Produce of walnut tree, walnut ‘akhrot’ is a round, globe-like nut around the size of a golf ball. Besides being an integral part of Indian cuisine, walnuts is known to offer health benefits for the heart, brain and gut health, amongst other benefits.
Walnuts are enclosed in a hard shell with a seam around the center. On splitting the shell, a bumpy, golden brown nut, resembling the human brain is found. The skin of walnut is slightly bitter while the nut is earthy and slightly tangy.
Walnuts are consumed either raw or roasted, salted or unsalted. Walnuts are considered a superfood as they are loaded with essential fats, fiber, protein, antioxidants, and vitamins.
Nutritional Facts of Walnut
Compared to other foods, walnuts contain a higher amount of antioxidants and are rich in omega-3 fats or polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are composed of 65% fat and approximately 15% of proteins. They are full of folate, thiamine, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin E. It is a high source of minerals such as phosphorus, copper, iron, magnesium, and manganese. They are low in carbohydrates. Walnuts also contain a mixture of bioactive plant compounds such as catechin, ellagic acid, phytic acid, and melatonin.
As per the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, 1 cup of walnuts, weighing 30 grams, contains 185 calories, 4.3 gm proteins, 1.9 gm fiber, 3.9 gm carbs, 18.5 gm fat, 0.7 gm sugar, 0.72 mg iron, 20 mg calcium, 44 mg of magnesium, 125 mg of potassium, 98 mg of phosphorus, 0.7 mg of vitamin E, 1.3 µg of selenium, and 28 µg of folate.
Health Benefits of Walnut…
Reduces risk of cancers
The bio-active components present in walnuts such as omega 3-fatty acids, polyphenols, and urolithins possess anticancer properties. They restrict the growth of tumours and also decrease the risk of producing prostate, colon and breast cancer.
Promotes heart health
1. The fat content and high antioxidant content of walnuts helps in decreasing bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lowers inflammation, reduces blood pressure, and enhances the function of blood vessel thus, reducing the risk of plaque formation in the arteries. Thus, it promotes heart health and reduces the risk of several heart conditions.
2. The omega 3 fatty acid and L-arginine content of walnut possesses anti-inflammatory properties and restricts the plaque formation.
Supports brain health
1. The phytochemicals and polyunsaturated fat content of walnuts are beneficial for brain function and brain health.
2. The omega-3 fatty acids present in walnut decreases oxidative stress in the brain and also enhances brain signalling.
3. The linoleic acid, micronutrients, polyphenolics, and phytosterols found in walnut are associated with enhanced cognitive function and memory.
4. The omega-3 fatty acids present in walnuts helps prevent depression and age-related decline in brain function.
Walnuts are considered a superfood as they are loaded with essential fats, fiber, protein, antioxidants, and vitamins.
Other possible benefits…
Walnut produces numerous health benefits, apart from the health benefits mentioned above, it also produces few more such as promotes a healthy gut, supports weight control, reduces the risk of cholecystectomy, prevents osteoporosis, enhances bone formation, benefits people with epilepsy, decreases inflammation, manages type 2 diabetes, lowers the risk of diabetes.
Walnuts also support healthy ageing, support sperm health, during pregnancy helps in reducing the symptoms of nausea and proper brain development in children, prevents hair fall, boosts immunity, offers good sleep, cures fungal infections, improves hair texture, detoxifies the body, helps moisturise the skin, reduces dark circles, makes the skin glow, treats dandruff, promotes scalp health, enhances hair color, and improves motor function.
How to use Walnuts In your Diet?
Walnuts are either consumed raw or cooked. There are several ways in which walnuts are used, some of them are as follow…
- In cookies.
- In smoothie.
- In pesto sauce.
- As salad toppings.
- As Yogurt toppings.
- In homemade granola.
- Snacking them directly.
- Used in whole-grain bread.
- As oil in a vinaigrette dressing.
- As a coating on chicken or fish.
- Finely ground in sauces and dips.
- Added to pita sandwiches or wraps.
- Sprinkled on fruit salads or leafy green.
- Add to cereals such as porridge, oats or muesli
- Add them to brownies, muffins, chocolates, etc.
How to prepare Nut and Seed Bread using Walnuts?
Preheat the oven to 175-degree C.
Take ½ cup walnuts, ½ cup of pecans, 1 cup almonds and 1 cup of sunflower seeds; place them into the food processor and grind them into a fine breadcrumb texture.
Add 1 tsp baking powder and mix.
Take 1 medium avocado and scoop it out of its skin, chop it and add it to the food processor and mix it.
Take 6 eggs and beat it one at a time and add 1 tbsp of lemon juice.
Pour the runny mixture into a greased and lined loaf tin.
Bake it for 40-45 minutes till the skewer inserted in it comes out clean.
Cool it on a wire rack.