Walnuts are the large, single-seeded fruits of the walnut tree, with the English walnut being the one most highly consumed today, even though there are a number of different other types of the nut itself.
Many other species of walnut, such as the black walnut, are far less cultivated due to their tough shells and poor hulling qualities which make them much more difficult to eat, and so they are not as widely eaten.
Walnuts are highly nutritious, in fact their health benefits have been well-known the world over for centuries. The walnut is a great source of “good fat” just as most unsalted and natural nuts are. This is because the walnut is extremely rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, particularly the plant-based omega-3 fat, alpha-linolenic acid.
When it comes to our bodies these fats are beneficial to growth in all facets of the word. The fats that reside in the walnut are essential for brain growth and development, as they are the same fats that comprise our brains and nervous systems. The walnut’s considerable brain-boosting properties contribute to significant improvement in learning and memory, and the fatty acids in walnut extracts prevent age-related inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain’s hippocampal cells.
Studies have also linked the regular consumption of walnuts to numerous other brain-related benefits, including the prevention of degenerative diseases that affect the brain such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Once again, the fats that make up the walnut are responsible for the boost in brain power, cognitive function and efficiency.
Foods like that walnut that are rich in beneficial fats, are known to improve our cardiovascular systems and have also been shown to decrease “bad” LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.
Now, as well as having a wealth of good fats that help the brain and the body, walnuts also have a high concentration of nutrients, which include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and most B vitamins. The nuts are high in traces of magnesium, which is an essential macromineral. This is especially important in overall health because studies show that an estimated 50 to 80 percent of the United States population are deficient in magnesium.
Walnuts are best eaten raw and whole. While a lot of people dislike their bitter skins, these skins contain up to 90 percent of the fruit’s main cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Consult your primary care physician or chiropractor for any medical related advice.
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