Walnuts are perhaps the most famous tree nut of all and have been named the “Healthiest of all Nuts”. They are rich in plant-based fats and are a good source of the B-vitamins and many minerals. Even though walnuts are one of the easiest foods to eat, they are also a powerful weapon against chronic diseases. Walnuts can be eaten by the handful as a snack, or in salads, soups, vegetable dishes, baked goods or smoothies.
Due to their uniquely high amounts of healthy fats and potent plant chemicals, recent studies are publishing evidence that walnuts can reduce brain stress, lower cholesterol, increase fertility in men, reduce inflammation, lower the risk of diabetes, strengthen the immune system, and help with insomnia because of the natural melatonin they contain.
Supporting the claim that walnuts are the healthiest nut is a recent study from the journal “Food and Function”. The researchers evaluated nine types of raw and roasted nuts and they found walnuts to contain the highest levels and quality of antioxidants. An “antioxidant” is a substance in food or vitamins that neutralizes the harmful effects of oxygen in the body. These “oxidative” effects contribute to aging and disease.
English walnuts offer powerful benefits to brain health. A study called “Role of Walnuts in Maintaining Brain Health with Age” was published in the Journal of Nutrition. The researchers wrote that walnuts not only reduce the inflammatory load on brain cells, but they also improve communication and connection between the brain cells themselves – helping to maintain good brain health with increasing age.
For a healthy heart and long life, walnuts have been shown to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and also extend life spans in general. Walnuts contain the amino acid l-arginine, which offers protective benefits for the heart. A quarter cup of walnuts contains about 1,130 milligrams of l-arginine. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reviewed 13 heart studies and found that the people eating walnuts benefited from a significant decrease in overall cholesterol and had major benefits in the quantity of antioxidants available to them.
Walnuts have been proven to improve fertility and reproductive health. The medical journal “Biology of Reproduction” conducted a study of 117 healthy men and found that eating around a half-cup of walnuts each day produced an increase in healthy fats in the bloodstream and greatly improved the health and vitality of sperm.
Walnuts can be a good sleep inducing food. Russel Reiter, Ph.D., a professor of cellular biology at the University of Texas says, “Relatively few foods have been examined for their melatonin content. Our studies demonstrate that walnuts contain melatonin, that it is absorbed when it is eaten, and that it improves our ability to resist oxidative stress caused by toxic molecules.”
Eating walnuts regularly can be a delicious and simple way to prevent disease and take advantage of their many health benefits.