Monday, April 20, 2009

Health Benefits of Walnuts

Walnuts

 Walnuts are a delicious way to add extra nutrition, flavor and crunch to a meal. While walnuts are harvested in December, they are available year round a great source of those all-important omega-3 fatty acids.

 Health Benefits

Walnuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, andantioxidants such as Vitamin E.  Nuts in general are also high in plant sterols and fat - but mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 fatty acids- the good fats) that have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. Walnuts, in particular, have significantly higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids as compared to other nuts.

More than a decade of scientific evidence shows that incorporating walnuts in a healthy diet reduces the risk of heart disease by improving blood vessel elasticity and plaque accumulation. Walnuts have also been shown to aid in the lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and the C-Reactive Protein (CRP). CRP was recently recognized as an independent marker and predictor of heart disease.

Health benefits ranging from cardiovascular protection, to the promotion of better cognitive function, to anti-inflammatory benefits helpful in asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. In addition, walnuts contain an antioxidant compound called ellagic acidthat supports the immune system and appears to have several anticancer 

"Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 oz of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease."

 Ø       Take Walnuts to Heart

Ø       Walnuts' Antioxidants Play Key Role in their Heart-Healthy Benefits

Ø       Walnuts Improve Cardiovascular Function by a Variety of Mechanisms

Ø       Walnuts Help Prevent and Control High Blood Pressure

Ø       Walnuts Improve Cholesterol Profile in Persons with Type 2 Diabetes

Ø       Walnuts Found to Reduce Levels of Several Molecules that Promote Atherosclerosis

Ø       Walnuts Protect Arteries after High-Fat Meal

Ø       Help Prevent Gallstones

Ø       A Source of Bio-Available Melatonin

Ø       Omega-3-rich Walnuts Protect Bone Health

Ø       Protective Omega-3 Levels Greatly Improved by Eating Just 4 Walnuts a Day

Ø       Eating WalNuts Lowers Risk of Weight Gain

 

Walnuts in a Healthy Diet

Nuts in general are high in calories, so moderation is the key. The best approach is to reap the health benefits of eating walnuts but not add excessive calories to your daily intake. Therefore, instead of just adding walnuts to your current diet, eat them in replacement of foods that are high in saturated fats (such as cheese and meat) and limit your intake of these tasty treats to the recommended 1.5 oz per day. That is about 20 walnut halves.

Walnuts add a flavorful crunch to dishes. Here are some simple ideas to incorporate walnuts in your diet:

  • instead of snacking on cookies, crack some walnuts open and eat them as snacks
  • instead of using meat, toss toasted walnuts in your salad or pasta to add some crunch
  • instead of layering pepperoni, use chopped walnuts in your pizza
  • instead of eating bacons or eggs, use walnuts as a protein choice by sprinkling chopped walnuts in your oatmeal or breakfast cereal

Source  : http://www.healthcastle.com/walnuts-benefits-heart.shtml
Source : http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=99

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