Walnuts Superfood Nutritional Information & Benefits
Walnuts, which are also referred to as ‘Juglans regia’, are considered a tree nut that belongs to the walnut family. Originally coming from Central Asia and the Mediterranean region, walnuts have been known to be a part of the human diet for the past few thousand years. This is going to be because walnuts are very high in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as contain a higher number of antioxidants when they are compared to many other foods available to you. As if that weren’t enough to start making walnuts a regular part of your daily diet, they are also going to help you boost your brain health, as well as prevent cancer and even heart disease from occurring.
More often than not you will find that most people prefer to eat their walnuts on their own, normally coming in the way of a snack. However, they are also a great addition to just about any type of salad, breakfast cereal, pasta, baked good, and even a wide variety of different soups. Walnuts are also going to be used to make walnut oil, which is considered a very expensive culinary oil that is mainly going to be used in adding flavor to different types of salads.
While nobody can argue how versatile and healthy walnuts are going to be for you, you do need to know that there are only a few different types of edible walnut species. With that being said, here is everything that you need to know about the common walnut, which is often times called a Persian or English walnut. This is going to be the walnut that you will find in just about every grocery store all over the world, and the one that you have eaten many times in the past. While the common walnut is going to be the most popular, there is another species of walnuts that is known as the eastern black walnut, or Juglans nigra. It is normally going to be of only commercial interest and is native to only North America.
Here is what you need to know about the common walnut and its nutritional value.
Walnut Nutrition Facts
When it comes to walnuts, they are going to actually be made up of roughly 65% fats and 15% protein. They are going to be very low in carbs, most of those carbs coming in the form of fiber. A single 1-ounce (which is going to be 30 grams) serving of walnuts, which is roughly going to be about 14 halves, will provide you with the following amount of nutrients:
- 185 calories
- 4% water
- 4.3 grams of proteins
- 3.9 grams of carbs
- .7 grams of sugars
- 1.9 grams of fiber
- 18.5 grams of fats
Fats from Walnuts
As mentioned above, walnuts are going to contain around 65% of fat by weight. As is very similar to just about every other type of nut, walnuts are going to give you most of the calories that they have from their fat content. What this means, is that walnuts are going to be a great source of energy, making them essentially one of the best energy-dense and high-calorie foods that you can eat. With that being said, studies have actually indicated that walnuts are not going to contribute to your risk of obesity when you use them to replace some of the other foods in your diet. Essentially, even though walnuts are going to be high in fats, it is the good type of fat and you are not going to be at risk in any way of becoming obese from eating too many of them.
Walnuts are also going to be much richer in polyunsaturated fats than just about any other type of nut out there. The most abundant polyunsaturated fat being that of omega-6 fatty acid, which s also referred to as linoleic acid. As if that weren’t enough, walnuts are also going to contain a high amount of other healthy omega fats, the main one being omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid, which is also referred to as ALA. This is actually going to account for about 8-14% of a walnut’s total fat content.
When it does come to ALA, walnuts are essentially going to be the only nut that is available to you that contains a significant amount of ALA. ALA is going to be important to you, as it is considered to be extra beneficial for the health of your heart. I tis also going to help you to reduce any inflammation and even improve the composition of the fats that are in your blood. On top of that, ALA is also going to be a precursor to long chain omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. This is good as both of them are going to be linked to a number of different health benefits that you are going to want to be on the receiving side of.
To sum up the walnut, they are basically going to be made of mostly protein and polyunsaturated fats. They are going to contain a high percentage of moega-3 fatty acids, essentially boosting the health benefits that you want to have.
The Walnut’s Vitamins and Minerals
When it comes to walnuts, they are not only going to be a great source of healthy fats and protein, but will also provide you with many different minerals and vitamins as well. Some of the main ones are going to include:
- Folic Acid: Folic acid is also going to be more commonly referred to as folate or vitamin B9 and has some very important biological functions when it comes to your body. If you have a deficiency of folic acid while you are pregnant, you will be putting your baby at risk for many different birth defects.
- Copper: This is going to be a mineral that essentially promotes the health of your heart. On top of that, it is also going to help you maintain your nerve, bone and even your immune system function.
- Phosphorus: Consisting of roughly 1% of your entire body, phosphorus is going to be a mineral that is mainly seen in your bones and has many functions. What this means, is that you are going to want to make sure that you always have enough phosphorus in your body at any given time.
- Manganese: This is going to be a trace mineral that can be found in its highest amounts in most types of nuts, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Vitamin B6: This vitamin is special in the sense that it is going to help you strengthen your immune system, while supporting your nerve system and health at the very same time. If you become deficient in vitamin B6, there is a good chance that you are going to become anemic.
- Vitamin E: When compared to some of the other nuts that are available to you, walnuts are actually going to contain much higher levels of a very special form of vitamin E that is known as gamma-tocopherol.
At the end of the day, walnuts are going to be the nuts that will provide you with a perfect source of several different minerals and vitamins. These include folic acid, copper, vitamin B6, phosphorus, vitamin E, and manganese.
Walnuts for Heart Health
When it comes to one of the many benefits of eating walnuts on a regular daily basis, the main benefit is going to be that they are going to help make your heart as healthy as it can be. This means that you will not have to worry about any type of heart disease (also more commonly referred to as cardiovascular disease), which is actually going to be a very broad term that is used to describe many different chronic conditions that are related to anything in the heart or blood vessels. In most cases, any risk that you have of contracting heart disease is able to be reduced when you have healthy lifestyle habits, one of those habits including to eat walnuts on a regular basis.
In fact, when you eat walnuts, you are actually going to be fighting the risk factors of heart disease in the following ways:
- They lower your LDL cholesterol (this is going to be the bad cholesterol)
- They reduce the amount of inflammation that you have in your body
- They help to improve your blood vessel function, meaning that you can expect a much lower rate of plaque buildup within your arteries
When you decide to make walnuts a regular part of your daily nutritional regimen, you are going to be doing yourself a very big favor. Not only are you going to have more energy and feel better about yourself, but you are also going to be boosting your health at the very same time. When it comes to walnuts, the benefits are going to outweigh any potential negatives at all. With a that being said, do yourself a favor and start making walnuts a regular part of your diet as soon as possible.