Thanks to their fibers, they offer a satisfying sense of satiety that can help you lose weight. But pay attention to the calories, better not to overdo the consumption
Walnuts are typically autumn-winter nuts and represent a vital food for our health. Thanks to their omega-three fatty acids, essential for the human body, the high quantity of dietary fibre and the presence of proteins, carbohydrates and mineral salts such as calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium. The most important vitamin is undoubtedly thiamine (or vitamin B1), valid for beneficial actions in the intestine and the nervous system. It helps digestion and is essential for brain health, and vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.
Used in the kitchen for an energizing snack or as an ingredient for cakes, pesto, and salads, their leaves are also considered a crucial aromatic ingredient, especially for ageing some cheeses.
Walnut benefits – Walnuts
Properties and benefits
- They improve metabolism. This is demonstrated by a study in the Journal of Nutrition conducted at Oregon State University in the United States. The researchers fed a group of mice the equivalent of the cheeseburger-fries-sugary soda diet, which is consumed by millions of people around the world and is contributing to the growing obesity epidemic. Some of these mice were also given one and a half servings of nuts a day. By the end of the study, those who also ate walnuts had not lost weight but showed much less liver fat than those fed only a high-fat diet. In addition, they had better scores on critical indicators of metabolic health, including better glucose tolerance (which measures how efficiently the body uses sugar), much higher levels of good fats (HDL) in the blood, and generally lower levels of ‘bad’ lipoproteins. (LDL). This is because walnuts – the experts explain – and being rich in fibre, protein and potassium, are a good source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-three fatty acid necessary for normal development.
- They are suitable for the heart. Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine and conducted on over 200,000 men and women in the southern United States and Shanghai found that the more nuts people consume, the lower their death rates, especially heart disease and stroke. In particular, thanks to their polyunsaturated fatty acids, they could then help reduce harmful cholesterol levels. The omega three and omega 6, in substitution of other (saturated) fats, can favour the maintenance of the correct cholesterol values and improve some cardiovascular health parameters.
- They are allies against diabetes. Three tablespoons of walnuts a day halve the risk of diabetes. Supporting this hypothesis is an extensive study of 34,000 American adults published in Diabetes / Metabolism Research and Reviews. The average intake among nut consumers was about 1.5 tablespoons per day. In those who reported a doubled consumption of walnuts (3 tablespoons), there was a 47% lower prevalence of type 2 diabetes, regardless of age, gender, race, education, body fat, and physical activity.
- They improve mood and relieve stress. According to scholars, several nutrients in walnuts could be responsible for improving attitudes, such as alpha-linolenic acid, vitamin E, folic acid, polyphenols, and melatonin. As seen in research by the University of New Mexico, a mix of substances published in the journal Nutrients could be of particular benefit to young males.
- They are suitable for skin and hair. An oil with moisturizing and nourishing properties rich in vitamin E is extracted from the walnuts, which, if applied as a pack before washing, can help fight dermatitis and dandruff. In addition, it can be used on the skin of the face and body, especially if the skin is oily and does not tolerate other types of oils. Finally, there are high quantities of copper and selenium in walnuts and all nuts, which favour the production of collagen and unsaturated fatty acids.
How many nuts can you eat a day?
Walnut induces a sense of satiety because it is rich in fibre and therefore can be a panacea for those who need to lose weight or those who are already on a healthy and balanced diet. However, it is good not to overdo the quantities: a reasonably caloric food counts 600 in 100 grams. It takes three nuts per day, which can be enjoyed with salads or breakfast with yoghurt, to cover our daily essential nutrients for health.
Contraindications and allergies
If consumed in small quantities, Walnuts have no particular contraindications, but allergy to these foods is not uncommon. A study published in JAMA Pediatrics, however, shows a method to prevent children from developing an intolerance: the authors say that women can decrease the risk of having a child with allergies by eating peanuts during pregnancy, and the reduction is more significant among children whose mothers ate nuts five or more times a month.