Have you ever noticed that a walnut looks like the human brain? According to ancient wisdom, this is more than just a coincidence. Considering that one of the main benefits of nut nutrition is its ability to support your most important organ, the brain, walnuts are scientifically proven to be true “brain food” and one of the healthiest nuts around.
What are the health benefits of nuts?
Nuts might contain a decent amount of calories, but they’re also high in healthy fats, antioxidants, and minerals. According to studies, eating nuts can help boost your mood because they contain one of the highest amounts of omega-3 fats of any nut. Besides the remarkable effects omega-3 foods can have on your mind, they are also known to promote heart health and fight heart disease by lowering triglyceride levels and reducing the build-up of dangerous plaque in the arteries. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating 20g of nuts daily, in addition to a healthy diet, promoted positive changes in gut health and reduced the risk of heart disease in adults. obese adults.
Nuts can also be a great weight management tool. According to some studies, eating a few nuts, or four to six halves, before meals decreases feelings of hunger and may encourage people to eat less later in the day. And believe it or not, that’s not all nut nutrition has to offer.
1. May Help Fight Depression
The omega-3s found in walnuts contribute to optimal brain function on many levels. Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids are biologically proven to contribute to depression as well as a number of other behavioral and cognitive disorders. Why ? It makes perfect sense that nuts could be a natural remedy for depression, since essential fats are directly used to create the outer membranes of cells and help neurotransmitter function. Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to the formation of the flexible and fluid outer membrane of cells, which gives them the ability to communicate with each other. It is a crucial element in allowing “beneficial” neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, to move in and out of cells. If your diet does not contain enough appropriate fats, neurotransmitter function suffers and many people experience the effects in the form of increased anxiety, chronic stress, food cravings, fatigue and mood swings.
Convincing studies link eating high amounts of omega-3 fats, usually in the form of wild fish and some nuts, for example, to lower rates of depression and psychiatric disorders. Controlled clinical trials investigating the effects of omega-3s on depression and heart disease prevention are still underway at a number of major research centers. It seems that the more we learn about how these special fatty acids work, the more we realize that their benefits are impressive, but most people are deficient and cannot afford to be.
2. Helps Improve Brain Health and Preserve Memory
Nuts are considered by many to be a superfood that can help slow aging. Walnut benefits for the brain include memory support and thought processing. Many of the populations that suffer from a higher incidence of depression due to a lack of essential omega-3s are also victims of cognitive decline. These include age-related conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other memory disorders. Recent studies show promising benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in elderly patients at risk of not only cognitive decline, but also depression.
3. Aids in heart health
There is a strong link between higher nut and omega-3 intake and better heart health. According to numerous studies, nut nutrition benefits cardiovascular health by keeping arteries clear, improving circulation, balancing cholesterol levels and reducing disease-causing inflammation.
A recent 2019 study found that replacing saturated fat with nuts improved blood pressure levels in obese adults at cardiovascular risk. Study participants simply added 20g of nuts to their healthy diet and showed a reduced risk of heart disease.
The researchers believe that the fatty acid composition of the nuts, including their content of ALA, fiber and other bioactive compounds, improved participants’ gut health and therefore had a positive impact on their heart health. This study contributes to the understanding that changes in gut bacteria can have a significant impact on the health of other major bodily systems.
4. Supports the Immune System and May Help Prevent Cancer
Thanks to being an excellent anti-inflammatory food that contains antioxidant polyphenols, eating nuts is beneficial for immune function and may even help prevent the formation of cancer. Some research shows that nuts should be part of a diet that helps support cancer treatment.
In 2013, researchers investigated whether a standard mouse diet enriched with walnuts reduced the establishment and growth of human prostate cancer cells. They found that the walnut-enriched diet significantly reduced the number of tumors and their growth, and that the average final tumor size in the animals fed the walnut diet was about a quarter of the average tumor size in the nut diet. prostate in mice given the control diet.
5. A filling snack that promotes weight loss
Are nuts good for weight loss? Yes. Although they are a calorie-dense food (like all nuts), nuts are effective in suppressing hunger. They are nutrient-dense foods, which means you get many essential vitamins, minerals, and fats when you eat them, all for a relatively small percentage of your daily calories. Nuts also have compounds that help burn belly fat because they’re packed with fatty acids and protein. Both of these help you feel full. This is important for reducing cravings, especially for sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Although nuts are calorie dense, dietary clinical studies show that nut consumption does not result in net body weight gain when consumed as a replacement food. When you lack fatty acids, protein, fiber or other essential nutrients found in nuts, it is much more difficult for the body to maintain a stable weight, control blood sugar, regulate insulin and appetite, and balance cholesterol.
While sugary snacks can be considered metabolism-killing foods, a serving of nuts—about a quarter cup—consumed between or with meals can help balance blood sugar levels, improve cognitive function, and help you prevent overeating afterwards. Keep in mind that nuts act as a natural appetite controller, but it might be best to try replacing nuts with other high-fat foods that don’t provide as much benefit.
6. Improving reproductive health and aiding growth and development
Nuts are rich in essential minerals. They contain protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and potassium. So, if you have low potassium, for example, nuts can boost your levels. In fact, all of these are crucial for brain and body development, so pregnant women, new mothers and young children (once they are able to tolerate the nuts safely) are all encouraged to consume nuts regularly. The manganese found in walnuts, in particular, is an essential mineral for growth, reproductive health, the skeletal system, wound healing and brain development. It is also necessary for the maintenance of a healthy metabolism as well as the digestion and utilization of carbohydrates from the diet which promote muscle and tissue growth.
7. A great way to boost kids’ omega-3 intake
Many health experts recommend giving nuts to children as a nutritious and brain-boosting snack. They may also be a natural treatment for ADHD and other developmental issues. Several studies demonstrate greater attentiveness, reduced behavioral problems, and fewer ADHD-related symptoms in school children when they take omega-3 fat supplements or consume plenty of omega-3s from food.
Since it’s hard to get many kids to eat wild fish on a regular basis, finding ways to slip a few nuts into their meals is a great way to naturally give them omega-3s that support their physical and mental health.
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