Walnuts, the crunchy and delicious tree-based nuts, somewhat resembling the shape of a human brain from inside, are loaded with tremendous benefits. Apart from boosting brain health, several scientific studies have proved that they are excellent for cardiac health, weight loss, promote a healthy gut, and are a good snacking option for diabetes patients.
One ounce of walnuts provides 4 gm protein, 2 gm fibre, lots of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, selenium, some vitamin B, loads of E and good fat, according to experts.
Walnuts are an excellent source of plant-based omega-3 ALA (alpha lipoic acid) which helps protect against many diseases. “ALA has many medicinal benefits, they are high on antioxidants and help prevent against liver degeneration, inflammation and aid in improving memory function,” Shruti Bharadwaj, Senior Clinical Dietician, Narayana Hrudalayala Multi Speciality Hospital Ahmedabad, told HT Digital.
Walnuts are a must-have for people aiming to lose weight, with diabetes, heart diseases and pregnant women for their wonderful benefits.
Here are some of the benefits of walnut as per Bharadwaj:
The first amazing benefit of walnuts is their contribution in cardiac health. A good source of Omega 3, walnuts help to decrease the LDL cholesterol in our body.
Nuts like walnuts and almonds are excellent in weight loss because apart from their protein and fibre content, they also provide satiety which is important for weight loss.
“It’s a myth that walnuts are high on calories and fat. Consuming 4-5 walnuts halves or 13 gm each day is ideal and has 87 kilo calories,” says Bharadwaj.
13 gm walnut (5 no.)
Protein: 2 gm
Fat: 8 gm
Fiber: 1 gm
Carbs: 1 gm
Walnuts are good for your memory and protect against several mental health issue. According to studies, long-term supplementation with walnuts in the diet can significantly improve memory, learning skills, motor coordination, and anxiety-related behavior.
Consuming walnuts has many anti-ageing benefits too. Oxidative stress and inflammation play important roles in the aging process, dementia, and many age-related diseases. Walnuts have multiple components with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which may have additive or synergistic effects in suppressing inflammation and oxidative damage, according to a study.
A good snacking option for people with diabetes
People with high diabetes, who also have high cholesterol levels or high triglycerides levels can consume walnuts on a daily basis. It has healthy fats and being plant-based source, a good source of omega 3 ALA. There are three main types of omega 3- alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). While walnuts have ALA, flaxseeds have the other two kinds of omega 3 i.e. EPA and DHA. ALA is generally present in all plant-based nuts. Every 100 gm of walnuts has 9 gm of ALA which is considered healthy, according to Bharadwaj.
Walnuts being low GI (Glycemic Index) food are recommended for diabetes patients as a good snacking option. 2-3 walnuts or 13 gm of walnuts are ideal. The glycemic load of walnuts per 100 gm is 2 which is considered good.
Beneficial in pregnancy
In pregnancy, walnuts are recommended because omega 3 in them plays an important role in infant’s brain development. The fibre and protein content of walnuts too are important when you are expecting a child.
How many walnuts one should have in a day
“I usually recommend 2-3 whole walnuts to my patients which means 4-6 halves of them. The best time to have them is in evening time between 6 pm to 6:30 pm when people experience hunger pangs or may feel like munching. You can also include walnuts in your breakfast. For people with poor digestion or gastric trouble, the walnuts can be soaked before consumption,” Bharadwaj elaborates on the ideal quantity and the best time to have walnuts.
Who shouldn’t have walnuts
People who have chronic kidney disease (CKD) must take walnuts on the basis of their levels of phosphorous and potassium and must consult a doctor on whether they can have them at all or not.