Produced primarily in china, the walnut is the ‘drupe’ or stone fruit of the walnut tree. A drupe is identified as a fleshy fruit that surrounds a stone or pit containing a seed, the seeds of the walnut fruit are the shelled walnuts that can be purchased from supermarkets. The most common varieties of this seed are the Black and English walnuts, the English version is also known as the Persian walnut as the species originally came from Persia. The Black walnut however, is derived from the east of North America. Interested to find out how these nuts (which some think resemble a miniature ‘brain’ hmm, is nature trying to tell us something…) can benefit your diet? Read on to discover our Top 5 Health Benefits of Walnuts!
1. Vegan protein
Walnuts are a great source of natural, plant-based protein. All nuts are a dense source of protein so they are essential for those who follow an exclusively plant-based lifestyle such as vegans, or people who follow a meat-free diet such as vegetarians. Walnuts are 15% protein so 100 grams of walnuts provide you with 15 grams of protein, which is equal to 30% of an average person’s daily protein intake.
2. High in essential fatty acids
Essential fatty acids or EFAs, are fatty acids that all animals and humans need to survive. EFAs assist many of the biological processes that occur within your body. These nuts are over 50% linoleic acid which contain the fatty acid omega-6, they also contain alpha-linolenic acid which contains the fatty acid omega-3.
These nuts have a high concentration of important minerals and vitamins, this includes the mineral Manganese. Manganese is crucial to the normal function of the metabolism and antioxidant system. A balanced level of minerals in the body can improve metabolism, which maintains the regulation of normal human growth and development.
4. Strong bones
Although walnuts do not contain high concentrations of calcium, they do help to aid in the absorption of calcium from other food sources into the body. The reduced levels of calcium being excreted from the body, means your body can build stronger and healthier bones.
5. Good mood boost
The omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts can be used to counteract the negative ‘bad mood’ effects, of severely low essential fatty acid levels in the body. This mood boost can help alleviate the effects of depression, stress and anxiety in adults, it can even assist in reducing hyperactivity or mood swings in young children.
Walnuts can be eaten raw as a healthy snack, however they can also be used as an ingredient in a wealth of sweet and savoury recipes! They can be used to supplement a healthy homemade granola, baked into cakes and brownies or even sprinkled on top of yogurt or blended into smoothies. Walnuts are a brilliant addition to a healthy balanced diet, however like all nuts, walnuts should be consumed in moderation as they are high calories and made up of 65% fat. Got something to say about the mighty walnut? Let us know below or @KeepfitKingdom !