to maintain a healthier skin.
Zinc and Omega 3 in walnuts also promote hair growth.
On the other hand, walnuts have a natural anti-inflammatory effect, which makes them a great food to alleviate the discomfort of these diseases in people suffering from asthma or arthritis.
- They are a satiating food, thanks to their serotonin content, which makes them an essential food in slimming diets as they favor appetite control. In addition, they reduce stress and anxiety states, which will prevent food cravings, and they are a very healthy snack (as long as they are consumed in moderation, like any other food).
Therefore, we can affirm that they help us to lose weight, since they are also rich in fiber, proteins and healthy fats.
Walnuts can be a great ally if we follow a slimming diet, as they are satiating.
- They control blood sugar: due to their low glycemic index and their fiber and protein content, another benefit of walnuts is that they help us maintain stable blood sugar levels. Therefore, this food is important to prevent diabetes.
- They help us to maintain strong muscles and bones. Due to its high content of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus… Nutrients essential to maintain good bone health, while helping us to avoid bone-related diseases such as osteoporosis.
- They help you sleep better. A regular consumption of walnuts will improve our quality of sleep and rest. Thanks to its contribution of Vitamin B6 and tryptophan, two components that promote muscle relaxation and help relieve stress in the body, which translates into a quality and more restful sleep.
But, do they have contraindications?
Like any food we can imagine, nuts, although they are very beneficial for health, also have possible contraindications. Above all, it will depend on the person.
- Possible intolerances and allergies. This is the first thing to consider if we want to include this food in our diet on a regular basis. In fact, nuts in particular, and nuts in general, are among the most common foods that can cause allergic reactions. Moreover, these types of allergies can be among the most serious, and even become life-threatening.
- Digestive problems. Due to their fiber content, some people may experience digestive problems such as bloating, diarrhea, gas… after consuming nuts. If this happens to you, reduce their consumption or, if you can’t avoid them either, cut them out of your diet.
- Walnuts are contraindicated for all those taking anticoagulant drugs, as their vitamin K and Omega 3 fatty acid content can interfere negatively with these drugs. If this is your case, it is best to consult your doctor before including walnuts in your diet on a regular basis.
How many walnuts can be eaten per day to take advantage of their benefits?
Like everything else, nuts are a very healthy food, but as long as they are consumed in moderation. And the exact recommended amount of nuts that can be consumed per day depends on many factors: age, fitness, weight ….
But, as a reference, we could say that the maximum recommended amount of nuts per day is around 28 – 30 grams for an adult.
How long they last in good condition
Being a nut, walnuts can keep in perfect condition for several months without losing their properties, flavor or texture as long as they are stored correctly.
Raw walnuts, whole, unpeeled and unground, can last up to 6 months. As long as they are stored in an airtight container (preferably glass) and away from sunlight.
How to store walnuts correctly?
As mentioned above, to keep nuts in perfect condition for up to 6 months in our kitchen, store them in an airtight container, preferably glass. Look for a cool and dry place, and always away from sunlight.
Some curiosities about this food
- In the past, it was believed that nuts promoted intelligence, due to their similarity to the shape of the brain. Surely you have heard it on more than one occasion from your grandmother: “Eat nuts and you will be smarter”. And in reality, they were not very wrong because thanks to their contribution of vitamins B and C they help you maintain a good memory. Walnuts do not make anyone smarter but they do take care of our brain.
- The uses of this food are innumerable. They are not only used in cooking, they are also used to make toothpaste, in enamels, cosmetics or dyes.
- The walnut, the tree that bears this fruit, is a leafy, robust and elegant tree, but never take a nap under this tree. Although at first glance it may seem tempting to protect yourself from the sun under this tree on a summer afternoon, if you do, you will wake up with a headache. During the ripening process of the nuts, they emanate a slight amount of cyanide, but enough to make you feel sick if you stay a few hours under this tree.
Walnuts in the Kitchen
As we said, walnuts are very versatile and we can use them in a multitude of recipes of all kinds. So, if after knowing all the benefits and properties of walnuts you have been wanting to use them in any recipe here we leave you a recipe of the sweetest, the brownie, which can not miss the walnuts.
And with this we finish knowing the benefits and properties of walnuts. If you liked it, and you found it useful, do not forget to leave us your comments, ideas, tips … We love to read you! And of course, share it with everyone!